Friday, 30 April 2010

Valborgsmässoafton (St. Walpurgis eve) and Student Caps

The 30th of April is the feast day of St. Walpurgis, an English princess born in 710 AD. She lived with the nuns in Winborne Abbey, where she was also educated, for 26 years. She was the brought to Germany by Saint Boniface, her mother's brother who was also the Archbishop of Mainz, to help to make Christian the Germans. Once there she became a nun and later abbess of the monastery in Heidenheim where she lived until her death on February 25th, 779 AD. Canonized on May 1st 870 AD, by Pope Adrian II, (or it could also be the day when her body was moved or "translated" to lie next to the body of her brother), in Sweden we celebrate her on the eve of her Feast Day; Valborgsmässoafton - Walpurgis night. Her bones were, after her canonization, moved from Heidenheim to Eichstätt where they were placed in a rocky niche from which a miraculously therapeutic oil started sipping, drawing pilgrims from far and near.



In the Middle Ages a cult was developed in the memory of St. Walpurgis, which had as it's main objective to fight witches and evil forces.

Sir James Frazer wrote in The Golden Bough about St. Walpurgis' eve in Sweden; "The first of May is a great popular festival in the more midland and southern parts of Sweden. On the eve of the festival, huge bonfires, which should be lighted by striking two flints together, blaze on all the hills and knolls"

Valborgsmässoafton
in Sweden is an evening when witches (or the good fight against them anyway) are central to the celebrations. We light fires to protect against them and some people dress up as witches. It's an eve where dark forces run wild, only to be warded off at the dawn of St. Walpurgis Day - May 1st.

April 30th is also celbrated by students "singing to the spring". There are student concerts in most cities, often outdoors, and people wear their student hats.



The Swedish student cap (studentmössa), used since the mid-19th century, normally has a white crown, a black or dark blue band and a black peak. At the front of the band is a cockade of blue and yellow, the colours of the Swedish flag. Walpurgis eve is the first day when new students are allowed to wear their caps.

Monday, 26 April 2010

New Diocesan Administrator


It is announced that Msgr. Brendan Byrne, P.P., has been elected Diocesan Administrator of the Diocese of Kildare and Leighlin until the appointment of a successor to Bishop Moriarty.

Canon 421 §1 of the present Code of Canon Law states: "Within eight days of receiving notification of the vacancy of an episcopal see, a diocesan Administrator is to be elected by the college of consultors, to govern the diocese for the time being, without prejudice to the provisions of canon 502 §3."

Sunday, 25 April 2010

New Appointment to Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei


It is reported that Msgr. Patrick Descourtieux has been appointed to the staff of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei.

Msgr. Descourtieux is a Priest of the Archdiocese of Paris who, after his ordination in St. Suplice on 28th June, 1986, served for three years as Parish Priest of St. Severin in Paris, then, for ten years, as an official of the French Section of the Papal Secretariate of State, and during his time in Rome, as organist of one of the 'French' Churches there (San Luigi dei Francesi) for five years, and then for seven years as Rector of another 'French' Church (Santissima Trinità dei Monti), during which time he permitted the celebration of the Holy Week Ceremonies in the Gregorian Rite. While at Trinità dei Monti, he taught at the Pontifical Institute for Patristic Studies, where his special subjects were St. Hilary of Poitiers and St. Clement of Alexandria.

Returning to Paris, in 2008, he became resident Priest of St. Clotilde (the Church where César Franck was titulaire), teacher at the Cathedral school and Chaplain at Notre Dame and was on the Archbishop's staff of celebrants for the Gregorian Rite.

Saturday, 24 April 2010

Making the News (Part 7)

Another highlight of the year, to judge by the frequency with which it appears in the Pathé archive, is the annual meeting of the Catholic Truth Society.



Dante and the Church. The Most Reverend Dr. Codd, Reverend R. Fleming, Count Plunkett and other distinguished Clergy who read papers at the Catholic Truth Society Conference in 1921.



Catholic Truth Conference 1923. Mr Kevin O'Higgins delivers address at the Mansion House, Dublin. Ireland.



His Grace the Archbishop of Dublin, and other members of Irish Hierarchy, who are taking part in the Catholic Truth Conference in Dublin, 1926.



Catholic Truth Week 1928. Members meet at Mansion House Dublin for their annual conference.

Friday, 23 April 2010

The Standing Stone: Roscomroe, Church, Holy Well and Rag Tree, Co. Offaly.

I've finally got maps sorted so you can see the exact location of the places. The satellite images over certain places in Ireland is not great but you should get an idea at least. This week we are turning to Offaly.

Location – West of Hardyman mountain in the Slieve Bloom Mountains.
OS: S 166 976 (map 54)
Longitude: 7° 45' 9.2" W
Latitude: 53° 1' 43.91" N
See map at the bottom of the page.

Description and History – This site is somewhat frustrating in that I couldn’t really find anything out about its history. The present remains of the church are medieval but it is believed that this was built on a much earlier Christian foundation which is attributed to St Molua and to whom the nearby holy well is attributed. St Molua is also associated with and allegedly buried at Kyle in Co. Laois. The remains of the medieval church consist of the West gable end and portions of the N and S wall. The surviving gable stands to full height with portions of the bellcote remaining. It really is a very attractive ruin within a nicely kept graveyard.

The holy well sits in the field to the rear of the graveyard. It can be accessed via a gate next to the entrance to the graveyard. The field can be a little boggy but it’s well worth making your way there because it is a nice little well. The enclosure is modern but very nicely done with the face of the saint represented on the face of the well which is very similar to Cumber Upper which is also in Offaly. The rag tree sits next to the well and only has a few rags attached to it. I get the impression that this well is not widely used but somebody is going to the effort of keeping it well maintained which is really great to see. When you see holy wells like Anatrim in Laois, which is barely identifiable, this is a nice sight.

Difficulty – The church is right on the side of the road with plenty of space for parking. The well is a little harder to get to depending on the weather as it can get boggy.

This post originally appeared on 'The Standing Stone' and can be accessed by clicking here.



I love the shape of this Church. The ruined bellcote gives it an unusual shape I think.


Looking at the ruin from the other side.


The holy well in the adjacent field. I think this has been tastefully done.

The face of the saint.

You can see some of the rags tied to the branches of the tree here.


View The Standing Stone in a larger map
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Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Latin Mass in Carlow Cathedral


As already announced, Mass in the Gregorian Rite (Missal of Blessed John XXIII) will take place on Saturday, 1st May, 2010, the feast of Saint Joseph the Worker, at 11.30 a.m.

For those travelling from Kildare, public transport details are available from Irish Rail, Bus Éireann, and J.J. Kavanagh & Sons. For example, Irish Rail has scheduled a train leaving Dublin Heuston at 9:10 a.m., Newbridge at 9:37 a.m., Kildare at 9:45 a.m., Athy at 10:02 a.m. and arriving at Carlow at 10:15 a.m. Another is scheduled to leave Carlow at 2:10 p.m. stopping at all of those stations on the way back.

We hope that this Mass will satisfy five debts of gratitude, the first to the Ever Virgin Mother of God, whose Month is traditionally held in special honour by the Irish people, the second to St. Joseph, patron of the Universal Church, the third to St. Conleth, our own special patron, whose feastday in the traditional calendar of the Diocese of Kildare and Leighlin is on 3rd May, the fourth is to Our Most Holy Father the Pope, since we have been unable to obtain a Church in the Diocese of Kildare and Leighlin in which to organise Mass for the Anniversary of his election, and the fifth is to Priests during the Holy Year for Priests.

The Mass will be followed immediately by Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament, during which the Pope's Prayer for the Church in Ireland, contained in his letter to the Catholics of Ireland, will be recited.


Gregorian Chant Hymn to Saint Joseph

Our Lady, Saints Joseph and Conleth pray for us!

Monday, 19 April 2010

Fifth Anniversary of the Election of Pope Benedict XVI

Today is the fifth anniversary of the election of Our Most Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI.

"Most Holy Father, humbly prostrate at your feet, the members of Saint Conleth's Catholic Heritage Association, having laid their foundation upon the spirit of our holy patron, particularly that of unbounded devotion to the Apostolic See and to your sacred person, send up to Heaven our thanks upon this fifth anniversary of your election to the Apostolic See and implore of God the blessing of the long continuance of your reign."



TE DEUM LAUDAMUS!

Sunday, 18 April 2010

St. Laserian of Leighlin

About a century after Ss. Brigid and Conleth Patrons of Kildare lived St. Laserian or Molaise Patron of Leighlin. Today is the 1,371st (or 1,372nd) anniversary of his birth to heaven.

Revd. Fr. Lanigan, D.D., in his An Ecclesiastical History of Ireland, Vol. II, p. 402 ff., 1829 Ed., states:

St. Laserian, the other great supporter of the new Paschal computation, was, it is said, (57) son of Cairel a nobleman of Ulster and of Gemma daughter of Aiden king of the British Scots. (58) The year of his birth is not known (59); and the early part of his life is involved in obscurity. According to one account he was a disciple of Fintau Munnu, while another places him under an abbot Murin. (60) When arrived at a mature age, he is said to have proceeded to Rome, and to have remained there for 14 years. (6l) Then we are told that he was ordained priest by Pope Gregory the great, and soon after returned to Ireland. Coming to Leighlin (Old Leighlin) he was most kindly received by St. Gobban, who there governed a monastery. This saint conceived such a high opinion of Laserian that he gave up to him his establishment, and went to erect a monastery elsewhere. (62) Laserian is said to have had 150O monks under him at Leighlin. (63) About the year 63O he went again to Rome, probably as chief of the deputation sent by the heads of the Southern clergy after the synod of Maghlene, (64) and was there consecrated bishop by the then Pope, Honorius I. (65) After his return to Ireland, in or about 633, he greatly contributed towards the final settlement of the Paschal question in the South, (66) which he survived only a few years, having died in 639 (67) on the 18th of April. This saint was buried in his own church at Leighlin, and his memory has been greatly revered in the province of Leinster. (68)

(57) The Bollandists have (at 18 April) a Life of Laserian or Lasrean, which, they say, was written after the year 1100. They jiv.tly observe, that it is a confused tract and often not worthy of credit. He is sometimes called Molossius or Molaissus, latinized from Mo and Laisre his real name, in the same manner as his nanlesake of Devcnish was so called, with whom he must not (as has been done by Hanmer, p. 123, new ed.) be confounded. (See Not. 124 to Chap, xn.)
(58) Ware (Antiq. cap. 29. and Bishops at Leighlin) says, that Laserian was son of Cairel de Blitha. Harris (Bishops) translates by Blitha; and perhaps this was Ware's meaning; for his account of this saint differs in many respects from that of the Life published by the Bollandists. For instance, according to Ware, his mother was daughter of a king of the Picts.
(59) The Bollandists supposed, (Comment. praev.) but without any authority, that he was born about 566. This conjecture is connected with a huge mistake of theirs, of which lower down, in stating that Fintan Munnu was then a monk in Hy.
(60) The Bollandist Life makes Fintan his master. But it is probable that Laserian was nearly as old as Fintan, who was young at the time of Columbkill's death in 597. In the account of the contest between them at Whitefield there is no allusion to this discipleship. According to Ware, Laserian studied under Murin, until he set out for Rome. Who this Murin was Ware does not tell us. He could not have been St. Murus of Fahen, (in Donegal!) who flourished about the middle of the seventh century. Perhaps the person meant by the name of Murin was Murgenius abbot of Glean-Ussen ; (see Chap. xiv. §. 11.) and there is reason to think, that Laserian studied rather in the South, where the clergy were inclined to receive the Roman cycle, than in the North where it was violently opposed.
(61) Ware agrees with the Life as to these 14 years spent at Rome. The Bollandists think that, instead of fourteen, we ought to read four.
(62) Colgan was of opinion (AA. SS. p. 750) that this was the Gobban who governed a church at [Kill-Lamhraighea, a place in the West of Ossory, viz. after having left Leighlin, and who was buried at Clonenagh. Archdall (at Leighlin) refers to Colgan and Usher as if placing the death of Gobban in 639, although Usher says nothing about him, nor does Colgan even mention his name in the page referred to.
(63) See Not. 36.
(64) Ib. I wish the account of Laserian's having been at Rome in the time of Gregory the Great were as well founded as that of his mission thither after the synod of Magh-lene.
(65) Usher, p. 938. Ware, Antiq. cap. 29.
(66) See Not. 36.
(67) Annals of Innisfallen. (68) Ware, loc. cit.

Revd. Fr. Walsh, in his History of the Irish Hierarchy, p. 149 ff., 1854 Ed., writes:

"In the year 616, St. Gobhan founded a celebrated abbey at old Leighlin. About the year 630, a synod of the clergy was held in St. Gobhan's abbey, to debate on the proper time for the celebration of Easter, which was attended by most of the superiors of all the religious houses in Ireland. In 632, St. Gobhan, entertaining a high opinion of Laserian, who supported the Roman custom of celebrating Easter, gave him up his abbey at old Leighlin, and went elsewhere to found another. He is said to have ruled over fifteen hundred monks; they supported themselves by manual labor; and by reason of their numbers and the fertile district in which they had been situated, were enabled to receive a greater complement of students and inmates than many of the other institutions of the country. The schools of old Leighlin held a high rank among the literary establishments of Ireland, in the 7th century. The fame which it acquired in foreign countries, as well as in Ireland, attracted such numbers of students and of religious persons to its halls, that old Leighlin soon became a town of great note, and the surrounding district was usually called the territory of saints and scholars.

"St. Laserian, the first bishop and founder of this see, was the son of Cairel, a nobleman of Ulster, and of Gemma, daughter of Aiden, king of the British Scots. The time of his birth is unknown, and the early portion of his life is involved in obscurity. By some he is said to have been the disciple of Fintan Munnu, and by another account to have been instructed by an abbot Murin.

"Having arrived at maturity, he is said to have travelled to Rome, and there sojourned fourteen years —ordained priest by Gregory the Great, and to have returned shortly after to Ireland. Having been sent to Rome about 630, probably as head of the deputation from the southern clergy after the synod of old Leighlin, he was consecrated bishop by Pope Honorius I., and made legate of Ireland. Having returned to Ireland he founded the see, A.D. 632, and previously to his death, which occurred on the 18th of April, 639, he was a chief instrument in finally settling the question of the Easter controversy, in the south of Ireland. In the same year died St. Gohhan, founder of the abbey."

Revd. Fr. Alban Butler, in his The Lives of the Fathers, Martyrs and Other Principal Saints, Vol. IV, p. 176 ff., 1866 Ed., tells us:

"Laserian was son of Cairel and Blitha, persons of great distinction, who intrusted his education, from his infancy, to the Abbot St. Murin. He afterwards travelled to Rome in the days of Pope Gregory the Great, by whom he is said to have been ordained priest. Soon after his return to Ireland, he visited Leighlin, a place situated a mile and a half westward of the river Barrow, where St. Goban was then abbot, who, resigning to him his abbacy, built a little cell for himself and a small number of monks. A great synod being soon after assembled there, in the White Fields, St. Laserian strenuously maintained the Catholic time of celebrating Easter against St. Munnu. This council was held in March 630. But St. Laserian not being able to satisfy in it all his opponents, took another journey to Rome, where Pope Honorius ordained him bishop, without allotting him any particular see, and made him his legate in Ireland. Nor was his commission fruitless: for, after his return, the time of observing Easter was reformed in the south parts of Ireland. St. Laserian died on the 18th of April, 638, and was buried in his own church which he had founded. In a synod held at Dublin, in 1330, the feasts of St. Patrick, St Laserian, St. Bridget, St. Canic, and St. Edan, are enumerated among the double festivals through the province of Dublin. St. Laserian was the first bishop of Old Leighlin, now a village.— New Leighlin stands on the eastern bank of the river Barrow See Ware, p. 54, and Colgan's MSS. on the 18th of April."

St. Laserian of Leighlin pray for us!

Friday, 16 April 2010

Happy Birthday Holy Father!

Today is the 83rd birthday of Our Most Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI.



HAPPY BIRTHDAY HOLY FATHER!

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

The Standing Stone: The Nurney Crosses, Co. Carlow.

Location – In the small village or Nurney, about 5km E of Leighlinbridge.
OS: S 734 673 (map 61)
Longitude: 6° 54' 43.01" W
Latitude: 52° 45' 5.95" N
GPS: S 73459 67280 (Accuracy: 8m)

Description and History – I stopped here on the spur of the moment. I was actually heading somewhere else when I spotted the dots on the map and decided to make the detour and I was glad that I did. Although there isn’t a huge amount to see here what is there is very interesting. As you enter the yard of a relatively modern church it appears to be nothing special but then you begin to notice that this site stretches back into history. As you approach the church you notice the head of a simple cross. It is relatively small and very weathered but clearly very old and probably an early example of an Irish high cross. The edges of the cross have been moulded but there is little evidence of other decoration. It must have been a plain cross. As you move around to the rear of the church yard you are greeted by the site of a complete early Christian wheeled cross. It stands nearly 2.5m high and is just outside the churchyard in the neighbouring field. Unfortunately there were a lot of interested cattle in the field so I couldn’t get too close to it which is a shame as I would like to have seen the reverse side. The cross is big and chunky and you can definitely see how the later high crosses grew out of this style of design. I would like to see this cross moved into the church yard and away from the cattle in case it gets damaged. Luckily it doesn’t appear to have been used as a scratching post by the cattle. There is also a cross base in this field that I was unable to locate because I couldn’t get into the field to have a good look around...but that gives me an excuse to back.

Difficulty – Easy to get to and find. Mind the cattle in the field to the rear.

This post originally appeared on 'The Standing Stone' and can be found here.




The modern Church of Ireland church.


The smaller cross. It may have been originally painted which would explain why it is so plain.

This is the complete cross which we are lucky to have today. As you can see the cattle were beginning to gather so I stayed on the other side of the wall from them.

Sunday, 11 April 2010

19th Monthly Mass in the Diocese of Kildare and Leighlin

Thomas asked me to attend the monthly Mass in Newbridge because he was away this month. I was happy to do so as it makes a change from the Latin Mass in Dublin. It's also nearer to me. I had attended twice previously and knew that the attendances are generally fairly low but I was unprepared for the attendance of 9 at a Sunday Mass, especially when the Priest celebrated alone in the sanctuary without even a single server. There was a general invitation to tea after Mass on previous Sundays, which I didn't accept because I wasn't comfortable walking right past the tabernacle (within inches) to have tea in a chapel directly behind the Blessed Sacrament. However, even the invitation to tea was absent on this occasion. This is all very disappointing after nearly two years. I don't think that the ('traditional') split at the beginning can entirely explain why things have gone from bad to worse. At any rate, I think there is no excuse for not having a server present. Katherine will add the statistical table later.

Saturday, 10 April 2010

Making the News (Part 6)

For some reason, Pathé newsreels feature parades of the Catholic Boy Scouts of Ireland or Boys Brigade in a great many of their newsreels.



Blessing and distribution of Shamrock at the Franciscan Church of the Immaculate Conception (Adam and Eve's), Merchant's Quay, Dublin, to the Catholic Boys' Brigade.



St. Patrick's Day ceremonies, 1920 - a combination of military and religion. Many Boy Scouts lined up at outdoor ceremony in square. Blessing & Presentation of a troop flag of the 26th Dublin St Columba's Troop, Catholic Boy Scouts of Ireland, at Iona Road.



Catholic Boys' Brigade. Demonstration by the newly founded company at Stillorgan, Ireland, 1923.



Father Philip O.F.M. distributes the National Emblem to the Catholic Boys Brigade in 1924.



Inspection and Presentation of Shamrock to the Visitation Troop of Catholic Boy Scouts at Fairview, Dublin, by Rev. F.T. Grogan, C.C., 1928.



"Interesting Scout Ceremony - The Rev. Father J. Flanagan blesses and presents the first Troop Flag to the Catholic Boy Scouts of Ireland (Fairview Troop) in 1928.



At a Dublin Scouts Ceremony, Very Rev. Canon Waters, PP, blesses the Flag of St. Peter's Troops at Dalymount in 1930.



In support of the Marino Church Fund, 2,000 Catholic Boy Scouts parade at Croke Park in 1930.

Spiritual Bouquet for the Holy Father

The Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest invites you to participate in a spiritual bouquet for the Holy Father. Click the picture to participate.


Let us pray for Our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, may the Lord preserve him, and give him life, and make him blessed upon the earth, and deliver him not up to the will of his enemies.

Monday, 5 April 2010

An Irish Easter Legend

An Irish Easter Legend.

Being in the north-west of Ireland last summer, on the borders of Sligo and Donegal, I chanced upon a famous Shanachie, or story-teller, an Irish-speaking peasant, who possessed an almost inexhaustible fund of traditional, historical, and legendary lore, and whose manner of relating his stories was so graphic that each scene seemed to pass before his own and his listeners' eyes. Amongst the legends he told was one which is now very rare, being, as far as I am aware, known only to Irish-speaking people, and even to few amongst these, though the sculptured tomb bearing the pictured representation of the story being found in Kilree churchyard, almost in the extreme farthest part of Ireland from Donegal, would seem to show that in olden times the legend was popular throughout Ireland.

The old story represented by “a cock in a pot, crowing," was told me by the Shanachie as follows :

" It was at the time when our Saviour was in the grave, and that the soldiers who were set to watch the tomb were sitting round a fire they had lighted. They had killed a cock and put it in a pot on the fire to boil for their supper; and, as they sat around, they spoke together of the story that was told how He that was in the tomb they were guarding had prophesied that before three days were passed He would rise again from the dead. And one of the men said, in mockery: He will rise as sure as the cock that is in that boiling pot will crow again.'

No sooner were the words spoken than the lid of the pot burst open, the cock flew on to the edge, flapped his wings, sprinkling the soldiers with the boiling water, then crowed three times, and what he said each time was:

' Moc an o-o-o-ye, slaun !
Moc an o-o-o-ye, slaun !'

That is,' Son of the Virgin, Hail!' [Mac an Óige, slán] and ever since that hour this is what the cock crows : this is what we hear him say, and if you listen you, too, can hear the very words :

' Moc an o-o-o-ye, slaun !' '

I spell the sound of the Irish phonetically to try and imitate the peculiar softening of the words as an Irish speaker softens them, the prolonging out of the o-o-o sounding almost precisely like the bird's crow heard from a distance. At least so it has always sounded in my ears since I heard this beautiful legend. M. B.

Journal of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland, Volume 27 (1897), 193-194.

Sunday, 4 April 2010

Urbi et Orbi Easter 2010

Archbishop Sheen Narrates...

Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen narrates the Traditional Latin Mass:


The Mass in this clip was filmed on Easter Sunday, 1941, at the Church of Our Lady of Sorrows, the Church of the Servite Order in Chicago. The celebrant was Revd. Fr. J. R. Keane, O.S.M. Deacon and Subdeacon were Revv. Hugh Calkins, O.S.M., and Frank Calkins, O.S.M., respectively. The musical setting of the Ordinary of the Mass, 'The Mass of Christ the King,' was composed by Rev. Edwin V. Hoover. The Schola Cantorum of the Mundelin Seminary, Chicago, under the direction of Revd. Fr. Joseph T. Kush, C.G.M., sang the proper of the Mass.

In the course of his narration, Archbishop Sheen said: “It is a long-established principle of the Church never to completely drop from her public worship any ceremony, object or prayer, which once occupied a place in that worship.” Mind you, that was in 1941. What a difference 70 years makes!

Friday, 2 April 2010

Pro Nobis Mortuus Est


Holy Thursday in Cork

The Easter Ceremonies were celebrated in the Gregorian Rite in Ss. Peter and Paul's Church, Cork City. Some images from Mass on Holy Thursday follow:

Introibo ad Altare Dei

Ab illo benedicaris, in cuius honore cremaberis

Nos autem gloriari opportet in cruce

Gloria in excelsis Deo


Dominus Vobiscum

Dominus sit in corde tuo et in labiis tuis

Exemplum enim dedi vobis

Et quemadmodum ego feci vobis ita et vos faciatis

Msgr. James O'Brien

Suscipe Sancte Pater Omnipotens

Per intercessionem beati Michaelis Archangeli

Per omnia saecula saeculorum...

...et elevatis oculis in caelum...

Haec quotiescumque feceritis in mei memoriam facietis

Reflecti vitalibus alimentis...

...plenum gratiae et veritatis...

Veneremur cernui!

Diviserunt sibi vestimenta mea

[Feel free to use these images but please credit this blog and give proper reference to the location and occasion - Convenor]

For many years, an elderly retired missionary Priest celebrated the Gregorian Rite daily at a very early hour in the Church of his congregation, the SMA, in Wilton, on the outskirts of Cork City. I well remember attending Mass in a darkened Church at 6.30 a.m. In the company of perhaps a dozen others who had been cute enough to discover the Mass in spite of the absolute ban on publicity. This elderly Priest, now deceased and for whom your prayers are requested, persevered despite increasing blindness to celebrate the Votive Mass of Our Lady, in season and out, as long as health permitted.

More recently, occasional Masses were organised in Ss. Peter and Paul's, growing to a monthly Mass since July, 2008, following Summorum Pontificum.

Fr. Patrick McCarthy, the Parish Priest of Saints Peter and Paul's, has been celebrating Mass in the Gregorian Rite weekly since October, 2009, with the permission of the Bishop of Cork and Ross. During this past Lent, Mass was celebrated daily in the Gregorian Rite.

During Holy Week, Tenebrae was celebrated each day of the Triduum and the full Easter Ceremonies were celebrated in the Church.

Ss. Peter and Paul's was also the scene of a Pontifical High Mass celebrated by H.E. George Cardinal Pell on 12th July, 2009. It coincided with the 150th anniversary of the commencement of building of the Church and was organised by St. Colman's Society for Catholic Liturgy to coincide with their annual conference held in Fota. It was the first public Pontifical High Mass (or even Gregorian Rite Mass) celebrated publicly in Ireland by a Cardinal since the introduction of the Novus Ordo.

St. Colman’s Society for Catholic Liturgy will hold its annual Solemn High Mass for the Holy Father’s intentions, on Easter Tuesday, 6th April, 2010, at Ss. Peter and Paul’s.

The foundation stone of the church was laid on 15th August, 1859, and the church was dedicated for worship on 29th June, 1866. It replaced an older church, built in 1786, which was entered from Carey's Lane and known as Carey's Lane Chapel. At that time Catholics were prohibited from building churches on main streets. This explains why the building is on such a narrow street when it is clearly worthy of a grander setting.

The prime mover in the building of SS Peter and Paul's was Archdeacon John Murphy. He was a member of the wealthy family of brewers (producers of Cork's famous Murphy's Stout) and had a most unusual early career for a future priest as he had worked for a time as a fur trader with the Hudson Bay Company in Canada.

The Church is Parish Church of most of the central part of Cork, the island between the two channels of the River Lee.

Missing, as is often the case with Irish Churches, is the spire planned for it, which was never built due to lack of funds and for fear that the extra weight might cause the structure to subside.

The irregular plan comprises five-bay side elevations with side aisles, apse to the east, and having gabled entrance front to the west, flanked by a four-stage tower to the north, and a pinnacle to the south. The pitched and hipped slate roofs are completed by cast-iron finials. The walls are of ashlar sandstone with ashlar limestone plinths, string courses, quoins, and dressings to openings. pointed arch window openings with stained glass windows set in carved limestone tracery. The timber match-board doors have wrought-iron strap hinges, set in pointed arch opening and having carved tympanum. Cast-iron railings set on limestone plinths and cast-iron gate to site.

There is some question over whether the Church was designed by E.W. Pugin, son of Augustus, or by Pugin's Irish partner, George Ashlin, but, at any rate, this church is particularly significant, as it is the earliest collaboration of the two, and in many ways acted as a template for subsequent church building in Ireland.

Located on a cramped site, this site is excellently utilised. The characteristic Cork materials, of ashlar sandstone with limestone dressings, add colour and textural variation to the site. The buildings in enhanced by the retention of many artistic features, such as the stained glass by Barnetts of Leith and Earley, the high altar which was designed by Ashlin and executed by Samuel Daly, as well as the carved confessionals and pulpit. The high altar was consecrated in August, 1874. In 1875 a new pulpit, again designed by Ashlin, and sanctuary stalls were added. The pulpit is of Russian oak with figures carved in high relief. High quality workmanship is evident throughout the construction and execution.

Thursday, 1 April 2010

And Symbols Glorious Swinging Uproarious...

"...On this I ponder where'er I wander and thus grow fonder, sweet Cork, of thee; with thy bells of Shandon that sound so grand on the pleasant waters of the River Lee..."

So runs one of the most famous hymns of the Corkonian faith and the Easter Vacation brought me back within the sound of Shandon bells. I thought it would be interesting to take a look at the Lenten preparations in some of the Churches in the centre of Cork City. As you would expect, most of them have retained the loss of the striking symbolism of veiling statues from after the second last Sunday of Lent (Passion Sunday). However, there are signs of a change in the air.

Cork, of course, led the way in the restoration of the Latin Mass with a daily Mass, albeit very discreetly, long before the election of Pope Benedict XVI. Today, the City boasts not only the Sunday Mass in Ss. Peter and Paul's but even a daily Mass during Lent supplemented by Tenebrae each of the three days of the Triduum and the full Holy Week Ceremonies.

However, it is more interesting to see the veils assumed in two other Churches in the City. The Dominicans of Pope's Quay also had the Office of Tenebrae, partly in Latin, with the hearse of fifteen candles left in the centre of the Sanctuary. They also veiled the Altar Cross. This beautiful Church is one of the first that I meet as I come into the City. It contains the tablet: "The Dominican community of Cork inscribe this stone in testimony of their gratitude to Kearns Deane Esq., architect, who with unexampled generosity and public spirit designed this building and directed the progress of its erection, 1832.” The consecration in October 1839 was attended by Daniel O'Connell, barrister and statesman, who had spearheaded the campaign for Catholic Emancipation only ten days before. The crisp ionic portico stands in contrast to the high gothic flourish of the Capuchin Holy Trinity Church on the South Channel of the Lee.



The Franciscans on Liberty Street may have built in the Byzantine style but they veiled the crosses of both the high altar and side altars very much in the Roman manner this year. The Church has the greatest area of mosaics of any church in Europe outside of Rome. The central dome has the feel of Hagia Sophia in Istanbul. The Church is famous for the gifts of wedding rings by the women of Cork for the tabernacle.






Finally, I took some shots of Ss. Peter and Paul's. The gorgeous Gothic Church hidden away behind Patrick's Street is the first collaboration of George Ashlin and Edward Pugin.



[Feel free to use these images but please credit this blog and give proper reference to the locations - Convenor]