Wednesday 31 December 2008

Celebrating the feast of St. Sylvester in Sweden

Today is the feast of Saint Sylvester I, who was Pope from 314 to 335, for 22 years, making him the eighth longest reigning Pope. He was the first Pope to use the title Pope meaning father. His reign coincided with the reign of the Emperor Constantinus so the Latern Basilica and Old Saint Peter's Basilica (the Constantinian Basilica) were built during his reign.

December 31st is the day of the burial of St. Sylvester in the Catacomb of Priscilla. Since it is also the last night of the secular year, the night of St. Sylvester (Sylvesternacht in German) is also celebrated in Catholic Countries.

In Lutheran Sweden, today is celebrated, among other things, as the birthday of cats. This seems like mockery or silliness but, in fact, like many Swedish celebrations, it has its roots firmly planted in Sweden's Catholic past. In Latin the term for a cat is Felis Sylvestris so the obvious day to celebrate the birthday of cats is the feast of their Saint, Sylvester. In a funny way, the Swedish celebration of the birthday of cats keeps alive in our National culture the feast of this holy Pope.

Saturday 27 December 2008

Remember The Holy Innocents!

"Herod the King, in his raging, charged he hath this day,
His men of might, in his own sight, all young children to slay."

Let us pray to the Martyrs of Christmas for the Holy Innocents of our own day!

Saturday 20 December 2008

St. Evin of Monasterevin

St. Abban is said to have preceded St. Evin in this locality, and to have established a church, if not also a monastic house in it. St. Evin-sometimes styled Emin-an, i.e., "Little Evin," and sometimes Beccan, which means "Little"-of the royal blood of Munster, brother to St. Cormac and two other saints, (1) - if he did not himself found the monastery, at least he colonized it by bringing thither a large number of monks from his native province. Hence the place, the previous name of which was Ros-glas ("the green wood"), came to be called Ros-glas-na-Moimneach, or "Ros-glas of the Munstermen."

Colgan thus writes of this saint:-"St Emin, who is also corruptly called Evinus, betook himself to Leinster, and at the bank of the river Barrow, . . . he raised a noble monastery, called in that age, Rosglas, and which, from the number of monks who followed the man of God from his own country of Munster, who were most holily governed by him there, began to be called Rosglas na-miamhneach, i.e., of the Momonians, and in process of time grew up into a large and formerly flourishing town. There the holy man was famous for many and great miracles, and that monastery, on account of the reverence paid to its first founder, stood in so great a veneration with posterity, that it was held a most safe sanctuary, and nobody presumed to offer violence or injury to the holy place who did not soon suffer the severity of the Divine vengeance. For the holy man is said to have obtained from God that none of the Lagenians, who should, with violent audacity, taste meat or drink in his sanctuary, or offer any other violence, would live beyond the ninth day afterwards. It was also said that after his death there was a bell belonging to this saint, which was called Bearnan Emhin, and was held in so great veneration that posterity, especially those sprung from the seed of Eugenius, his father, were accustomed to swear on it as a kind of inviolable oath, and conclude controversies by the virtue of the oath. It was in defence of this town that the famous battle of Bealach-Mughna (Ballymoon), in the plain of the country of Hy-drona, commonly called Maghailbhe, was fought, in which the Momonian invaders suffered great disaster, their King, Cormac-mac-Culenan, being slain."

In the Life of St. Clonfert Molua we read of that Saint visiting the Abbot St. Evin in his monastery, not far from the Barrow, which the most holy old man, Abban, had founded:-"S. Molua visitavit S. Evinum abbatem non longe a flumine Berbha in monasterio quod sanctissimus senex Abbanus fundavit, habitantem." The following passage from the Book of Ballymote, 270, a, (kindly translated from the Irish, by Mr. W.M. Hennessy) refers to this monastery:-

Emin-an, son of Eoghan, son of Murchadh, son of Muiredach, son of Diarmait, son of Eoghan, son of Ailill Flann-beg. Ros-glaise, moreover, was his foundation-place. On the brink of the Barrow the church is. And it was he that left [word] with the Lagenians, that he would not preserve for a moment alive the laic who would taste meat or butter or cold milk in his church-i.e. in Ros-glaise of the Munstermen.

And it is contending for this place the battle of Ballaghmoon, in Moy-ailbhe in Idrone, was given [fought]; and in it was slain Cormac MacCuilennan. Of which Cormac said:-

"About Ros-glaisne we shall give
The battle, since we cannot help it.
By Fiach (2) shall fall a King, on account of the ‘Ros.’
'Twill be sad, be true, be manifest."

The "swearing relic" of the Race of Eoghan is the Bernan Emin; and it is a miraculous breo, ("flame".)

The year of St. Evin’s death has not been recorded; Colgan, in Trias Thaum., states that it took place during the reign of Brandubh, King of Leinster, who was killed in the battle of Slaibhre, in A.D. 601 (or 604, according to the Annals of Ulster), after a reign of 30 years. O’ Curry and other reliable authorities, however, assign reasons for believing that our saint flourished at an earlier period, that he was a contemporary of St. Patrick, though only as a youth, and that his death occurred very early in the sixth century. We may justly conclude that he died on the 22nd of December, as our calendars mark his feast on that day. The Martyrology of Tallaght at that date has the entry: "Emini Rois glaissi," i.e., Emhin, or Evin of Rosglas; and the Mart. Donegal, at same date, has "Emin, Bishop of Rosglas, in Leinster, to the west of Cill-dara, on the brink of the Bearbha. Jamhnat, daughter of Sinell, was his mother. Eimhin was the son of Eoghan, etc. He was the brother of Cormac, son of Eoghan, as stated in the Life of the same Cormac." St. Evin was the author of the Life of St. Patrick called the Tripartite, published by Colgan, from which Joceline, who wrote a Life of our Apostle early in the twelfth century, acknowledges that he derived much help. This work is written partly in Latin and partly in Irish. Of this Life, Dr. Lanigan says that it contains a much greater variety of details concerning the Saint’s proceedings during his mission in Ireland than any other of his Lives. St. Evin also wrote the Life of St. Congall, the famous Abbot and Founder of the Monastery of Bangor, out of which Colgan cites some particular passages. (Harris’s Ware.)

Toimdenach, brother of St. Abban, was Abbot of Rosglas (Leabhar Breac), and Dubhan, another brother is said to have been a member of the same community; the feast of the former was celebrated on the 12th of June, and that of the latter on the11th of November.

Itharnaise is another saint whom we find connected with St. Evin and his monastery, and whose memory was celebrated on the same day, the 22nd of December. The Feilire of Aengus, at that day, has the invocation:- "May (Ultan) the Silent’s prayer protect us! Itharnaisc who spoke not, who was with pure Emine from the brink of the dumb Barrow." These two saints, Ultan and Itharnaisc, were chiefly identified with Clane, County of Kildare; they were brothers of St. Maighend, Abbot of Kilmainham, and sons of Aed, son of Colcan, King of Oirghallia. Aed himself became a monk, and died in 606.

A St. Cronan, whose feast is calendared at the 10th of Feb., is also identified with this monastery. The Feilire of Aengus thus refers to him:-"Fair star, offspring of victory, glowing mass-gold, bright pillar, Cronan holy, without reproach, white sun of Glais-Mar!" To which the scholiast in the Leabhar Breac adds:- "Cronan the chaste, without reproach, i.e., in Ros Glaise," etc.

A manuscript volume in the Irish language, preserved in the Royal Irish Academy, - MSS. 23, P.3,-contains a most interesting prose tract entitled the Cain Emine (Emine’s Tribute or Rule), and also a poem, which may be called The Lay of the Bell of St. Emine. O’ Curry, in his descriptive catalogue, states his opinion that the prose tract is certainly as old as the year 800; but that the poem was not written till long after.

From the entry on the Parish of Monasterevin in Most Rev. Dr. Comerford's History of the Diocese of Kildare and Leighlin (1883).

St. Evin of Monasterevin, pray for us that we may be granted all the graces of Christmas and Christmastide!

Sunday 14 December 2008

Third Monthly Mass in the Diocese of Kildare and Leighlin

The third monthly Latin Mass in the Diocese of Kildare and Leighlin took place this afternoon at 1 p.m. with Fr. Brendan Gerard, F.S.S.P., as celebrant.

While the attendance was not as large as on the two previous occasions, the congregation of almost two dozen witnessed three innovations. First, the addition of a maniple was most welcome. Second, a collection was taken up from the congregation for the first time. Third, the number of local people, while it may not be growing in real terms, has grown in percentage terms and today constituted a majority of those present.

Indeed, since nine members of St. Conleth's Catholic Heritage Association were present, we almost constituted a majority by ourselves. Once again, apologies for the quality of the pictures. The lighting in the Church is almost entirely non-natural and does not favour photography from a respectful distance.

Saturday 13 December 2008

The Swedish celebration of St. Lucy

St. Lucy (283-304 AD) from Syracuse, is the patroness of the blind, having plucked her own eyes out. She also protects prostitutes regretting their unfortunate choice of career, this because she herself was condemned to work in a brothel.

Her name is derived from the word lux or lucis meaning light. She was an early Christian martyr. She consecrated her virginity to God, and would not marry the man her parents had promised her to. She did, however, send him her own eyes, after having removed them herself, which is why she is often depicted with a pair of eyes on a plate. Our Lady then gave her a new pair of eyes, even more beautiful than the ones she'd had before.

It is said that before her death she was attacked in the most horrifying of ways; she was drenched in burning oil, but was not hurt; she had a sword thrust through her neck, but survived just until recieving the Last Rites.

St. Lucy is one of the few saints celebrated in lutheran Sweden. The night of her feast day, the 13th of December - roughly half way through advent - was, during the middle ages, according to the Julian calendar, the winter solstice - the longest night of the year. This changed, however, with the conversion to the Gregorian calendar in 1753.

On the evening of the 12th, a popular custom is to have a Lussevaka - Lucy wake - staying up all night and preparing for the feast of St. Lucy. At dawn on the 13th, groups of young people, dressed in white and carrying candles, used to go from door to door singing, and, for this, getting treats or money. Nowadays, this tradition is kept alive in schools and universities by early morning choir performances, and by children singing to their parents, and bringing them breakfast. This is what goes on in the picture here to the left, painted by Carl Larsson, Sweden's most famous painter.

Treats may include lussekatter - Lucy cats - a kind of saffron bun made especially for St. Lucy's day, but often enjoyed throughout Advent, along with ginger bread and coffee or mulled wine. The bun comes in many different shapes, the one to the right here being the most popular. A more luxurious kind is stuffed with marzipan.

The celebration of St. Lucy in Sweden is very much a part of the preparation for Christmas and many of the songs sung during the celebrations are, indeed, Christmas carols. Often, little children will dress up as little house gnomes or ginger bread men while taking part in the celebrations.

In the video below is a girls' choir, dressed up in the customary St. Lucy dresses, and singing the St. Lucy song. There are several versions of the lyrics to this song, but they all describe how St. Lucy brings light into the dark and prepares us for Christmas.

The girl with the candles in her hair is the one representing St. Lucy. Being chosen for this is an honour and there are usually elections and preparations months in advance to get the perfect Lucy.

Another Saint often mentioned during the St. Lucy celebrations is St. Stephen, who even has his own song sung during the St. Lucy festivities. He is rarely mentioned here in Sweden, though, on his proper feast day - the 26th of December.

St. Stephen is sometimes referred to as the protomartyr, since he was the first Christian to be martyred. He was stoned to death in 35 AD. In Swedish tradition he is very closely connected with horses, like a stable boy, and this is also the theme of the St. Stephen's song; "Staffan var en stalledräng, vattnade sina fålar fem, för den ljusa stjärna" - "Stephen was a stable boy, he watered his five horses, for the bright shining star."

Why the tradition of celebrating St. Lucy's day has survived for so long in lutheran Sweden, where so many other Saints and religious practices are now, by most, forgotten, is not easy to say. Some will explain it as the longing for light during the dark season in a dark country. Others say that the St. Lucy celebrations are a Christian excuse to celebrate the winter solstice, a somewhat more pagan tradition.

Advent II

In his magistral work, L'Année liturgique, Dom Prosper Guéranger notes the commencement of the Great Antiphons of Advent on December 17 thus:

"The Church enters to-day on the seven days which precede the Vigil of Christmas, and which are known in the liturgy under the name of the Greater Ferias. The ordinary of the Advent Office becomes more solemn; the antiphons of the psalms, both for Lauds and the Hours of the day, are proper, and allude expressly to the great coming. Every day, at Vespers, is sung a solemn antiphon, consisting of a fervent prayer to the Messias, whom it addresses by one of the titles given Him in the sacred Scriptures.

In the Roman Church, there are seven of these antiphons, one for each of the greater ferias. They are commonly called the O's of Advent, because they all begin with that interjection."

In this video we hear the well-known metrical setting of the seven 'O Antiphons', known as 'Veni, Veni Emmanuel', although there are only five in this version. When we sing this well-known Advent hymn, we can help to recapture the true spirit of Advent by singing all seven verses and by relating each verse to the relevant 'O Antiphon'.

Wednesday 10 December 2008

We'll miss Your Eminence!

His Eminence, Francis, Cardinal Arinze was born on 1st November, 1932, in Oraukwu, Anambra State, Nigeria. He was baptised on his ninth birthday by Blessed Cyprian Michael Tansi. He was ordained to the Pristhood on 23rd November, 1958, and to the Episcopate on 29th August, 1965. He was raised to the purple in 1985 and had previously served as President of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue.

Cardinal Arinze was succeeded as head of the Vatican's Department with responsibility for the Sacred Liturgy, the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, yesterday by His Eminence, Antonio, Cardinal Cañizares Llovera.

Tuesday 9 December 2008

New Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship

The Holy See has today announced the retirement of His Eminence, Francis, Cardinal Arinze from the post of Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments and, by the same act, has announced the appointment to that post of His Eminence, Antonio, Cardinal Cañizares Llovera, who was, until now, the Metropolitan Archbishop of Toledo and Primate of Spain.

His Eminence, the new Cardinal Prefect takes charge of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, which is the amalgamation of functions formerly belonging to the Congregation of Rites and the Congregation of the Sacraments. This is the Vatican Department with responsibility for the Sacred Liturgy.

His Eminence was born on 10th October, 1945, and was ordained a Priest on 21st June, 1970. Having deen Episcopal Delegate for Caetchesis in the Archdiocese of Valencia and Professor of Catechetical Theology at the Pontifical University of Salamanca, His Eminence was the founding President of the Spanish Association of Catechists.

The images contained in this post show His Eminence, the new Cardinal Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments ordaining two Priests for the Institute of Christ the King, Sovereign Priest, in the Gregorian Rite, at their Seminary at Gricigliano, near Florence in Italy, in 2007.

Ad Multos Annos, Your Eminence!

Monday 8 December 2008

Immaculata Mater Dei, ora pro nobis!

The Immaculate Conception by Rubens

O pura et immaculata, eademque benedicta Virgo, magni Filii tui universorum Domini Mater inculpata, integra et sacrosanctissima, desperantium atque reorum spes, te collaudamus. Tibi ut gratia plenissimae benedicimus, quae Christum genuisti Deum et Hominem: omnes coram te prosternimur: omnes te invocamus et auxilium tuum imploramus. Eripe nos, o Virgo sancta atque intemerata, a quaecumque ingruente necessitate et a cunctis tentationibus diaboli.

Nostra conciliatrix et advocata in hora mortis atque iudicii esto: nosque a futuro inexstinguibili igne et a tenebris exterioribus libera: et Filii tui nos gloria dignare, o Virgo et Mater dulcissima ac clementissima. Tu siquidem unica spes nostra es securissima et sanctissima apud Deum, cui gloria et honor, decus atque imperium in sempiterna saecula saeculorum. Amen.

St. Ephrem the Syrian (306-373)

Saturday 6 December 2008

Advent I

The music of Christmas dominates our thoughts during December - and it assaults our ears too as Christmas (or the Winter Sales Season) 'begins' earlier and earlier. Advent - preparation, as opposed to instant gratification - runs counter to the ideas of the modern mind. What modern minds forget is that, just as there is no CHRISTmas without Christ, there is no Christmas without Advent.

With the loss of the sense of Advent, the music of Advent has been lost too. Maybe we can restore the sense of Advent by restoring the music of Advent. Here is one example, 'Rorate Caeli', the great refrain of Advent. It's not difficult to learn and, once learnt, it's even harder to forget.

Friday 5 December 2008

God bless the Grand Duke of Luxembourg!

Der Spiegel reports that H.R.H. the Grand Duke of Luxembourg has declared that he will refuse to sign into law an Act legalising euthanasia. The official site of the Grand Duchy declares: "If the Grand Ducal Family have retained their legitimate role in Luxemburgois society it is in large part because they have won their confidence in the moments of greatest difficulty". Grand Duke Henri's mother is the sister of his late Majesty, Baudouin I, King of the Belgians.

The Prime Minister of Luxembourg is reported to be considering stripping the Grand Duke of his legislative powers.

May God bless and preserve the Grand Duke of Luxembourg and confirm him in devotion to the Law of God! May God save the people of Luxembourg!

De Wilhelmus - The Grand Ducal Anthem

Sunday 30 November 2008

Holy Year of Saint Paul

We have received confirmation of three pilgrimages to honour the Holy Year of Saint Paul.

The first pilgrimage will be to Dublin on Saturday, 24th January, 2009, where Mass will be celebrated in the Gregorian Rite at 11 a.m. in St. Paul's Church on Arran Quay on the banks of the River Liffey. Blessed Columba Marmion was baptised in this Church, which was home for many years to the Latin Mass in the Archdiocese of Dublin.

St. Paul's Church, Arran Quay, Dublin 8

The interior of St. Pauls features a startling full-height fresco of the Conversion of Saint Paul in the apse of the Church.

Interior of St. Paul's, Arran Quay
The second pilgrimage will be to Kilcock, Co. Kildare, on Saturday, 21st March, 2009, where Mass will be celebrated in the Gregorian Rite in St. Coca's Church. Kilcock, on the bank of the Royal Canal, stands upon the site of the foundation of St. Coca, another ourstanding lady Saint of Kildare, of whom more in June about the time of her feastday.
St. Coca's Church, Kilcock, Co. Kildare.
The third confirmed pilgrimage is to the village of Vicarstown, Co. Laois, on Saturday, 25th April, 2009, where Mass will be celebrated in the Gregorian Rite at 11 a.m. in the Church of the Assumption. Vicarstown lies on the banks of the Grand Canal, near the ancient monastic settlement of Clonenagh, home of St. Fintan, known as the Father of Irish Monks, and St. Aengus the Culdee, author of the Felire and co-author with Maelruain of the Martyrology of Tallaght.

Church of the Assumption, Vicarstown, Co. Laois.
Further information on these and other pilgrimages will appear as it becomes available.

Saturday 29 November 2008

November - Month of the Holy Souls


This heroic act of charity in behalf of the souls in purgatory consists in a voluntary offering made in their favour by any one of the faithful of all works of satisfaction done by him in this life, as well as of all suffrages which shall be offered for him after his death; by this act he deposits them all into the hands of the Blessed Virgin, that she may distribute them in behalf of those holy souls whom it is her good pleasure to deliver from the pains of purgatory, at the same time that he declares that by this offering he only foregoes in their behalf the special and personal fruit of each satisfactory work; so that, being a priest, he is not hindered from applying the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass according to the intentions of those who give him alms. This heroic act of charity, called also a vow or oblation, was instituted by F. Gaspar Oliden, a Theatine; for although it was not unknown in former ages, it was he who propagated it, and it was at his prayer that it was enriched with many indulgences first by Pope Benedict XIII. in his decree of August 23, 1728; and then by Pope Pius VI., in a decree of Dec. 12, 1788; these indulgences were finally specified by our Sovereign Pontiff Pius IX, in a decree of the S. Congr. of Indulgences of Sept. 30, 1852. They are as follows:

i. An indult of a privileged altar, personally, every day in the year, to all priests who have made this offering.

ii. A plenary indulgence, applicable only to the departed, to all the faithful who have made this offering, whenever they go to Holy Communion, provided they visit a church or public oratory, and pray there for a time according to the mind of His Holiness.

iii. A Plenary indulgence, every Monday, to all who hear Mass in suffrage for the souls in purgatory, provided they visit the church, and pray as above.

iv. All Indulgences granted or to be granted, even though not applicable to the dead, which are gained by the faithful who have made this offering, may be applied to the holy souls in purgatory.

v. Lastly, the same Sovereign Pontiff, Pope Pius IX., having regard to the young who are not yet communicants, as well as to the poor sick, to those who are afflicted with chronic disorders, to the aged, to farm-labourers, prisoners, and others who are debarred from communicating and unable to hear Mass on Mondays, vouchsafed by another decree of the S. Congr. of Indulgences, of November 20, 1854, to declare that for all the faithful who cannot hear mass on Mondays, the mass heard on Sundays should be available for gaining the Indulgence no. iii; and that in favour of those who are not yet communicants, or who are hindered from communicating, he leaves it at the disposal of their respective ordinaries to authorise confessors to commute the works enjoined. And note lastly, that although this act of charity is denominated a vow in some printed tracts, in which also is given a formula for making the offering, no inference is to be drawn therefrom that this offering binds under sin; neither is it necessary to make use of the said formula, since, in order to share in the said indulgences, no more is required than a hearty act of our will.

Saturday 22 November 2008

November - Month of the Holy Souls


"Purgatory opened to the Piety of the Living, or a Brief daily Exercise in aid of the Souls in Purgatory," as the title of a little book of which many editions have been printed in Rome and elsewhere, and which is in the hands of many a devout person. Pope Leo XII., in order to hold out a greater inducement to the faithful to pray for the faithful departed, granted by a Rescript of the S. Congr. of Indulgences, Nov, 18, 1826 -

An indulgence of 100 days, to all who say with contrite heart and devotion once a day the prayers assigned in the above mentioned exercise to each day in the week, with one Pater, Ave, and the De profundis; and his holiness expressed at the same time his desire that the little books containing these devotions should be distributed gratis, as indeed has hitherto been the constant practice. Those, however, who use these prayer-books, are therein exhorted to say every day two Ave Maria's additional; one for all those who are associated in the exercise, and the other for all those who of their charity assist in promulgating it.


For Sunday.
O Lord God Almighty, I pray Thee, by the Precious Blood which Thy Divine Son Jesus shed in the garden, deliver the souls in purgatory, and especially that soul amongst them all who is most destitute of spiritual aid; and vouchsafe to bring it to Thy glory, there to praise and bless Thee for ever. Amen. Pater, Ave and De Profundis.

For Monday.
O Lord God Almighty, I pray Thee, by the Precious Blood which Thy Divine Son Jesus shed in His cruel scourging, deliver the souls in purgatory, and that soul especially amongst them all which is nearest to its entrance into Thy glory; that so it may forthwith begin to praise and bless Thee for ever. Amen. Pater, Ave and De Profundis.

For Tuesday.
O Lord God Almighty, I pray Thee, by the Precious Blood which Thy Divine Son Jesus shed in His bitter crowning with thorns, deliver the souls in purgatory, and in particular that one amongst them all which would be the last to depart out of these pains, that it may not tarry so long a time before it come to praise Thee in Thy glory and bless Thee for ever. Amen. Pater, Ave and De Profundis.

For Wednesday.
O Lord God Almighty, I pray Thee, by the Precious Blood which Thy Divine Son Jesus shed in the streets of Jerusalem when He carried the cross upon His sacred shoulders, deliver the souls in purgatory, and especially that soul which is richest in merits before Thee; that so, in that throne of glory which awaits it, it may magnify Thee and bless Thee for ever. Amen. Pater, Ave and De Profundis.

For Thursday.
O Lord God Almighty, I pray Thee by the Precious Body and Blood of Thy Divine Son Jesus, which He gave with His own Hand upon the eve of His Passion to His beloved apostles to be their meat and drink, and which He left to His whole Church to be a perpetual sacrifice and the life-giving food of His own faithful people, deliver the souls in purgatory, and especially that one which was most devoted to this Mystery of infinite love, that it may with the same Thy Divine Son, and with The Holy Spirit, ever praise Thee for Thy love therein in eternal glory. Amen. Pater, Ave and De Profundis.

For Friday.
O Lord God Almighty, I pray Thee, by the Precious Blood which Thy Divine Son shed upon the wood of the cross, especially from his most sacred Hands and Feet, deliver the souls in purgatory, and in particular that soul for which I am most bound to pray; that no neglect of mine may hinder it from praising Thee in Thy glory and blessing Thee for ever. Amen. Pater, Ave and De Profundis.

For Saturday.
O Lord God Almighty, I beseech Thee, by the Precious Blood which gushed forth from the Side of Thy Divine Son Jesus, in the sight of, and to the extreme pain of his most holy Mother, deliver the souls in purgatory, and especially that one amongst them all which was the most devout to her; that it may soon attain unto Thy glory, there to praise Thee in her and her in Thee world without end. Amen. Pater, Ave and De Profundis.

Friday 21 November 2008

The Presentation of Our Lady in the Temple

Today is the feast of the Presentation of Our Lady in the Temple, by her parents, St. Joachim and St. Anne.

These praises and prayers I lay at thy feet, O Virgin Most Holy! O Virgin Most Sweet! Be thou my true guidethrough this pilgrimage here: and stand by my side when death draweth near.

This performance of Schubert's Ave Maria sung by Dianna Durbin in the unhappily titled 1940 film It's a Date reminds us of the deep respect which popular culture once held for our Catholic Heritage - in the days when we Catholics held our Heritage in respect too. Durbin had earlier recorded the Bach-Gounod Ave Maria with the Vienna Boys Choir and reprised it in Mad about Music in 1938.

Sunday 16 November 2008

Mass in Stamullen, Co. Meath

Fr. David Jones, O.Praem., of Duleek, Co. Meath, has just advised us that the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass will be offered in the Gregorian Rite (1962 Missal) every Sunday from the First Sunday of Advent at 10.45 a.m. in the Visitation Convent, Stamullen, Co. Meath.

Fr. Jones preaching in Emo

This Visitation Convent is located in what was formerly Silverstream House, built about 150 years ago as a dower house to the Preston family of Gormanston Castle. In 1941 it passed to the Order of St. John of God and in 1955, they passed it to the Visitation Nuns. This first Irish foundation at Silverstream was led by Mother Theresa O'Dwyer, with 8 sisters, 3 sisters from America and 5 from England. It was a foundation of the Visitation Convent in Snellville, Georgia, USA.

Saint Jane Frances de Chantal

The Congregation of the Visitation was founded on Trinity Sunday, 6th June, 1610, by St. Francis de Sales, Bishop of Geneva, and Baroness, later Saint, Jane Francis de Chantal, seen here in the traditional habit, including the barbette or white wimple that is still a part of the habit of Visitation Nuns today.

Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque
Receives the Vision of the Sacred Heart

The Visitation Order was privileged to receive, through one of its members, Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque, the revelation of Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. In the same regard, we can say that Fr. Jones also advises that a High Mass is celebrated at the Hermitage in Duleek, Co. Meath, every First Friday at 12 noon.

To the Sacred Heart of Jesus, thanks; to the Visitation Sisters of Stamullen, blessings; to Father Jones, many years; to the Mass on Sundays at 10.45 a.m., much fruit!

Mass for St. Paul in Emo, Co. Laois

Pictures have recently become available from the Mass organised in July to honour the Holy Year of Saint Paul. In light of news from Meath (see next post), we release them today.

On a fine July morning, members and friends of St. Conleth's Catholic Heritage Group travelled to the Church of St. Paul in the small village of Emo, Co. Laois, for the celebration of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass in the Traditional Latin or Gregorian Rite.

Fr. David Jones, O.Praem., who is a Norbertine Priest living in a hermitage in the village of Duleek in the County and Diocese of Meath, celebrated the Mass, which was a votive Mass of the Holy Ghost for Vocations.

A congregation of 65 members and friends of St. Conleth's Catholic Heritage Association were present for Fr. Jones' stirring sermon on reverence for the House of God and the presence of the Blessed Sacrament. He went on to say that the same spirit of reverence must be shown for the ecclesia domestica, the Catholic Family. The Catholic Family, like the House of God, must be permeated by a spirit of silence, a spirit of prayer and a spirit of devotion to our proper duties. We mustn't neglect the duties of our station in life.

While a small schola sang the propers of the votive Mass, the proper of the Mass and vernacular hymns such as O Sanctissima, Soul of My Saviour, Salve Regina and Faith of Our Fathers were sung by the whole congregation.

Following Mass, the De Profundis was recited. This is a venerable custom in Ireland after Low Masses, endorsed by the Holy See, to pray for the souls of the Faithful departed who died during the long years of persecution when they may have gone without the Last Rites or even a Catholic Funeral during those centuries of British Rule when being a Priest or Bishop in Ireland was a criminal offence, as was the carrying out of any 'Popish Rites'. The Irish are deeply conscious of the debt they owe to those who suffered to preserve the Faith in Ireland and the duty we owe to pray for their souls.

The Church of Saint Paul is the only Church dedicated solely to the Apostle of the Gentiles in the Diocese of Kildare and Leighlin, although several Churches in the Diocese are dedicated to him jointly with St. Peter. Dr. Comerford tells us:

"The handsome parish church of Emo, the site of which was a gift from Lord Portarlington, was erected during the pastorate of the Very Rev. T. O'Connell, but chiefly through the zealous exertions of the Rev. William Hooney, then resident curate. The bell-tower was completed by the Rev. John Phelan, P.P. Father Hooney died, to the great grief of his many friends, on the 3rd of May, 1872, and was interred in his native parish of Suncroft. The Altar of the Sacred Heart, at Emo, and another under the same invocation, at Suncroft [dismantled during later re-ordering!] have been erected to his memory. The commodious parochial house, and land attached to it have been granted by the Earl of Portarlington at a nominal rent. In the burial-ground hard-by, the Rev. James Murray lies interred; the inscription over his grave records that he was Parish Priest of this parish for 18 years, and that he died on the 18th of May, 1823, aged 80.

A monument to the memory of Aline, late Countess of Portarlington, has been erected in this church by her husband, the present Earl. It is a recumbent effigy in Carrara marble, by the eminent sculptor, Boehm, and is reputed to be one of his best works. This lady became a convert to Catholicity in 1867, from which time to the period of her death, she resided chiefly at Emo Park, edifying all by the earnestness with which she devoted herself to her own sanctification, to works of charity, and to the promotion of the beauty of God's worship. Her lamented death took place on the 15th of January, 1874."

After Mass, many members and friends went to Emo Court, which was built by James Gandon as the seat of the Earls of Portarlington. Emo Court forms part of our Catholic Heritage, not just as the seat of the Catholic Lady Portarlington but as the home of Noviciate of the Irish Jesuit Province for about 30 years from 1934. The house was purchased from the Jesuits by its most recent owner, Major Cholmeley Harrison, who did so much to rescue the house from ruin and who died this year. He donated it to the People of Ireland in 1994.

Saturday 15 November 2008

November - Month of the Holy Souls


Pope Pius VII., by a Brief dated Feb,. 7, 1817, the original of which is kept in the Archivium of the Chapter of the Cathedral Church of Arezzo, whose bishop first prayed for this Indulgence, granted -

i. An indulgence of 300 days, to all the faithful who, being contrite in heart, and devoutly meditating on the Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ, shall say in suffrage for the faithful departed five Pater Nosters and five Ave Marias, with the versicle Te ergo quaesumus, tuis famulis subveni, quos pretioso sanguine redemisti, or, who shall say the ejaculation, "Eternal Father, we pray Thee help the souls of Thy servants, whom Thou hast redeemed with the blood of Jesus Christ;" and the Requiem Aeternam.

ii. A plenary indulgence and remission of all sins to all who shall have practised this pious exercise every day for a month, on any one day in each month when, being repentant, they shall, after Confession and Communion, pray for our holy Mother the Church, &c., and for the eternal repose of the departed.

Sunday 9 November 2008

November - Month of the Holy Souls

The Sequence of the Requiem Mass, the Dies Irae, is the foremost of the hymns for the Holy Souls. Removed from the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite, it is now only heard at concerts or at Masses for the Dead in the Extraordinary Form.

Annibale Bugnini, the architect of the Ordinary Form, in his work The Reform of the Liturgy : 1948–1975, (The Liturgical Press, 1990), Chap. 46.II.1, p. 773, explains why it was removed: "They got rid of texts that smacked of a negative spirituality inherited from the Middle Ages. Thus they removed such familiar and even beloved texts as the Libera me, Domine, the Dies Irae, and others that overemphasized judgment, fear, and despair. These they replaced with texts urging Christian hope and arguably giving more effective expression to faith in the resurrection".

This first video is of the Requiem Mass celebrated by the Institute of Christ the King, Sovereign Priest, on EWTN recently. Their superb schola cantorum renders the Dies Irae during the Mass. The Institute of Christ the King, Sovereign Priest, has recently received the approval of its statutes by the Holy See and has been given the status of 'Pontifical Right' under the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei.

The text of the Dies Irae seems to be derived from the first Chapter of the Book of the Prophet Sophonias (Zephaniah, if you're reading a non-Catholic Bible) and is usually attributed to Thomas of Celano, who was a Franciscan during the lifetime of St. Francis of Assisi. Thomas of Celano is also attributed with the Vita Prima or first biography of St. Francis.

Like so many texts of the Traditional Latin Liturgy, it has inspired the finest composers for two millennia to create some of their most sublime masterpieces. The most obvious example is that of Mozart in his Requiem Mass, the first movement of which can be found in the second video. If this setting can just be considered more liturgical than operatic, it is in contrast with the later and more obviously operatic settings of, for example, Verdi in the third video.

Although we can clearly see that later settings often seek more for emotional effect than to inspire devotion and repentence among the living and prayer for the dead, it is certainly true that the texts of the Traditional Latin Liturgy stand for something that answers deeply to the yearning of the human heart. The following words are from the plea addressed to Pope Paul VI at the time when he proposed to reform the Liturgy and to consign, as it then seemed, to the rubbish heap of history, so much of our Catholic Heritage:

"...The rite in question, in its magnificent Latin text, has also inspired a host of priceless achievements in the arts - not only mystical works, but works by poets, philosophers, musicians, architects, painters and sculptors in all countries and epochs. Thus, it belongs to universal culture as well as to churchmen and formal Christians. In the materialistic and technocratic civilisation that is increasingly threatening the life of mind and spirit in its original creative expression - the word - it seems particularly inhuman to deprive man of word-forms in one of their most grandiose manifestations. The signatories of this appeal, which is entirely ecumenical and non-political, have been drawn from every branch of modern culture in Europe and elsewhere. They wish to call to the attention of the Holy See, the appalling responsibility it would incur in the history of the human spirit were it to refuse to allow the Traditional Mass to survive, even though this survival took place side by side with other liturgical reforms."

Source: Latin Mass Society of England and Wales website.

Mother of Sorrows, pray for the Holy Souls in Purgatory!

Second Monthly Mass in the Diocese of Kildare and Leighlin

The second Monthly Mass in the Extraordinary Form provided by the Diocese of Kildare and Leighlin took place this afternoon in the Church of Our Lady (Cill Mhuire), Newbridge, Co. Kildare, Ireland. The baptism ceremony of a local child, attended by more than 100, was just finishing at 1 p.m. So, when they were invited to leave by a visitor from Dublin, Mass was able to start not very long after the scheduled time.

Fr. Brendan Gerard, FSSP, celebrated the Mass of the Feast of the Dedication of the Latern Basilica for a congregation of almost half the number who attended last month, including a very healthy number of young children with their parents. Once again, the organisers were fortunate to have a significant number of visitors from Dublin in attendance. Unfortunately the Dublin choir who sang at last month's Mass was not present today. On the other hand, the Low Mass was much the more familiar form when the Latin Mass was universal in the Parishes of Ireland.

Fr. Gerard noted in his sermon what a pleasure it was to fly in from Rome to witness the dedication of the Cathedral of that Diocese being celebrated in Churches throughout the world - a forceful sign of the universality of the Church.

[Apologies for the quality of images. This Church, despite being very modern in design, is not remarkably photo-friendly.]

Saturday 8 November 2008

November - Month of the Holy Souls


Pope Clement XII. was the first who, in order to move the piety of Christians to pray for the souls in Purgatory, granted, by a Brief of Aug. 4, 1736, Coelestes Ecclesiae thesauros -

i. The indulgence of 100 days to all the faithful, every time that at the sound of the bell, at the first hour after the evening Ave Maria, they say devoutly on their knees the psalm De profundis, with a Requiem aeternam at the end of it. (The evening Ave Maria in Rome varies with the season; it is commonly taken as 6 o’clock.)

ii. A plenary indulgence to those who perform this pious exercise for a year at the hour appointed, once in the year, on any one day, after Confession and Communion. Those who do not know by heart the De Profundis, may gain these Indulgences by saying in the way already mentioned for the De profundis, one Pater noster and one Ave Maria, with the Requiem aeternam.

Observe also, that the aforesaid Clement XII. declared, Dec. 12, 1736, that these Indulgences might be gained by saying the De profundis, &c., as above, although, according to the custom of a particular church or place, the "signal for the dead," as it is called, be given by the sound of the bell either before or after one hour after the evening Ave Maria. Pope Pius VI., by a Rescript of March 18, 1781, granted the above-named Indulgences to all the faithful who should chance to dwell in any place where no bell for the dead is sounded, and who shall say the De profundis or Pater noster, as aforesaid, about the time specified above.

Ps. 129. De profundis clamavi ad te, Domine: * Domine, exaudi vocem meam. Fiant aures tuae intendentes: * in vocem deprecationis meae. Si iniquitates observaveris, Domine: * Domine, quis sustinebit? Quia apud te propitiatio est: * propter legem tuam sustinui te, Domine. Sustinuit anima mea in verbum ejus: * speravit anima mea in Domino. A custodia matutina usque ad noctem: * speret Israel in Domino. Quia apud Dominum misericordia: * et copiosa apud eum redemptio. Et ipse redimet Israel: * ex omnibus iniquitatibus ejus. Requiem aeternam * dona eis, Domine. Et lux perpetna luceat eis.Requiescant in pace. Amen. End at pleasure with the following:

V. Domine, exaudi orationem meam, R. Et clamor meus ad te veniat.

Oremus. Fidelium Deus omnium conditor et redemptor, animabus famulorum famularumque tuarum remissionem cunctorum tribue peccatorum: ut iudulgentiam, quam semper optaverunt, piis supplicationibus consequantur. Qui vivis et regnas in saecula saeculorum. R. Amen.

V. Requiem aeternam dona eis, Domine. R. Et lux perpetua luceat eis.

V. Requiescant in pace. R. Amen.

[Customarily recited at Low Mass in Ireland after the Last Gospel and before the Leonine Prayers for the souls of those who died during the ages of persecution.]

Saturday 1 November 2008

Of your Charity, pray for the dead!

Film of Pope Leo XIII (r. 1878-1903)

In this month of the Holy Souls, let us not forget to pray for the predecessors of our Pastors: our deceased Priests; our deceased Bishops; and our deceased Popes.

May their sweet souls, and the souls of all the Faithful departed, rest in peace!

Saturday 25 October 2008

Saint Natfrioch of Kildare

Saint Natfrioch of Kildare

A monastery for the canons of St. Augustine was founded at Kildare, of which St. Natfrioch is said to have been the first Abbot – he was the Priest who attended the institution of St. Brigid before the appointment of its first Bishop – he is spoken of as the companion of St. Brigid, and to have remained with her all his life, notwithstanding the superintendence of Conlaeth, and it is also stated that he was wont to read in the refectory while the nuns were at their meals.

P. 486, Ecclesiastical History of Ireland by Rev. Thomas Walsh

Saint Natfrioch of Kildare, pray for us!

Tuesday 21 October 2008

China (20th) Jubilee of the FSSP

Several members of St. Conleth's Catholic Heritage Association were in Rome to celebrate with the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter the 20th Anniversary of their Foundation.

Some members of the Irish Sodality of Our Lady can be seen (above) at the top right in their blue cloaks. The ceremonies were held in the Church of the Fraternity's Personal Parish in Rome, Santissima Trinita dei Pellegrini (the Church of the Most Holy Trinity of the Archconfraternity of Pilgrims), located near the Piazza Farnese. In the Sanctuary (seen below at Solemn Vespers), the Altarpiece is The Holy Trinity painted by Guido Reni in 1625.

A Pontifical High Mass (below) was celebrated on Saturday, 18th October, by His Eminence, Darío Cardinal Castrillón Hoyos, President of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei.

It will be remembered that His Eminence, at a Press Conference in London, on 14th June, 2008, was asked by a reporter from the english Daily Telegraph newspaper: "So would the Pope like to see many ordinary parishes making provision for the Gregorian Rite?" His Eminence replied as follows:

"All the parishes. Not many - all the parishes, because this is a gift of God. He offers these riches, and it is very important for new generations to know the past of the Church. This kind of worship is so noble, so beautiful - the deepest theologians’ way to express our faith. The worship, the music, the architecture, the painting, makes a whole that is a treasure. The Holy Father offers to all the people this possibility, not only the groups who demand it, but so that everybody knows this way of celebrating the Eucharist in the Catholic Church."

Source: Website of the Latin Mass Society of England and Wales.

Ad multos annos, your Eminence!

Saturday 18 October 2008

St. Ethbin of Kildare

St. Ethbin was born in Great Britain; and died in Kildare about the year 600. He was of noble birth. His father died when he was only about 15 years of age. His widowed mother then entrusted his education to his countryman, Saint Samson of Dol Abbey in Brittany.

One day, while Ethbin was at Mass, he really heard the words: "Every one of you that cannot renounce all that he possesses, cannot be my disciple." He immediately resolved to renounce the world. Because he was a deacon, Ethbin sought the permission of his bishop to withdraw from the world. Upon receiving it, Ethbin retired to the abbey of Taurac. This was about the year 554.

For his spiritual director, this saint chose another: Saint Winwaloë. The community of Taurac was dispersed by a Frankish raid in 556 and Winwaloë died soon thereafter.

Ethbin then crossed over to Ireland, where he led the life of a hermit for 20 years in a forest near Kildare, now unidentifiable, called Nectensis. Historically, there was no cultus for Saint Ethbin in Ireland. His relics are claimed by Montreuil and Pont-Mort in France. The date assigned to his feast, for example, in the Martyrology of Donegal, is 19th October.

St. Ethbin of Kildare, pray for us!

Sunday 12 October 2008

First Monthly Mass in the Diocese of Kildare and Leighlin

The First Monthly Mass in the Extraordinary Form provided by the Diocese of Kildare and Leighlin took place this afternoon a little after 1 p.m. in the Church of Our Lady (Cill Mhuire), Newbridge, Co. Kildare, Ireland.

Following intensive publicity in print and radio media by the Diocesan Communications Office, a congregation of almost 60 was in attendance. That congregation of almost 60 included the Most Reverend Bishop James Moriarty of Kildare and Leighlin, as well as Fr. Brendan Gerard, FSSP, resident in Rome, who was celebrant and who preached a short homily, together with Mr. John Heather, from Dublin.

Also in the congregation were Mr. Kieron Wood of the Sunday Business Post, together with his family, from Dublin, and Mr. David McEllin, former Chairman of both the Latin Mass Society of Ireland and Ecclesia Dei - Ireland, also from Dublin. The music was provided by the Lassus Scholars from Dublin.

Bishop Moriarty welcomed the many people who had come from Dublin for this Mass but noted that it cannot be expected that they will attending Mass in Kildare in the future.

Saturday 11 October 2008

Christus Vincit! Christus Regnat! Christus Imperiat!

Announcing the forthcoming issue of 'Christus Regnat', the journal of St. Conleth's Catholic Heritage Association. Articles will include:
  • Most Reverend Bishop Thomas Keogh, D.D.

  • The Origins of the Laudes Regiæ

  • Tranquillity and the Sacrifice of Calvary

  • Roman Conference Report
Potential contributors or subscribers can obtain further details from:

Thursday 9 October 2008

50th Anniversary of Pope Pius XII

On this day in 1958, His Holiness, Pope Pius XII died. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam uasail.

Sunday 5 October 2008

Bishop invites priests for Latin Mass

At the invitation of Bishop Moriarty and in response to Pope Benedict's Apostolic Letter Summorum Pontificum, priests from the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter will celebrate a Latin Mass for the faithful of the Diocese attached to the older ("extraordinary") form of the Roman Rite (liturgical books of 1962). This Mass will be celebrated on the 2nd Sunday of every month in Cill Mhuire Church, Newbridge, Co. Kildare, beginning on Sunday, 12th October, at 1.00 p.m.

From St. Conleth's Parish Newsletter for Sunday, 5th October, 2008.

Most Extraordinary!

Soli Deo Gloria!

Thursday 2 October 2008

St. Erk of Slane

St. Erk of Slane, Bishop
Friend of St. Brigid of Kildare, co-consecrator of St. Conleth, first Bishop of Kildare.

“St. Erk, ‘the sweet spoken judge’, was, in all probability, a native of Munster; and is said to have been page to King Laoghaire at the time he showed this respect to St. Patrick. [Lanigan, vol. 1, p. 346] He was consecrated some time before the year 465, and was the first bishop of the ancient diocese of Slane, and abbot of the monastery which was erected there by St. Patrick. He is said to have been the preceptor of St. Brendan, and was an intimate friend of St. Brigid. At the synod of Magh-Femyn, in Tipperary, it is related that Erk spoke highly of the great abbess of Kildare, and of the miraculous favours with which she was endowed by the Almighty. He assisted at the consecration of Conlaeth, first bishop of Kildare, and took an active part in all the ecclesiastical movements of the age… Colgan says that, in the old calendars, Ercus is treated of on 2nd of October and 2nd of November Probus, writing of him in the tenth century, says: “Hercus, filius Dego, cujus reliquae nunc venerantur in civitate, quae vocatur Slane.”

From: The Diocese of Meath, Ancient and Modern, by Rev. A. Cogan, C.C., Published in Dublin, 1862.

St. Erk of Slane, pray for us!

Saturday 27 September 2008

13th Annual Novena

“Each year, the Association shall keep a novena for the perpetuation of the Traditional Latin Liturgy from 29th September to 7th October.” From the Statutes of St. Conleth’s Catholic Heritage Association.

In 1996, in preparation for their first request to the Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin for the regular provision of the Traditional Latin Mass for the people of the Diocese, a novena of prayer and penitence was made. The letter was delivered to the Bishop’s House on the last day of the novena.

This year, the theme of the novena is: “What earlier generations held as sacred, remains sacred and great for us too, and it cannot be all of a sudden entirely forbidden or even considered harmful. It behooves all of us to preserve the riches which have developed in the Church’s faith and prayer, and to give them their proper place.” From the Holy Father’s letter to Bishops accompanying Summorum Pontificum.

You are invited to join by your prayers and penances in this novena for the perpetuation of the Traditional Latin Liturgy – particularly in the Diocese of Kildare and Leighlin.

Forgotten Saints

The Feast of the All the Saints of Ireland is celebrated on 6th November. Very many of the Saints of Ireland are still remembered by the people today but very many more are forgotten. This may be for two reasons, first, because of their multitude in number, since the celebration of the feast of each Saint of Ireland would surely deprive us of the opportunity to celebrate so many Saints on the Universal Calendar of the Church, and, secondly, because the brilliance of many outshines the luminous sanctity of so many more.

“Archbishop Usher, on the authority of some very old and authentic manuscript, which throws much light on our ancient ecclesiastical history, divides the saints who flourished in Ireland during the fifth, sixth, and seventh centuries into three classes.

Dr. Lanigan is of opinion that this catalogue was written before the year 715, the period at which the disputes about the tonsure and the Paschal cycle had concluded.

The first class consisted of one hundred and fifty bishops, who were all founders of churches and eminent for sanctity. Those bishops were Romans, Britons, Franks, and Scots (Irish)… This class was called most holy.

The second class commenced from the year 542, the latter end of the reign of Tuathal, and continued to AD 598 or 599. This class consisted of three hundred saints, few of whom were bishops, the greater part having been priests… This order was called very holy.

The third order of saints consisted or holy priests and a few bishops, in all one hundred in number, who dwelt in deserts, and lived on herbs, water, and alms… The first order (or class) most holy; the second very holy; the third holy. The first burns brightly like the sun, the second like the moon, and the third like the stars.”

From: The Diocese of Meath, Ancient and Modern, by Rev. A. Cogan, C.C., Published in Dublin, 1862.

However, these holy men and women should not be forgotten.

“…we are greatly helped not only by theological investigation but also by that great heritage which is the “lived theology” of the saints. The saints offer us precious insights which enable us to understand more easily the intuition of faith, thanks to the special enlightenment which some of them have received from the Holy Spirit…” John Paul II, Novo Millennio Ineunte, 27

“The saints are like beacons; they show men and women the possibilities open to human beings. They are therefore also culturally interesting, independently of the cultural, religious or investigatory approach to them.” Cardinal José Saraiva Martins, C.M.F., Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints

We hope to restore to memory some of the Saints associated with the Diocese of Kildare.

Saturday 13 September 2008

The Benedictine Nuns of the Abbey of St. Michael at Kergonan

You can see their video here.

Saturday 6 September 2008

Annual General Assembly

The Annual General Assembly of St. Conleth’s Catholic Heritage Association will be held next Friday, 12th September. For further details contact:

Saturday 23 August 2008

Feast of Saint Philip Benizi

Don’t forget!!!

Mass in St. Paul’s Church, Emo, Co. Laois, Ireland, at 11 a.m., on Saturday, 30th August. The Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin has granted the Plenary Indulgence of the Holy Year of St. Paul to all those who attend this Mass, under the usual conditions.

After Mass, we also hope to visit Emo Court, which is an estate across the road from St. Paul’s Church. The house was built in 1790 by James Gandon for the Earls of Portarlington. The house and grounds are now maintained by an agency of the Irish State, the Office of Public Works. Our visit coincided with ‘Heritage Week’, so please let us know if you are planning to attend, so that we can let the staff know in advance how large our group will be. E-mail:

Saturday 16 August 2008

Feast of Saint Joachim

A certain Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger celebrated the Traditional Latin Mass and ordained Priests for the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter some years ago. Where does a Cardinal go from there?

Monday 11 August 2008

Pauline Year

Saint Conleth’s Catholic Heritage Association invites you to honour the Holy Year of St. Paul by attending Holy Mass in the Traditional Latin Rite (Missal of Blessed John XXIII) on Saturday, 30th August, 2008, at 11 a.m., in St. Paul’s Church, Emo, Co. Laois, Ireland, followed by a tour of Emo Court House and Gardens. The Plenary Indulgence for the Holy Year of St. Paul has been granted, under the usual conditions, by the Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin, to all the faithful who attend this Mass.

For the past 15 years, St. Conleth’s Catholic Heritage Association has been working prayerfully for the provision of the Traditional Latin Liturgy in the Diocese of Kildare and Leighlin.

Saturday 19 July 2008

Report on the Walking Pilgrimage

On Saturday, 12th July, with the kind permission of the Parish Priest of Allen, 52 souls gathered in St. Brigid’s Church, Milltown, Co. Kildare, Ireland, for the celebration of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass by Revd. Fr. Desmond Flanagan, Ord. Carm., according to the Missal of Blessed John XXIII.

The Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin granted the Plenary Indulgence of the Holy Year of St. Paul to all those who attended the Mass, under the usual conditions.

The Church at Milltown has the rare distinction of having been built in 1817, before Catholic Emancipation, that is to say, it was built while Catholicism was still an illegal practice in Ireland.

It was in the same Parish that several of the Bishops of Kildare hid during the centuries of persecution known as the Penal times. Bishop James Doyle wrote of it on 6th of May, 1823: “I am here placed in the centre of an immense bog, which takes its name from a small hill under whose declivity the chapel and house are built, where I now write. What perhaps interests me most in the wide and vast expanse of the Bog of Allen is, that it afforded, for nearly two centuries, a place of refuge to the apostolic men who have gone before me in preaching the faith, and administering the sacraments to a people in every respect worthy of such pastors. The haunts and retreats frequented by the Bishops of Kildare in the times of persecution are still pointed out by aged inhabitants of these marshes with a sort of pride mingled with piety; and they say-‘There he administered Confirmation; here he held an assembly of the clergy; on that hill he ordained some young priests, whom he sent to France to Spain, to Italy; and we remember, or we heard, how he lived in yonder old walls in common with the young priests whom he prepared for the mission. He sometimes left us with a staff in his hand, and being absent months, we feared he would never return; but he always came back, until he closed his days amongst us. Oh! If you saw him; he was like St. Patrick himself.’ What think you, my dear friend, must be my reflections on hearing of the danger, and labours, and virtues of these good men, and what a reproach to my own sloth, and sensuality, and pride! They of whom the world was not worthy, and who went about in fens and morasses, in nakedness, and thirst, and hunger, and watching, and terror, will be witnesses against me for not using to the best advantage the blessings which their merits have obtained from God for their children. Their spirit, indeed, seems to dwell here, and in those remote and uncultivated districts there are found a purity and simplicity of morals truly surprising. From five to six o’ clock this morning the roads and fields were covered with poor people, young and old, healthy and infirm, hurrying to see the Bishop, and assist at his Mass, and hear his instructions. They thought he should be like those saints whom they had seen or heard of to have gone before him” (Quoted in Dr. Comerford’s history of the Dioceses of Kildare and Leighlin)

Surely, this Mass would not have been unfamiliar to our forefathers in the Faith.

A view from the pews.

Following Mass, 16 members and friends of St. Conleth’s Catholic Heritage Association participated in a walking pilgrimage for vocations, as part of their efforts to mark the Year of Vocations that has been proclaimed by the Archbishops and Bishops of Ireland, running from Vocations Sunday 2008 (13th April) to Vocations Sunday 2009 (3rd May).

Follow Peter! The pilgrims were led by a Papal Flag.

Pilgrims sang hymns and prayed the Holy Rosary and Litanies as they walked. The first stop was Fr. Moore’s Well. This Holy Well is near the site of the house of Fr. John Moore (1779-1826), who was Curate of the Parish of Allen and much reputed for sanctity of life and the power to heal, particularly to heal those afflicted with ailments of the head. His hat, which is now kept in Westmeath, is a precious relic of this saintly Priest, said to carry this healing power. Fr. Moore’s well is still a popular place of pilgrimage.

Pilgrims make the ‘rounds’ of the Well.
The site of the original Well is next to the pool used for prayer by pilgrims.
Votive offerings left at the shrine at the Well.

Leaving Fr. Moore’s Well, the pilgrims headed for the Curragh Plains. This is a glacial outwash plain of about 5,000 acres. The Curragh is steeped in history. In particular, it is associated with St. Brigid of Kildare, Secondary Patroness of Ireland, to whose Convent in Kildare the lands of the Curragh were attached by means of a miraculous bargain with the King of Leinster. Colgan tells us that St. Brigid was granted as much land as her mantle would cover in return for having cured the King of Leinster of a deformity. It is said that when her mantle was spread it covered the present Curragh.

In the 12th Century, Geraldus Cambrensis wrote: “There are also here the most delightful plains, which are called the pasturage of St Brigid, into which no one dares to enter a plough and of which it is estimated as a miracle that although the cattle of the whole province may have clipped the grass close to the ground in the evening it will appear the next morning as high as ever, and it has been said of these pastures: 'As much as the herds crop during the long day, so much does the cold dew restore during the short night'.”

The head of the pilgrimage reaches the Curragh.

Saturday 5 July 2008

Feast of Saint Anthony Mary Zaccaria


On Saturday, 12th July, St. Conleth’s Catholic Heritage Association is organising a Walking Pilgrimage for Vocations, commencing at 11 a.m. in St. Brigid’s Church, Milltown, County Kildare, Ireland, with the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass in the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite (Missal of Blessed John XXIII).

After Mass, the walkers will make their way via Fr. Moore’s Well, near the Curragh Plains, to St. Brigid’s Well, Kildare Town, Ireland, where the pilgrimage will conclude. This is a distance of about 6 miles.

You are welcome to attend all or any part of the day’s events. If you are planning to walk, please let the Vocations Promoter know at:

Pray for fine weather!

Saturday 21 June 2008

Feast of Saint Aloysius Gonzaga

Cardinal Castrillón-Hoyos celebrates the Traditional Latin Mass in Westminster Cathedral

During his visit to England, His Eminence, who is the President of the Vatican Commission entrusted with provisions for the Traditional Latin Liturgy, made a number of important pronouncements on the future of the Traditional Latin Liturgy, or the “Gregorian Rite” as he refers to it.

In his address to the Annual General Meeting of the Latin Mass Society, His Eminence said:

“…The Holy Father is aware that in different places around the world many requests from priests and lay faithful who desired to celebrate according to the ancient rites were often not acted upon. That is why he has now authoritatively established that to celebrate according to the more ancient form of the liturgy – the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass as well the sacraments and other liturgical rites – is a juridical right, and not just a privilege accorded to all.

Certainly this must be done in harmony with both ecclesiastical law and ecclesiastical superiors, but superiors also must recognise that these rights are now firmly established in the law of the Church by the Vicar of Christ himself. It is a treasure that belongs to the whole Catholic Church and which should be widely available to all of Christ’s faithful…”

The Daily Telegraph reports His Eminence replied to a question about the Traditional Latin Mass in ordinary Parishes saying: “Not many parishes – all parishes. The Holy Father is offering this not only for the few groups who demand it, but so that everybody knows this way of celebrating the Eucharist,” adding that “People don’t know about it, and therefore they don’t ask for it,” but saying that a stable group could consist of as few as three people, and they need not come from the same parish. Let us pray that His Eminence’s next tour date is Carlow Cathedral.

Pictures of His Eminence’s visit can be found here. His Eminence’s homily at that Mass can be found here [PDF].

God bless His Eminence, Cardinal Castrillón-Hoyos! God preserve our Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI!

Saturday 7 June 2008

Tradition on the March

On Saturday, 12th July, St. Conleth’s Catholic Heritage Association is organising a Walking Pilgrimage for Vocations. Commencing at 11 a.m. in St. Brigid’s Church, Milltown, County Kildare, Ireland, with the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass in the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite (Missal of Blessed John XXIII).

After Mass, the walkers will make their way via Fr. Moore’s Well, near the Curragh Plains, to St. Brigid’s Well, Kildare Town, Ireland, where the pilgrimage will conclude. This is a distance of about 6 miles.

You are welcome to attend all or any part of the day’s events. If you are planning to walk, please let the Vocations Promoter know at: catholicheritagegroup at

St. Conleth’s Catholic Heritage Association wishes to express thanks to Fr. Moore, the present Parish Priest of Allen and namesake of the Parish Priest of Allen for whom the Holy Well is named, for permission to have the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass in St. Brigid’s Church, Milltown.

St. Conleth’s Catholic Heritage Association also wishes to express thanks to Dr. Moriarty, Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin, for granting the Plenary Indulgence for the Pauline Holy Year, under the usual conditions, to those attending this Mass.