Sunday 27 December 2009

Majestic Irish Cathedral Destroyed by Fire

(image: RTÉ)

The north-central Irish Diocese of Ardagh and Clonmacnoise has suffered the tragic loss of its 150-year old cathedral yesterday morning in what may have been an act of arson. Just a few hours after the bishop celebrated Midnight Mass, the fire broke out. By the time it was extinguished the beautiful interior was completely gutted.

A video showing the destroyed cathedral can be seen here. The Bishop of Ardagh and Clonmacnoise, Dr Colm O'Reilly, has said he will restore St Mel's Cathedral in Longford , though it will cost over €2 million. Bishop O'Reilly said he celebrated midnight mass to a packed Cathedral. He said that it was an extraordinary contrast the next morning. Construction on St Mel's started in 1840 and it opened in September, 1856.

More on this story here.

Though details of any fundraising efforts have yet to emerge, the Diocese can be contacted as follows:-
The Diocese of Ardagh and Clonmacnois
Diocesan Office,
Ballinalee Road.
Co. Longford.
Phone: +353 (0)43-3346432
Fax: +353 (0)43-3346833
Email: ardaghdi at

The Cathedral itself is a Neo-Classical structure begun in 1840 by Bishop William O'Higgins. The inspiration for the design by Joseph B. Keane was said to be the Madeleine Church in Paris, the Pantheon and St. John Lateran - although he executed a similar design for St. Mary's in Clonmel.

The cathedral is cruciform consisting of a nave, two transcripts, two aisles and a spacious sanctuary. The nave contains 24 large columns local limestone and windows by the noted Harry Clarke. The original high altar was of French marble. The erection of this building cost £60,000 which was a vast sum to collect during a time of evictions, persecutions and famine.

The completion of St. Mel's was deferred for ten years due to the effects of the famine. The roof and tower were completed under Dr. Kilduff who succeeded Dr. O'Higgins in 1853. Bishop Kilduff blessed the Cathedral on 24th September, 1856.

Longford Cathedral 'Before'

Under Bishop Woodlock, most noted for his contribution to the cause of the Catholic University, further additions were made and the Solemn Consecration took place on the 19th May, 1893, the fifth-third anniversary of the laying of the foundation stone. The belfrey was completed in 1860 after a design of John Bourke. The portico in 1893 to the design of the great George Ashlin.

Longford Cathedral 'After'

An Taisce, the Irish Heritage Trust, described it thus: "……… St. Mel's Cathedral, begun to the design of Joseph Keane in 1840. While the portico lacks the sophistication of Keane's great Dominican Pope's Quay Church in Cork, the interior, by contrast, is now regarded as noblest of all Irish Classical church interiors. It is designed in the style of an early Christian basilica, with noble Grecian Ionic columns and a curved apse. It also shares the remarkable distinction of being the only major Catholic Church in Ireland to have actually been improved by internal reordering, when the fussy later altar was removed and replaced by a simple modem table altar, which accords harmoniously with the early Christian style of the interior. The tower and portico give a striking approach to the town from Dublin."

Longford Sanctuary 'Before'

In the 1970s, the noted Cathedral wreckovator, Cathal Cardinal Daly, to whose credit Belfast and some of Armagh Cathedrals' present state can also be put, was Bishop of Ardagh and Clonmacnoise. The high altar and stalls were removed, leaving the Sanctuary without any clear focus, the present altar being too small to make any visual impact. The insertion of a tapestry to add impact to the 'President's Chair' where the high altar and tabernacle once stood, is singularly ineffective.

Longford Sanctuary 'After'

The words of Desmond, Cardinal Connell, who was Archbishop of Dublin at the time, during an interview with The Sunday Business Post, published on 4th March, 2001, come to mind. "Asked whether he had any plans to build a cathedral in Dublin. (At present, the Anglican Church of Ireland has two cathedrals in the capital – Christ Church, the diocesan cathedral, and St Patrick's, the national cathedral. The Catholic Church has only a `pro-cathedral') reresponded: ‘None whatsoever. If I had the wealth of Croesus itself, I would not build a cathedral because liturgy and architecture at the moment are in such confusion that anything that would be built at this stage would be rejected in a very short time.’"

The restoration of St. Mel's is greatly to be hoped for, both a physical and a moral restoration, an Irish Church rising from the ashes.

Bishop Colm O'Reilly, one of only a handful of Irish Bishops to have celebrated the Traditional Latin Mass publicly in recent years, has promised that St. Mel's will be restored but Bishop O'Reilly is 75 on 11th January, 2010. By that time, there will be three vacant Sees in Ireland (six, depending on your point of view). The question is whether the restoration of Longford Cathedral will be in the hands of another 'Godfather of Irish Sanctuaries' or a Bishop after the Holy Father's own heart. Only time will tell. Qualis Pastor, talis Parochia.

St. Mel of Ardagh pray for us!

Saturday 26 December 2009

The Pope who finished the Council of Trent

On this day in 1559, Giovanni Angelo Medici was elected Pope, taking the name Pius, the fourth of that name. Among his many achievements can be numbered the final sessions (XVII-XXV) of the Council of Trent that took place from 1562 to 1563.

His other great achievement is the Profession of Faith of the Council of Trent or the Creed of Pope Pius IV, which, with the Apostles' Creed, the Nicene Creed and the Athanasian Creed, is one of the four Authorised Creeds of the Catholic Church.

It ends thus: "This true Catholic faith, outside of which no one can be saved, which I now freely profess and to which I truly adhere, I do so profess and swear to maintain inviolate and with firm constancy with the help of God until the last breath of life. And I shall strive, as far as possible, that this same faith shall be held, taught, and professed by all those over whom I have charge. I do so pledge, promise, and swear, so help me God and these Holy Gospels."

However, despite what we would consider to be towering achievements for the Catholic Faith, the gentleness of Pope Pius IV with which he treated the weak creatures who strayed from the path of the Faith, meant that his own orthodoxy was doubted by some in his own day. One fanatic, the wretched Benedetto Ascolti, even attempted to assassinate the Pope!

Of further interest is this venerable Pope's appointment to the post of Cardinal Nephew - by then the precursor of the Cardinal Secretary of State rather than the sinecure of a Pope's relation - his fellow Milanese, Saint Charles Borromeo. Pope Pius IV was succeeded by yet another Saint, Pope St. Pius V, after his death on 9th December, 1565.

All ye holy Pontiffs, pray for us!

Thursday 24 December 2009

Pope Benedict XVI Attacked

Reports (BBC and CNN) are coming through of an attack made upon the person of Our Most Holy Father the Pope as he entered St. Peter's Basilica this evening for Midnight Mass. Pope Benedict XVI appears to be unhurt and continued immediately with Mass. Roger, Cardinal Etchegaray was taken to hospital following the incident. A statement from the Holy See followed.

Dominus conservet eum,
et vivificet eum,
et beatum faciat eum in terra,
et non tradat eum in animam inimicorum eius. (Ps. xl:3)

Thanks be to God for Pope Benedict XVI!

Christmas Eve in Sweden

In Sweden we really start celebrating Christmas a long time in advance with the beginning of Advent and St. Lucy's Day which is taken very seriously here in Sweden. Here in Gothenburg the whole city is covered in lights from Liseberg Park to the Harbour. This year the really cold weather has helped to create the perfect atmosphere (especially if you are warm and indoors looking out the window!).

The Swedes, being a particurly difficult people, prefer to celebrate the birth of Christ on December 24th. (Same thing with Easter - we really are a tricky bunch!) Traditions differ between families, but for most people Christmas is one of those seasons when you enjoy spending time with your family. We decorate the Christmas tree together, cook, drink glögg (mulled wine) or julmust (very sweet like beer but with no alcohol) and eat far to many oranges, knäck (fudge), lussekatter (St. Lucy buns eaten right through Advent) and pepparkakor (little ginger bread men). Then, at precisely three o'clock Christmas starts for real - with Donald Duck on TV.

After about an hour of pretending not to laugh at the same silly things as the year before it's finally time to start eating. A traditional Swedish Christmas dinner or julbord is a huge meal with many differnet kinds of inlagd sill (pickled herring) and ägg (eggs - sometimes mixed together as gubbröra), rödbetor (beetroot), salad, prinskorv, fläskkorv and isterband (types of sausages), köttbullar (meatballs), rödkål, grönkål and brunkål (different kinds of cabbage - pickled and cooked), sweet bread, julost, bondost, herrgårdsost, prästost and getost (types of cheese), salmon, omelette, rökt ål (smoked eel), lutfisk, a special fish dish, paté and all sorts of pickles and condiments.

Recipes for the most important dish julskinka, the Christmas ham, are handed down through generations - they still all manage to taste exactly the same. The ham is enjoyed with mustard or apple sauce and is often accompanied by dopp i grytan, which means 'dip in the cauldron,' a slice of vörtlimpa (sweet bread) that's been dipped in the water in which the ham's been boiled.

Another Swedish Christmas tradition is the julbocken or Christmas goat. In the same way that the julbord is a reminder of pagan feasts the julbocken is pagan tradition based on the legend of the god Thor who used to ride in a chariot drawn by two goats, Tanngrisnir and Tanngnjóstr but the tradition has been Christianised into the devil who would appear to menace St. Nicholas in the medieval mystery plays. In past centuries people used to play pranks disguised as the julbocken in the same way as on the Dymmelonsdag ('clapper Wednesday'). This is very like the Julebukking of Norway.

In some places, the julbocken brings the presents to children instead of jultomten, the Swedish Santa Claus. Unfortunately, not in my city. I would have loved a Christmas goat to bring me presents! Some towns such as Gävle build huge straw goats for the celebrations. Small straw goats wrapped in red ribbon can also be bought as a Christmas decoration.

There is also a tradition of carol singing associated with the julbocken that is very similar to the Wren Boys of Ireland.

Sunday 20 December 2009

St. Peter's Basilica and the 1962 Missals

The Italian Latin Mass blog reports that a practical obstacle of no small moment has long been imposed upon Priests wishing to celebrate Mass using the Missal of 1962 in St. Peter's: the Sacristy of the Basilica did not preserve even a single Missal for the Extraordinary Form.

Every Parish Church and Chapel of Ease, not to say Cathedral, would have accumulated Missals over the centuries, but, suddenly, everything disappeared from St. Peter's. Who knows what happened: it seems that a liberating or renewing book-burning must have taken place in the immediate post-Conciliar period.

Father Stefano Carusi, a Priest of the Institute of the Good Shepherd (seen to the left above), has released the letter he sent to the Cardinal Archpriest, to lament the fact and point out how, in the words of those in the sacristy, it appeared clear that absence of missals was not accidental.

Now, we are pleased to make known that the Archpriest, who is also the Cardinal Vicar for the Vatican City State, Cardinal Comastri, has pledged to make available four copies of the 1962 Missal... and only a mere two years and three months after Summorum Pontificum came into force.

When asked to comment on the day following the celebration of Pontifical High Mass in the Blessed Sacrament Chapel of the Basilica on 18th October, 2009, by Archbishop Raymond Burke, Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura, His Eminence said: "The Mass represented an extraordinary event, an event authorized on the occasion of the conference." The Cardinal declined further comment, but another Vatican official said the Mass probably was the first pontifical high Mass using the 1962 Rite to be celebrated in St. Peter's Basilica in almost 40 years.

Venerable Pope Pius XII pray for us!

Saturday 19 December 2009

Venerable Pope Pius XII

Today, the 19th of December, 2009, the Holy Father, Benedict XVI, has received in private audience His Excellency, Archbishop Angelo Amato, Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints. In the course of that audience, the Holy Father has authorised the Congregation to promulgate the decree recognising the heroic virtue of Pope Pius XII and declaring him to be Venerable.

In the modern era, the process of Canonization, of which the decree of heroic virtue is the first step, was firmly established by the Decrees of Pope Urban VIII and Pope Clement XI. By a Bull of 5th July, 1634, Urban VIII definitively reserved to the Holy See the faculty of granting cultus to individuals and prohibited their veneration prior to the judgement of the Holy See.

It had previously been the practice, despite, it must be said, a Decree of Pope Alexander III in 1170, renewed by Pope Innocent III in 1210, for Bishops to render people Blessed at least to be honoured in their own Dioceses, although it was for the Pope to extend such devotion to the Universal Church, which is, to render them Saints in the technical sense. However, the Pope could also make localised Decrees in some cases. For example Blessed (now Saint) Rose of Lima, who Pope Clement declared to be patroness of Peru, and Pope Clement X declared to be patroness of South America, the Philippines and the East Indies, and also Blessed (now Saint) Stanislaus Kostka, who Pope Clement X declared patron of Poland and Lithuania.

Special mention must be made of the monograph of one Prospero Lambertini "the cleverst man in Christendom," once Promoter of the Faith, an official of the S. Congregation of Rites, who would later become Pope Benedict XIV. The monograph was entitled De Servorum Dei Beatificatione et Beatorum Canonizatione and for more than two centuries remained - and to an extent remains - the basic text on the subject. The two examples of Rose of Lima and Stanislaus Kostka are mentioned at lib. I, cap. xxxix of that monograph. Two early editions (1743 and 1749) are available at Google Books. (See if you can spot the reference to vampires when Lambertini discusses the post mortem state!)

The document relating new procedures introduced by Pope Benedict XVI gives a summary of the history of the procedures involved.

Venerable Pope Pius XII, pray for us!

Kilcrea Abbey

A little further from my home in Blarney away to the south west is Kilcrea Abbey. Kilcrea is certainly one the best preserved monastic ruins in County Cork. The story of the Abbey intertwines a number of themes that have appeared on this blog.

On the south bank of the River Bride, to the west of Ovens, Ballincollig and the City, lie the remains of Kilcrea Abbey. It is the most visible of all the monastic ruins in the County.

Ovens itself is the location of the Ovens Cave which contains a Mass Rock in a chamber about 100 yards from the entrance along a gallery that is only five or six feet high. Mass Rocks are found all over Ireland in secluded spots where Mass could be said by fugitive Priests away from the notice of the persecuting English who had outlawed the Mass and the Priesthood among the provisions of the Penal Laws. So there remains plenty of physical evidence of the cruel persecution and the stubborn fidelity of the Catholics in this area of Cork.

Kilcrea Abbey was founded in 1465 for the Franciscans by Cormac Láidir MacCarthy Mór, the chief of his name and Lord of Muskerry. He was later buried in the Abbey. A monument erected in his memory reads in Irish:

In ndílchuimhne ar
Chormac Láidir MacCárthaigh
Tiarna Mhúscraí
an té a bhunaigh an mhaiistir seo
d'Ord Phrionsais
agus a chuir faoi choimirce bhríde í
d'éag 1494
gura sona Dé a anam a dea-bheart
Coiste Cuimhneacháin 1965-1966

That translates as:

To the sweet memory of
Cormac the strong MacCarthy
Lord of Muskerry
who founded this Abbey
of the Order of Francis
and who placed it under the patronage of St. Brigid
in the year 1494
may God give his soul his good measure
Commemmoration Committee 1965-1966

The Abbey was dedicated to the patronage of St. Brigid of Kildare. Less than a century later, in 1542, the Irish Commissioners of Henry VIII set about the work of dissolving the religious houses of Ireland but it was not until 1577 that Cormac McTeige MacCarthy, of the family of the founder, received the lease of the property from the Commissioners. However, faithful to the wishes of his forebear, he did not expel the Franciscans in taking possession of their property. He died in 1584 and the convent was raided twice by the authorities between his death and the fall from favour of Sir Cormac Diarmuid MacCarthy, when the Abbey was confiscated again by the English Government in Ireland.

However, the Franciscans returned quietly at the beginning of the 17th century but in 1650 the troops of Cromwell occupied the buildings of the Abbey and the nearby Castle. From that point onwards, the Abbey fell gradually into ruin until it became a National Monument at the end of the 19th century although that did not mean it was a dead museum piece. The Franciscans continued to appoint Priors to Kilcrea well into the 19th century and the Abbey continues to be a burial ground for the local people to this day, like so many of the ruins that punctuate the landscape of Ireland, reminders of the glories of past glories and past persecutions.

As well as the founder and his decendants, the famous Bishop O'Herlihy of Ross was buried near the high Altar in 1579. Bishop O'Herlihy was one of the few Irish Bishops to attend the sessions of the Council of Trent but shared with many the distinction of imprisonment in the Tower of London where he was consigned by the infamous and bloody President of Munster, Perrot.

Another notable burial in Kilcrea is Art O'Laoghaire, a martyr of the Penal Laws. Returning from exile, where he had served the Empress of Austria with distinction, he was hunting one day when a local magistrate named Morris took advantage of one of the Penal Laws of William III that required Catholics to offer up their horse for sale if it be demanded by a Protestant.

O'Laoghaire would not offer up his horse and they quarrelled. The magistrates of the area met and declared O'Laoghaire an outlaw. He was shot dead at Carriganimna, close to Macroom, by a force of English soldiery.

His wife, Eibhlín Dubh, an aunt of the great Daniel O'Connell, composed the Toramh-Chaoineadh Airt Ui Laoghaire or Lament for Art O'Laoghaire. His epitaph reads:

"Lo Arthur Leary, generous,
Handsome, Brave, slain in
His bloom, Lies in this humble
Grave. Died May 4th.1773.
Aged 26 years."

"Having served the Empress Marie Therese as
Captain of Hungarian Hussars, he returned
home to be outlawed and treacherously shot
by order of the British Government, his sole
crime being that he refused to part with a
favourite horse for the sum of five pounds."

St. Brigid of Kildare, patroness of Kilcrea, pray for them!

Sunday 13 December 2009

Fifteenth Monthly Mass in the Diocese of Kildare and Leighlin

The fifteenth monthly Mass in the Diocese of Kildare and Leighlin took place this afternoon. Appropriately enough, there were 15 in the resignation, including a number of small children. This is the second highest attendance in the last six months.

Last year, in response to requests from members of St. Conleth's Catholic Heritage Association in SEVEN Parishes across the Diocese of Kildare and Leighlin for the provision of Mass celebrated according to 1962 Missal on Sundays and Holydays, Bishop James Moriarty, the Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin, provided ONE Mass each Month in ONE Parish.

Bishop Moriarty (b. 13th August, 1936) was ordained a Priest of the Archdiocese of Dublin on 21st May, 1961. On 26th June, 1991, he was appointed as an Auxiliary Bishop in the Archdiocese of Dublin and consecrated a Bishop by Desmond, Cardinal Connell, on 22nd September, 1991, with the title of Bishop of Bononia. On 4th June, 2004, Bishop Moriarty was appointed Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin. He was installed as Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin in Carlow Cathedral on 31st August, 2004. Bishop 'Jim's Christmas Letter for 2009 to the faithful of the Diocese of Kildare and Leighlin is entitled Message of Hope.

In his Message of Hope, Bishop Jim states: "Christmas 2009 comes to us in tough times. As this economic winter bites people are worried about money, jobs, the roof over their heads, and the future of their families." As a Diocesan effort at "reaching out," 45,000 fridge magnets will be distributed to the Churches in the Diocese during the course of Advent. In previous years, the Diocese distributed a similar number of Christmas decorations, representations of the crib, icons and candles (45,000 in 2003 and 45,000 in 2004) to the people of Kildare and Leighlin.

Last year, in response to requests from groups in SEVEN Parishes across the Diocese of Kildare and Leighlin for the provision of Mass celebrated according to 1962 Missal on Sundays and Holydays, Bishop James Moriarty, the Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin, provided ONE Mass each Month in ONE Parish.
[UPDATE: Bishop Moriarty offered his resignation to the Holy Father on Wednesday, 23rd December, 2009, saying: "However, with the benefit of hindsight, I accept that, from the time I became an Auxiliary Bishop, I should have challenged the prevailing culture... I will endeavour to continue to do my best, as I have throughout my 48 years of ministry, to share Christ’s light and hope for the world."]

St. Conleth of Kildare pray for us!

Saturday 12 December 2009

CHRISTVS REGNAT - December, 2009

Articles in the December, 2009, issue of CHRISTVS REGNAT include:
  • Introduction to the Report to the Holy Father on the Second Anniversary of Summorum Pontificum
    An outline of the contents and methodology of the report that the International Federation Una Voce presented to the Holy Father in October, 2009.
  • Report on the FIUV General Assembly XIX
    A personal recollection by one of the seven members of St. Conleth's Catholic Heritage Association who travelled to Rome in mid-November.
  • The Irish Liturgical Calendar
    Part one in this series covers the period 1835 to 1914. It traces the interaction of the Universal and the Irish calendars, as well as the fate of local feasts under the various reforms of the rubrics during that period.
  • Sir Francis Cruise, M.D.
    A biographical sketch of the Dubliner who was an acknowledged world expert on The Imitation of Christ and who also found time to contribute to civil society as President of the Royal College of Physicians in Ireland, Governor of the Royal Irish Academy of Music, Senator of both the University of Dublin and of the Royal University of Ireland, and who was rewarded by both the British Crown and Pope St. Pius X for his services.
  • Jansenism, the Liturgy and Ireland
    A Jesuit repost to the proposition that Irish liturgical practice reflects a Jansenistic spirit that infected the whole of Irish Church life three centuries ago.
  • The Instability of Heresy
    From the writings of Msgr. Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet, Bishop of Meaux.
  • Astronomical Allusions in the Book of Job
    A survey of the delicate task of translation and its impact upon the sense of Sacred Scripture, contrasting the Septuagint, Vulgate and Irish language texts. The author provides evidence from the internal astronomical references that places the authorship of the Book of Job several centuries earlier than the date that is commonly-held by modern scholars.
  • Report on Masses for the Holy Year For Priests
If you would like to subscribe to CHRISTVS REGNAT please e-mail us here.

Wednesday 9 December 2009

Archbishop Sheen in Dublin

Archbishop Fulton Sheen was born in El Paso IL on 8th May, 1895. He was ordained a Priest on 20th September, 1919. On 11th June, 1950, he was consecrated a Bishop in the Basilica of Ss. John and Paul in Rome. He was named as Bishop of Rochester NY on 26th October, 1969. He died on this day thirty years ago, 9th December, 1979.

These recordings of Archbishop Sheen speaking about St. Thérèse of Lisieux in the Carmelite Church, Whitefriar Street, Dublin, Ireland, in 1973, are introduced by the late Fr. J. Linus Ryan, O.Carm. Archbishop Sheen was a regular visitor to Whitefriar Street, particularly in 1969, 1971, 1973 and 1975. He was a firm friend of the Community there.

Tuesday 8 December 2009

Ireland and the Immaculate Conception

The feast of the Immaculate Conception of Mary, or Giniúint Mhuire gan Smál in the Irish Language, is one of the dearest feasts to Gaelic hearts.

Devotion to Mary's Immaculate Conception, although it is to be found in the earliest days of the Church, was not placed upon the Universal Calendar of the Church until 1708 by Pope Clement XI. Likewise, although the feast of the Immaculate Conception was being celebrated in Ireland long before 1708 (it is included in the calendar of the Martyrologium of Tallaght, c. 790, and the Féilre of St. Aengus, c. 800, and Synods in 1614, 1631 and 1685 declare it a holyday), we can trace the devotion in Ireland from before 1708, largely through the Franciscan Order and the friendship with Spain, whose Monarchs prided themselves upon their zeal for the Immaculate Conception.

The Irish Franciscan, Blessed John Duns Scotus, known as the Subtil Doctor (Doctor Subtilis), was the first to posit the solution to the great obstacle to the universal acceptance of the doctrine, namely, how could Mary be conceived free from all sin before the Redemption that her Son was to accomplish on Calvary had won the freedom of Mankind from sin.

Fr. Luke Wadding, O.F.M., had learned the pratice of devotion to the Immaculate Conception from his family. He had written a life of Blessed John Duns Scotus, the Vita Scoti. In 1618, King Phillip II of Spain appointed Fr. Wadding as theologian to the embassy that he sent to Rome to promote the definition of the Immaculate Conception as a Dogma of the Catholic Faith. Fr. Wadding was a mere thirty years old at the time.

Writing from Spain in 1625, Count Philip O’Sullivan Beare, nephew of the great O'Sullivan Beare, hero of Dunboy, makes reference to Ireland’s devotion to Mary and in particular to her Immaculate Conception. Likewise, the Irish College in Seville (founded in 1617) was dedicated to the Immaculate Conception.

Hugh MacCaghwell, O.F.M., Archbishop of Armagh (d. 1626), composed a tract and a litany honouring the Immaculate Conception. Several other Franciscans such as Florence Conry, Archbishop of Tuam, John Ponce or Punch (professor at St. Isadore's in Rome with Wadding), Anthony Hickey (pupil of the great Archbishop MacCaghwell and professor at St. Isadore's) and Bonaventure Baron (also of St. Isadore's) wrote tracts in Our Lady’s honour on the same theme.

The link between St. Isadore's and present-day Ireland is a direct one in that, when the Papal States were invaded in 1870, many precious manuscripts that had been lodged there, having been saved from destruction at the hands of the heretic invaders at home, were returned to Ireland, to the Franciscan Convent at Merchant's Quay, Dublin, where the Church known as 'Adam and Eve's' is more properly called the Church of the Immaculate Conception.

On the eve of the feast of the Immaculate Conception in 1650, the Catholic Confederation, sitting in the City of Kilkenny, and which then governed almost the entire Kingdom of Ireland solemnly consecrated the Kingdom to the Immaculate Conception of Mary in the following terms:

“By a unanimous vote of the Supreme Assembly it was decreed that the Virgin Mother of God, under her title of her Immaculate Conception, should be solemnly and publicly proclaimed Patroness of the Kingdom of Ireland, and that as a perpetual memorial to the happy event, the feast of the Immaculate Conception should be solemnly observed in Ireland from that day forward until the end of time.”

*The image of the Immaculate Conception in this post is by Giovanni Battista Tiepolo (1696-1770), dated 1767-69, housed in the del Prado Museum in Madrid.

Saturday 5 December 2009

Latin Mass in Every Parish

The Open Door is a Catholic Magazine that is distributed in Parishes across North Kildare. This week it carried this article:

* * *


Pope Benedict XVI would like every Catholic parish in the world to celebrate a regular Tridentine-rite Mass.

Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos told a press conference in London that the Vatican was writing to all seminaries to ask that candidates to the priesthood be trained to celebrate Mass according to the extraordinary form of the Latin rite, also known as the Tridentine Mass.

The Cardinal, who was visiting London at the invitation of the Latin Mass Society, a British Catholic group committed to promoting Mass in the Tridentine rite of the 1962Roman Missal, said it was "absolute ignorance" to think that the Pope was trying to reverse the reforms of the Second Vatican Council.

"The Holy Father, who is a theologian and who was involved in the preparation for the council, is acting exactly in the way of the council, offering with freedom the different kinds of celebration," he said.

Cardinal Castrillon said the Holy Father wants all parishes to celebrate Mass in the Latin rite. "All the parishes", he said, "not many, all parishes, because this is a gift of God. It is very important for new generations to know the past of the church," said Cardinal Castrillon, president of the Pontifical Commission "Ecclesia Dei," which works to help separated traditionalist Catholics return to the Church.

Pope Benedict XVI has issued a directive allowing all Catholic priests to celebrate the Latin Mass and uses the older ritual himself for private Masses, saying ‘it is a matter of a twofold use of one and the same rite.’

* * *

Inside the same issue they carried this announcement:

* * *


The Tridentine Mass will be celebrated in Celbridge parish church on the evening of Tuesday December 8th, feast of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, at 7.00pm.

This traditional form of the Mass, which will be remembered by older parishioners, is celebrated with the priest facing the altar and using the Latin form for all the liturgical prayers.

Holy Communion is received in a kneeling position and on the tongue. The rite of the Tridentine Mass does not incorporate any of the changes and additions made in the decades after Vatican Council II.

Our Holy Father Pope Benedict is urging all parishes worldwide to use the Latin rite of Mass alongside the Novus Ordo Mass which became the norm after Vatican Council ll. This Council did not ban the older traditional Mass rite, but allowed Mass to be said in the vernacular form of language; other changes were introduced into the Novus Ordo Mass since the council.

The rite of the Tridentine Mass does not offer the use of extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion, altar girls or lay readers.

* * *

This Mass is not being organised by St. Conleth's Catholic Heritage Association but we applaud the Parish of Celbridge and the Archdiocese of Dublin for their excellent work.
UPDATE: The Mass took place this evening with a congregation of 300+. The priest was Fr. James Larkin, P.P., who said that the decade in which the Church was built was a historic one in that the Stations of the Cross that were on the walls had been created in 1851, the Immaculate Conception had been proclaimed by Pope Pius the Ninth in 1854, Our Lady appeared in Lourdes and told St. Bernadette that she was "the Immaculate Conception" and in 1859, the Church in which they were attending Mass was opened with Mass in the Extraordinary Form of the Mass, the same form that they were celebrating the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass tonight. Well done Celbridge!

The Round Tower at Waterloo

To the north of Cork City, just a few miles north of Blarney, up the valley between the Boggera and the Nagle Mountains, the Martin River flows down towards the River Lee. Fr. Mat Horgan was Parish Priest of Blarney in the 19th century. He was a man of many talents and a great supporter of Irish Catholic heritage. The name of this great Corkonian deserves to be better remembered. He gave a lecture in 1839 which included his own translation into Irish of an ode by Horace.

He was a historian and the author of many learned articles but only one book on the Tithe War of 1834 when a Protestant Minister called Ryder called out the English soldiers to collect contributions to the Protestant Church that were imposed by law even upon Catholics. 12 died and many were wounded to satisfy his greed.

Fr. Mat was known locally as "the man who built the Round Towers". In fact, he built two, one at Waterloo and another at Whitechurch both in the north of County Cork. There was great controversy among the antiquarians of the time regarding the true origins of Round Towers that dot the landscape of Ireland. Fr. Mat proposed the solution that seems so obvious now that they were bell towers and places of storage and refuge. To demonstrate his theory, he built the two towers. He died in 1849 at the age of 46 and was buried beneath the tower at Waterloo.

Across the gap along the road to Mallow you reach the River Clyda above which sat Castle Barrett or Castlemore that was once the stronghold of the Templar Knights of Mourne Abbey, who arrived around the year 1200. The Boggeras have a desolate appearance above Mourne Abbey. No wonder that they are the home place of "the man from God knows where".

Into our townland on a night of snow,
Rode a man from God knows where;
None of us bade him stay or go,
Nor deemed him friend, nor damned him foe,
But we stabled his big roan mare;
For in our townland we're decent folk,
And if he didn't speak, why none of us spoke,
And we sat till the fire burned low.

The River Clyda will be well-loved of all Cork people in exile in Dublin because, as you sit on the train from Dublin, it and the Blackwater are the first signs of the land of streams that announce that you are home again in dear old Cork.

[UPDATE] Since I posted this another great Irish poem has been brought to my attention. I was sitting down watching Darby O'Gill and the Little People and enjoying the nonsense when my Grandma started reciting the correct form of the poem quoted by Sean Connery incorrectly in the film. Instantly I realised that it would go well with my post on the Round Towers and I asked her to write what she could remember of it:

By D.F. McCarthy

The pillar towers of Ireland, how wondrously they stand
By the lakes and rushing rivers through the valleys of our land;
In mystic file, through the isle, they lift their heads sublime,
These gray old pillar temples, these conquerors of time!

Beside these gray old pillars, how perishing and weak
The Roman's arch of triumph, and the temple of the Greek,
And the gold domes of Byzantium, and the pointed Gothic spires,
All are gone, one by one, but the temples of our sires!

The column, with its capital, is level with the dust,
And the proud halls of the mighty and the calm homes of the just;
For the proudest works of man, as certainly, but slower,
Pass like the grass at the sharp scythe of the mower!

But the grass grows again when in majesty and mirth,
On the wing of the spring, comes the Goddess of the Earth;
But for man in this world no springtide e'er returns
To the labours of his hands or the ashes of his urns!

Two favourites hath Time--the pyramids of Nile,
And the old mystic temples of our own dear isle;
As the breeze o'er the seas, where the halcyon has its nest,
Thus Time o'er Egypt's tombs and the temples of the West!

The names of their founders have vanished in the gloom,
Like the dry branch in the fire or the body in the tomb;
But to-day, in the ray, their shadows still they cast
These temples of forgotten gods--these relics of the past!

Around these walls have wandered the Briton and the Dane
The captives of Armorica, the cavaliers of Spain
Phoenician and Milesian, and the plundering Norman Peers
And the swordsmen of brave Brian, and the chiefs of later years!

How many different rites have these gray old temples known!
To the mind what dreams are written in these chronicles of stone!
What terror and what error, what gleams of love and truth,
Have flashed from these walls since the world was in its youth?

Here blazed the sacred fire, and, when the sun was gone,
As a star from afar to the traveller it shone;
And the warm blood of the victim have these gray old temples drunk,
And the death-song of the druid and the matin of the monk.

Here was placed the holy chalice that held the sacred wine,
And the gold cross from the altar, and the relics from the shrine,
And the mitre shining brighter with its diamonds than the East,
And the crosier of the pontiff and the vestments of the priest.

Where blazed the sacred fire, rung out the vesper bell,
Where the fugitive found shelter, became the hermit's cell;
And hope hung out its symbol to the innocent and good,
For the cross o'er the moss of the pointed summit stood.

There may it stand for ever, while that symbol doth impart
To the mind one glorious vision, or one proud throb to the heart;
While the breast needeth rest may these gray old temples last,
Bright prophets of the future, as preachers of the past!

Friday 4 December 2009

Archbishop Emeritus of Southwark

Father Finegan reports that the Holy See has just accepted the resignation of his Grace, the Archbishop of Southwark, in accordance with the provisions of Canon 401 § 2.

The Archdiocese of Southwark had, according to the Annuario Pontificio 2005, a Catholic population of 385,384 and a proportion of 980 Catholics per Priest. The Archdiocese also has Masses in the Gregorian Rite every Sunday in FIVE Churches: St. Bede's, Thornton Road (daily); St. Ethelbert, Ramsgate; St. Mary Magdalene, Wandsworth (and every Friday); Our Lady of the Rosary, Blackfen (and every Saturday); St. Thomas Aquinas, Ham.

The Archdiocese also has monthly Masses in the Gregorian Rite in FIVE Churches: St. Raphael's, Kingston (first Tuesdays); St. Francis, Maidstone (first Sunday); St. Simon, Ashford South (second, fourth and fifth Sundays); St. Mary, Chislehurst (every Friday and third Sunday); St. Andrew, Tenterden (third Sunday).

The Diocese of Kildare and Leighlin had, according to the Annuario Pontificio 2005, a Catholic population of 191,222 and a proportion of 1,217 Catholics per Priest. The Diocese has Masses in the Gregorian Rite every Sunday in NONE of its Churches.

The Diocese has monthly Masses in the Gregorian Rite in ONE Church: Cill Mhuire, Newbridge. Many Churches in the Diocese will not permit even a single Mass in the Gregorian Rite to take place.

Father Finegan asks for prayers for Archbishop McDonald. Let us pray for an Archbishop McDonald.

Thursday 3 December 2009

Procession for the Immaculate Conception

A Torchlight Procession in honour of Mary Immaculate to take place in Rome on 8th December, 2009, at 7 p.m., for the feast of the Immaculate Conception. The pilgrim statue of Our Lady of Fatima will be carried n the Torchlight Procession 'aux flambeaux,' through the Via del Corse, presided over by a Cardinal.

The procession will leave the Church of Gesù e Maria at 45, Via del Corso, (in front of San Giacomo) and will arrive at 8 p.m. at the Basilica of Santa Maria sopra Minerva for Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament.

Information can be obtained from Canonico Don Giuseppe Luzuy of the Institute of Christ the King, Sovereign Priest:

Tel./fax: 06 66 24 922
Cell: 335 345 163

Monday 30 November 2009

November - Month of the Holy Souls

On this last day of the Month of the Holy Souls in this Holy Year for Priests, let us remember to pray for deceased Popes, Cardinals, Bishops and Priests, especially those who have nobody to pray for them.

Sancte Pie Decime, Gloriose Patrone, ora pro nobis!

Sunday 29 November 2009

"Intruders and Desecrators"

This day in the Liturgical Calendar, the First Sunday of Advent, 1969, marked the coming into force of the Novus Ordo Missae. Pope Paul VI, in a General Audience on 26th November, 1969, spoke thus:

"We may notice that pious persons will be the ones most disturbed, because, having their respectable way of listening to Mass, they will feel distracted from their customary thoughts and forced to follow those of others...

"...Not Latin, but the spoken language, will be the main language of the Mass. To those who know the beauty, the power, the expressive sacrality of Latin, its replacement by the vulgar language is a great sacrifice: we lose the discourse of the Christian centuries, we become almost intruders and desecrators in the literary space of sacred expression, and we will thus lose a great portion of that stupendous and incomparable artistic and spiritual fact that is the Gregorian Chant. We will thus have, indeed, reason for being sad, and almost for feeling lost: with what will we replace this angelic language? It is a sacrifice of inestimable price."

* * *

The Sacred Constitution of the Second Vatican Council Sacrosanctum Concilium spoke thus:

"23. That sound tradition may be retained... there must be no innovations unless the good of the Church genuinely and certainly requires them; and care must be taken that any new forms adopted should in some way grow organically from forms already existing."

"36. 1. Particular law remaining in force, the use of the Latin language is to be preserved in the Latin rites... 2. But since the use of the mother tongue, whether in the Mass, the administration of the sacraments, or other parts of the liturgy, frequently may be of great advantage to the people, the limits of its employment may be extended..."

Saturday 28 November 2009

November - Month of the Holy Souls

From his Apostolic Constitution Indulgentiarum Doctrina of Pope Paul VI on the Doctrine of Indulgences, issued on 1st January, 1967:

1. The doctrine and practice of indulgences which have been in force for many centuries in the Catholic Church have a solid foundation in divine revelation1 which comes from the Apostles and "develops in the Church with the help of the Holy Spirit," while "as the centuries succeed one another the Church constantly moves forward toward the fullness of divine truth until the words of God reach their complete fulfillment in her."

For an exact understanding of this doctrine and of its beneficial use it is necessary, however, to remember truths which the entire Church illumined by the Word of God has always believed and which the bishops, the successors of the Apostles, and first and foremost among them the Roman Pontiffs, the successors of Peter, have taught by means of pastoral practice as well as doctrinal documents throughout the course of centuries to this day.

2. It is a divinely revealed truth that sins bring punishments inflicted by God's sanctity and justice. These must be expiated either on this earth through the sorrows, miseries and calamities of this life and above all through death, or else in the life beyond through fire and torments or "purifying" punishments. Therefore it has always been the conviction of the faithful that the paths of evil are fraught with many stumbling blocks and bring adversities, bitterness and harm to those who follow them.

These punishments are imposed by the just and merciful judgment of God for the purification of souls, the defense of the sanctity of the moral order and the restoration of the glory of God to its full majesty. Every sin in fact causes a perturbation in the universal order established by God in His ineffable wisdom and infinite charity, and the destruction of immense values with respect to the sinner himself and to the human community. Christians throughout history have always regarded sin not only as a transgression of divine law but also -- though not always in a direct and evident way - as contempt for or disregard of the friendship between God and man,6 just as they have regarded it as a real and unfathomable offense against God and indeed an ungrateful rejection of the love of God shown us through Jesus Christ, who called His disciples friends and not servants.

3. It is therefore necessary for the full remission and - as it is called - reparation of sins not only that friendship with God be reestablished by a sincere conversion of the mind and amends made for the offense against His wisdom and goodness, but also that all the personal as well as social values and those of the universal order itself, which have been diminished or destroyed by sin, be fully reintegrated whether through voluntary reparation which will involve punishment or through acceptance of the punishments established by the just and most holy wisdom of God, from which there will shine forth throughout the world the sanctity and the splendor of His glory. The very existence and the gravity of the punishment enable us to understand the foolishness and malice of sin and its harmful consequences.

That punishment or the vestiges of sin may remain to be expiated or cleansed and that they in fact frequently do even after the remission of guilt is clearly demonstrated by the doctrine on purgatory. In purgatory, in fact, the souls of those "who died in the charity of God and truly repentant, but before satisfying with worthy fruits of penance for sins committed and for omissions" are cleansed after death with purgatorial punishments. This is also clearly evidenced in the liturgical prayers with which the Christian community admitted to Holy Communion has addressed God since most ancient times: "that we, who are justly subjected to afflictions because of our sins, may be mercifully set free from them for the glory of thy name."

For all men who walk this earth daily commit at least venial sins; thus all need the mercy of God to be set free from the penal consequences of sin.

4. There reigns among men, by the hidden and benign mystery of the divine will, a supernatural solidarity whereby the sin of one harms the others just as the holiness of one also benefits the others.12 Thus the Christian faithful give each other mutual aid to attain their supernatural aim. A testimony of this solidarity is manifested in Adam himself, whose sin is passed on through propagation to all men. But of this supernatural solidarity the greatest and most perfect principle, foundation and example is Christ Himself to communion with Whom God has called us.

5. Indeed Christ "committed no sin," "suffered for us," "was wounded for our iniquities, bruised for our sins . . . by His bruises we are healed."

Following in the footsteps of Christ, the Christian faithful have always endeavored to help one another on the path leading to the heavenly Father through prayer, the exchange of spiritual goods and penitential expiation. The more they have been immersed in the fervor of charity, the more they have imitated Christ in His sufferings, carrying their crosses in expiation for their own sins and those of others, certain that they could help their brothers to obtain salvation from God the Father of mercies. This is the very ancient dogma of the Communion of the Saints, whereby the life of each individual son of God in Christ and through Christ is joined by a wonderful link to the life of all his other Christian brothers in the supernatural unity of the Mystical Body of Christ till, as it were, a single mystical person is formed.

Thus is explained the "treasury of the Church" which should certainly not be imagined as the sum total of material goods accumulated in the course of the centuries, but the infinite and inexhaustible value the expiation and the merits of Christ Our Lord have before God, offered as they were so that all of mankind could be set free from sin and attain communion with the Father. It is Christ the Redeemer Himself in whom the satisfactions and merits of His redemption exist and find their force. This treasury also includes the truly immense, unfathomable and ever pristine value before God of the prayers and good works of the Blessed Virgin Mary and all the saints, who following in the footsteps of Christ the Lord and by His grace have sanctified their lives and fulfilled the mission entrusted to them by the Father. Thus while attaining their own salvation, they have also cooperated in the salvation of their brothers in the unity of the Mystical Body.

"For all who are in Christ, having His spirit, form one Church and cleave together in Him" (Eph. 4:16). Therefore the union of the wayfarers with the brethren who have gone to sleep in the peace of Christ is not in the least weakened or interrupted, but on the contrary, according to the perpetual faith of the Church, is strengthened by a communication of spiritual goods. For by reason of the fact that those in heaven are more closely united with Christ, they establish the whole Church more firmly in holiness, lend nobility to the worship which the Church offers to God here on earth and in many ways contribute to building it up evermore (I Cor. 12: 12-27). For after they have been received into their heavenly home and are present to the Lord (11 Cor. 5:8), through Him and with Him and in Him they do not cease to intervene with the Father for us, showing forth the merits which they have won on earth through the one Mediator between God and man, Jesus Christ (I Tim. 2:5), by serving God in all things and filling up in their flesh those things which are lacking of the sufferings of Christ for His Body which is the Church (Col. 1:24). Thus by their brotherly interest our weakness is greatly strengthened.

For this reason there certainly exists between the faithful who have already reached their heavenly home, those who are expiating their sins in purgatory and those who are still pilgrims on earth a perennial link of charity and an abundant exchange of all the goods by which, with the expiation of all the sins of the entire Mystical Body, divine justice is placated. God's mercy is thus led to forgiveness, so that sincerely repentant sinners may participate as soon as possible in the full enjoyment of the benefits of the family of God.

6. The Church, aware of these truths ever since its origins, formulated and undertook various ways of applying the fruits of the Lord's redemption to the individual faithful and of leading them to cooperate in the salvation of their brothers, so that the entire body of the Church might be prepared in justice and sanctity for the complete realization of the kingdom of God, when He will be all things to all men.

Saturday 21 November 2009

November - Month of the Holy Souls

From Quod Anniversarius, the Encyclical Letter of Pope Leo XIII on his Sacerdotal Jubilee, issued on the 1st day of April, 1888:

"5. But by the help of God, in order that We may crown this joy, We desire to fulfil, as far as lays in Our power, Our apostolic duty of charity by extending the plenitude of Our infinite spiritual treasures to those beloved children of the Church who, having died the death of the just, have quitted this world of strife with the sign of faith, and are branches of the mystical vine, though they cannot enter into everlasting rest until they have paid the uttermost farthing which they owe to the avenging justice of God.

6. We are moved to this both by the pious desires of Catholics to whom We know that Our resolution will be especially grateful, and by the fearful tortures which the souls of the departed suffer, but We are also animated by the custom of the Church, which, amidst the most joyous solemnities of the year, fails not to make a holy and salutary commemoration of the dead that they may be delivered from their sins.

7. Therefore, since it is certain by the doctrine of the Catholic Church, that the souls detained in purgatory are benefited by the prayers of the faithful, and especially by the august Sacrifice of the Altar, We think we can give them no more useful and desirable pledge of Our love than by everywhere increasing the offering of the pure oblation of the Most Holy Sacrifice of Our Divine Mediator, for the extinction of their pain. We therefore decree, with all the necessary dispensations and indulgences, the last Sunday of next September as a day of ample expiation on which will be celebrated by Ourselves, and equally by each of Our brethren the Patriarchs, Archbishops, and Bishops, and also by other prelates exercising jurisdiction in a diocese, each in his own church, whether patriarchal, metropolitan, or cathedral, a special Mass for the Dead with the greatest solemnity possible, and according to the rite ordered in the Missal for the Commemoration of all Souls.

8. We desire also that this should take place in the same manner in all parish and collegiate churches, both of the secular and regular clergy, and by all priests generally, provided that they do not omit the proper office of the Mass for the day where it is obligatory.

9. As to the faithful, We strenuously exhort them after Sacramental confession devoutly to partake of the Bread of Angels for the benefit of the souls in purgatory. We grant by Our Apostolic authority a plenary indulgence to be gained by such of the faithful, applicable to the dead, and the favour of a privileged altar to all those who, as has been said before, say Mass.

10. Thus those pious souls who expiate the remainder of their sins amidst such tortures will receive a special and opportune consolation, thanks to the life giving Victim which the Universal Church united to her visible head, and animated with a like spirit of charity, will offer to God that He may admit them to the dwelling of His consolation, to light and eternal peace."

Monday 16 November 2009

FIUV General Assembly XIX

The Nineteenth Bi-Annual General Assembly of the International Una Voce Federation took place this weekend in Rome. Following Mass in St. Peter's Basilica, President of the Federation, Mr. Leo Darroch, and Secretary, Sig. Rodolfo Vargas Rubio, led the assembled delegates first in the Veni Creator Spiritus and then in the closed session on Saturday afternoon. Among the matters reported was the presentation of the Report of the progress of the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum during its first two years.

After Mass on Sunday in the Church of Ssma. Trinità dei Pellegrini the open forum began, including several interventions, including from representatives of the Franciscans of the Immaculate, Institute of the Good Shepherd, Institute of Christ the King, and Fraternity of Saint Peter.

Saturday 14 November 2009

Roman Pilgrimage Day 5

Starting the the day late today, with Mass at ten o'clock in St. Peter's. Planned to be at St. Joseph's, but moved at the last minute (or, to be honest, a bit later than that) to Pius X. Mass was celebrated with Una Voce - people from all over the world and after Mass started the Una Voce meeting that some of us were going to attend.

The rest of us spent some time getting souvenirs and posting cartolines before, when we were finally on our way back to the convent, we ran into a flock of migrating bishops and cardinals who were all very friendly and generous; blessed us all from top to toe, including rosary beads and crucifixes.

November - Month of the Holy Souls

From Quod Hoc Ineunte, the Encyclical Letter of Pope Leo XII proclaiming a Universal Jubilee issued on the 24th day of May, 1824:

"10. Venerable Brothers, Patriarchs, Primates, Archbishops, and Bishops: share in these cares and labors of Ours. Call an assembly, gather the people so that your sons may be eager to receive those gifts which God has entrusted to you for distribution to the chosen. Let them recall that the days of our sojourn here are brief, and We do not know at what hour the Father may come. We must therefore watch, carrying lighted lamps filled with the oil of charity, so that when He does come, We may run with eager love to meet him. You must also discuss carefully how much efficacy there is in indulgences; how great is the fruit of remission, not only of the canonical but also of the temporal punishment due for sins; and finally, how much aid from the treasure of merits from Christ and the saints may be applied to those who died truly penitent before they had made adequate satisfaction for their sins. Their souls must be purified in the fires of purgatory so that entry into the eternal fatherland may open to them. Be alert here, venerable brothers, for there are those who have followed a wisdom which is not from God. Clothed in sheep's clothing, and pretending for the most part a semblance of piety, they have spread falsehood among the people. Now teach the flock what they have to do, what works of piety and charity they must exercise, with what sorrow they are to weigh themselves and their lives. Teach them to eliminate and correct whatever may be defective in their habits, so that they may truly benefit from this holy indulgence."

Friday 13 November 2009

Roman Pilgrimage Day 4

The third day of our pilgrimage started with mass in St. Agatha of the Goths; my personal favourite of the roman churches, situated just up the road from the convent where we're staying.

We then took the 117 bus to the Piazza dell' Popolo and walked down to Babington's Tea Rooms in the Piazza de Spagna where we stopped for tea. As we made our way back on foot we stopped at San Andrea della fratte and John told us a little bit about he history of the church and how it served as the setting of the conversion of Alphonse Ratisbonne. We went from there to the Fontana di Trevi where it was time for me to make a third attempt at talking in front of Irish pilgrims.

After a lovely lunch we went to see the rooms of S. Luigi Gonzaga and S. Giovanni Berchmans in S. Ignazio then to the rooms of St. Ignazio himself in the Gesu and the day finished with the illumination of the statue of the saint that takes place in the Gesu every day at 17.30.

Roman Pilgrimage Day 3

This morning we had Mass in S. Dominico e Sisto celebrated by Canonico Luzuy of the ICRSP. We sang Mass IX and latin hymns; Veni Creator Spiritus, Jesu Dulcis Memoria, and Salve Regina.

After Mass we went to the general audience with il Papa - they had unfortunately not managed to get us anounced, but it was nice all the same. He talked about the importance of silence and the value of monks.

After lunch at Roberto's in the Borgo Pio we went for Gelati at the Old Bridge and then took the metro to Piazza della Republica and went from there to the Basilica of Mary and the Angels and Martyrs. We proceeded with a quick stop for coffee before exploring the Maria della Vittoria, where Donna O'Connor took the role of guide and gave an excellent presentation that attracted the attention of visitors outside our own little group.

After that we went to S. Susanna where we picked up the tickets for the general audience with the Pope the day before.

My own presentation of the Fontana dell'Acqua Felice was slightly ruined by the fact that it was covered with tarpaulins, being restored. The afternoon continued from there in the footsteps of Sixtus the Vth - whose sister donated a chapel to the church across the road - down the Quirinale with a quick visit to San Carlino and San Andrea dell' Quirinale, where we had Mass once during last year's pilgrimage above the body of S. Stanislaus.

Wednesday 11 November 2009

Roman Pilgrimage Day 2

The second day of our Roman pilgrimage was a lazy one. After 7 am Mass in S. Peter's we went to see S. John Lateran Basilica. Today is the anniverasry of the dedication of the Lateran Basilica.

Outside we saw the frescos in the loggia or two story porch that was built by order of Pope Sisto V.

Inside we entered by the transcept and were directly across from the Altar where Our Lord is kept. In the photo you can see the papal high altar to the left.

Tuesday 10 November 2009

Roman Pilgrimage Day 1

This morning at 7 o'clock we went to mass in St. Peter's Basilica. Mass was celebrated in the old rite at the altar of the transfiguration. There were several Masses going on at side altars all around the Basilica during that time. Many of them were in the old rite. It is really surprising how alive S. Peters Basilica is at that early hour.

After an hour on the train we met up with the pleasant and generous Margareta who took us in her car to see the house of the martyre Santa Maria Goretti. A girl of eleven years who was killed by a man she trusted because she resisted his attempts to rape her.

We came back to Rome just in time to make it to the Gèsu to see the wonderful ceremony of the illumination of the statue of Saint Ignatius. The whole ceremony has the effect of a sermon (in Italian, unfortunately for us) and as each part of the altar lights up some new medidtation is given.

At the end the painting of S. Ignatius is slowly lowered to reveal the statue that is behind it.

Sunday 8 November 2009

Fourteenth Monthly Mass in the Diocese of Kildare and Leighlin

The fourteenth monthly Mass took place this afternoon in the presence of a congregation of eight. The Mass did not take place in the Church as was usual but in the room behind the tabernacle where some of the congregation usually have tea after Mass. The reason for the change was a display in sand in front of the Altar.

St. Conleth of Kildare, pray for us!