Saturday 29 August 2009

Making the News (Part 2)

Having looked at the Pathé newsreels for the Bishops of Kildare and Leighlin, I can't leave the subject without drawing your attention to one of their contemporaries, a lesser-known Archbishop of Dublin, Dr. Edward J. Byrne, who also features frequently in the collection.

One of Archbishop Byrne's most notable distinctions was that he rose from being a Curate to being Archbishop of Dublin and Primate of Ireland in slightly over a year. He had been Vice President of the Irish College, Rome, from 1901 to 1904, when he returned to Ireland to become the Curate of the Pro-Cathedral Parish in Dublin. He remained there until 1920, when he was created Auxiliary Bishop of Dublin (and titular of Pegae, although the Archdiocesan website says Spigaz) and in the following August he succeeded Archbishop William J. Walsh as Archbishop.

Archbishop Byrne was ruled the Diocese of Dublin just as it became the Capital of the new State. The pastoral opportunities were now the greater. Archbishop Byrne was instrumental in efforts to end and to mitigate the disastrous Civil War. He is shown at the Catholic Truth Society conference in 1926.

He witnessed the expansion of the City of Dublin. The newsreels show him blessing five new Churches: the Church of St. MacCullin in Lusk in 1922 (other film here); the Church of St. Brigid in Killester in 1925 (other film here); the Church of St. Vincent de Paul in Marino in 1926 (other film here), by which time his left had has begun to tremble visibly*; the Garrison Church in Arbor Hill in 1927; and at Crooksling Sanitorium (now St. Brigid's Hospital) in 1928.

Also in 1928, he is shown meeting pioneering pilots. The pilots in question, Captain James Fitzmaurice, Captain Hermann Köhl and Baron Ehrenfried von Hünefeld, had just made the first transatlantic aircraft flight from East to West.

In 1929, Archbishop Byrne hosted the celebrations for the centenary of Catholic Emancipation. In 1932, he was responsible for the preparations for the Eucharistic Congress.

His later years were marked by illness - Parkinson's Disease* - and withdrawal from most public appearances. One exception was the Requiem Mass for Pope Pius XI in 1939. As is only fitting, his funeral in 1940 is also covered in the newsreels.

Thursday 27 August 2009

Saint Auxilius of Ireland

Saint Patrick came twice into Kildare. The first occasion was about the year 448. He came south from Meath, passing through Straffan and Clane to Naas. In Naas, he baptised the local Chieftans, Ailill and Illan, sons of Dunling, and Ailill's two daughters, Mogain and Fedelma. The people of the area having converted to the Faith, St. Patrick appointed his nephew, St. Auxilius, as bishop there with his seat at Kilossy, now Kilashee or the Church of Auxilius, a few miles south of Naas.

Continuing his journey to the south, St. Patrick also placed St. Iserninus and Mac Tail as bishops at Old Kilcullen, in the present-day Archdiocese of Dublin. From there he carried on south, founding a Church at Narraghmore and, crossing the River Barrow near Athy, continued his journey as far as Stradbally, in County Laois and the historic Diocese of Leighlin, and then re-crossed the Barrow to the south and west of Rathangan, coming back into the County and Diocese of Kildare, and passing to the North of Newbridge, where a Holy Well is dedicated to him at Barrettstown, he continued to Allen and Kilcock, carrying on north, towards the seat of the High Kings at Tara in Meath.

Thus, although St. Auxilius is not the founder of the Diocese of Kildare - that honour goes to Saint Conleth - he must rank as the first Saint of Kildare.

Rev. Thomas Walsh, in his History of the Irish Hierarchy, states that:

"It is related that Auxilius, Iserninus, and others, received holy orders on the same day that St. Patrick was consecrated - and from the same bishop; these persons are spoken of as his companions on the mission of Ireland. Whether they accompanied him from Rome, or whether they were selected in Gaul, is not easily determined."

"From this district Saint Patrick went to Kildare, where he laid the foundation of several churches, arranged the boundaries of ecclesiastical jurisdiction, and left the bishop, Auxilius, at Killossy, and the prelate, Iserninus, at Kilcullen. These transactions are supposed to have taken place about the end of the year 443."

"At this period, our Saint held two synods, in which salutary laws relating to morals and discipline were enacted. The first of these synods is entitled 'The Synod of St. Patrick;' the second bears the title of the Synod of Bishops, of Patrick, Auxilius, and Iserninus."

"In the 24th and 27th canons of the Synod, called that of St. Patrick, Auxilius, and Iserninus, it is ordered that no stranger do baptize, or offer the holy mysteries without the permission of the bishop."

"Killossy, called after St. Auxilius, a nephew of St. Patrick, and son of Restitutus, the Lombard, was bishop here, and assisted St. Patrick in compiling the ordinances by which the Irish church was to be guided. St. Auxilius died on the 27th of August, 455."

The Book of Obits of Christ Church gives the date of his death as: xiv Kal. Nov. S. Auxilius, episcopus et confessor. While he does not appear in the Martyrology of Tallaght, his death is found in the Annals of Ulster for 459 and in the Annals of the Four Masters for the year 454:

"S. Usaille Espucc a Chill Usaille hi Life xxvii August.
Aois Chiost, ceithre céd caocca asé. A hocht fichet do Laoghaire Enda, mac Cathbhadha, décc.

This translates into English as:

"St. Usaille, Bishop of Cill Usaille, in Liffe, on the twenty-seventh of August.
The Age of Christ, 456. The twenty-eight year of Laoghaire. Enda, son of Cathbhadh, died.

To put this into context, at the time that St. Auxilius died at Kilashee, about the year 450, both St. Conleth and St. Brigid were born, St. Patrick would live about another ten years, St. Peter Chrysologus had just died (31st July, 450), Laoghaire II Mac Néill (d. 462) was still High King of Ireland, Valentinian III was Emperor in Constantinople (r. 425-454), and St. Leo the Great was Pope (r. 440-461).

Saturday 22 August 2009

Ecclesia Dei Institutes

A browse around the website of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, now under the aegis of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, can be interesting, especially if you can decypher Italian. For example, here is the list of Institutes currently under the authority of the Pontifical Commission, with the dates of the Canonical Erection as Institutes of Pontifical Right. That is to say, these are the major groups in the Church today using the Traditional Gregorian Rite Liturgy.


che sono sotto l’autorità della Pontificia Commissione “Ecclesia Dei” con data della erezione canonica di diritto pontificio.


1. Canonici Regolari della Madre di Dio

-Abbaye Sainte-Marie de Lagrasse ( Chanoines ) 18.05.1997

-Monastère “Mater Dei” (Chanoinesses) 18.12.2000
F – 11700 AZILLE

2. Monaci Benedettini

1. Abbaye Sainte-Madeleine ( Moines ) 26.10.1989

Prieuré dépendant:

-Monastère Notre-Dame de la Garde

2. Abbaye Notre-Dame de l’Annonciation ( Moniales ) 28.10.1989
La Font de Pertus
F – 84330 LE BARROUX

3. Monastero dell’ Oasis ( Religiose di clausura ) 29.06.2007
Oasis di Gesù Sacerdote
E – 08310 ARGENTONA (Barcelona)

( Totale monasteri: 6.)

B. CONGREGAZIONI ( religiosi e religiose con voti )

1. Fraternité Saint-Vincent Ferrier ( di spiritualità domenicana) 28.10.1988
Couvent Saint-Thomas d’Aquin
F – 54340 CHEMERE-LE-Roi

2. Dominicaines du Saint-Esprit 22.01.1990
Couvent Notre-Dame de la Joie
F – 53340 PONTCALEC en Berne
sei case religiose con scuole.

2. Servi Jesu et Mariae 16.07.1994
Kloster Auhof

3. Famiglia religiosa dei Missionari della Santa Croce 29.06.1991

- Mothers of the Holy Cross.
Catholic Mission Puma
SINGIDA ( Tanzania )
cinque case: 4 in Tanzania, una in Brasile, una a Monaco di Baviera

- Missionari della Santa Croce
Gehandu ( Tanzania ),
una seconda casa a Anapolis in Brasile

5. Institut Sainte Croix de Riaumont.
F – 62800 LIEVAIN
( Totale Congregazioni : 6 )

C. ISTITUTI DI VITA APOSTOLICA ( membri senza voti )

1. Fraternità Sacerdotale San Pietro 18.10.1988
Casa generalizia : CH - 1700 FRIBOURG

2. Institut Sankt Philipp Neri 26.05.2004
D – 13355 BERLIN

3. Institut du Bon Pasteur 08.09.2006
F – 33000 BORDEAUX

4. Istituto Cristo Re Sommo Sacerdote 07.10.2008
Santa Maria di Gricigliano
I – 50069 SIECI ( Firenze )

(Istituti di Vita Apostolica: 4)

For the sake of clarity, the Abbey of Mariawald wouldn't depend directly upon the Pontifical Commission but forms part of the Order of Cisercians of the Strict Observance. The Pontifical Commission website includes the text of the 'reconciliation' of the Transalpine Redemptorists or Sons of the Most Holy Redeemer but they don't appear to depend directly upon the Pontifical Commission either.

Also, the most significant body of Gregorian Rite Priests, the Apostolic Administration of Saint John Vianney, is not mentioned in this list because, rather than being a Congregation of Pontifical Rite, it is a special kind of structure that is equivalent to a non-territorial Diocese.

Am I the only person who is wondering who the Mothers of the Holy Cross are?

Saturday 15 August 2009

The Great Feast Day of Our Lady in Autumn

Today is known in the Irish Language as Lá Fhéile Mór Naomh Muire san Fhómhar, which is to day, the Great Feast Day of Our Lady in Autumn (or perhaps in Harvest Time).

During the long centuries of persecution, it was necessary for Irishmen to flee from their own country to preserve their Faith and their Culture, a Catholic Gaelic Heritage that was so intimately interwoven that the loss of Christian Gaelic Culture, they felt, would represent the loss of one of the Providential gifts to mankind and to the Church.

They fled abroad to Colleges such as Louvain and Rome, which still maintain links with Ireland to this day. The character of these clerics was not uniform, of course. Many became infected with Jansenism. Discipline was a problem, especially given that one custom was for persecuted Bishops in Ireland to ordain men before sending them to the Continental Seminaries, so that they could support themselves by means of Mass stipends.

One Priest who sought to root out this practice was Fr. Andrew Dunlevy (1680-1746) of the Collège des Lombards, Paris. In 1742, he published An Teagasg Críosduidhe do reir ceasada agus freagartha (The Cathecism or Christian Doctrine by way of question and answer) in order to supply the dire wants of the faithful back in Ireland, who were deprived of Priests, Sacraments, Catholic education and any form of Church organisation under the bitter persecution of English Heretics.

An appendix contained "‘an abridgement of the Christian doctrine in rhymed Irish, composed upwards of an Age ago by the zealous and learned F. Bonaventure Ó hEoghusa of the Order of S. Francis; and also with the elements of the Irish language, in favour of such as would fain learn to read it; and thereby be useful to their Neighbour."

The author mourns that Irish is "on the Brink of Utter Decay, to the great dishonour and shame of the Natives, who shall always pass every where for Irishmen, Although Irishmen without Irish is an incongruity, and a great bull. Besides, the Irish Language is undeniably a very ancient Mother-Language, and one of the smoothest in Europe, no way abounding in monosyllables, nor clogged with rugged consonants ... And there is still extant a great number of old valuable Irish manuscripts, both in publick and private hands, which would, if translated and published, give great light into antiquities of the Country, and furnish some able pen with materials enough, to write a compleat history of the Kingdom; What a discredit then must it be to the whole Nation, to let such a Language go to wrack ..."

In one section of Fr.
Ó hEoghusa's rhymed
catechism, on the subject
of Faith by Scripture alone,
we read:

Bheith d’ go Mhuire riamh ‘na hóigh,
Baisdeach leanbh gur chóir do grés,
Bheith ar an nDomhnach don Cháisg –
San scrioptúir, fós, cáit ‘nar légh?

This translates as:

That Mary was always a virgin;
That a child should always be baptised;
That Easter falls always on a Sunday,
Where did you read this in Scripture?

May the Gaels of today be worthy of their ancestors and their magnificent Gaelic and Catholic Heritage!

*The painting in this post is the Assumption, c. 1655, by Matteo Cerezo (1635-1685) that is today housed in the del Prado in Madrid, where a good deal of his work is to be found.

Thursday 13 August 2009

Happy Birthday, Bishop Jim!

Today is the birthday of the Most Reverend Dr. James Moriarty, Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin. St. Conleth's Catholic Heritage Association joins with all his subjects in wishing him a very happy and blessed birthday.

Ad multos annos!

Sunday 9 August 2009

Eleventh Monthly Mass in the Diocese of Kildare and Leighlin

This afternoon a congregation of 16 attended the eleventh monthly Mass. In a remarkable turn-around, this is the first time that there has been an increase in attendance over two consecutive months.

This brings the average monthly attendance down to 21 but, on the positive side, it is the first time that the trend has had to be adjusted upwards.

Saturday 8 August 2009

Making the News

The Pathé newsreels, short movies shown before the main feature in cinemas, are an excellent source of social history. Three Bishops of Kildare and Leighlin from the early twentieth century made the news.

The first is Bishop Patrick Foley. A native of the Diocese, he was appointed Coadjutor Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin (and titular Bishop of Amyclae) at the relatively young age of 38 in 1895. He became Ordinary only a year later on the death of Bishop Lynch. Bishop Foley was to occupy the See of Kildare and Leighlin for thirty years, through the struggle for Home Rule, the First World War, the War of Independence and the Civil War. The image above, a still from the newsreel report of the sod-turning ceremony of the Carlow Sugar Factory in 1926.

The second is Bishop Matthew Cullen, also a native of the Diocese. He became bishop in 1927, following the untimely death of Bishop Foley a year earlier. Although his episcopate was relatively short, not quite nine years in fact, he made an outstanding contribution to the Country through his support for Gaelic athletics and language, and also to the Church through his support for the newly founded Saint Patrick's Missionary Society with its headquarters in his own native Parish at Kiltegan. The still above is taken from the newsreel report of the blessing the foundation of the new buildings at Clongowes Wood College in 1929.

The third is Bishop Thomas Keogh, another native of the Diocese, who became Bishop in 1936 in succession to Bishop Cullen. He remained as Bishop until 1967, when he became the first Irish Bishop to resign in accordance with the novel rules that had been established by Pope Paul VI's Motu Proprio Ecclesiae Sanctae in August, 1966. (Please note: sometimes Motu Proprios are taken seriously!)

Bishop Keogh can be seen in the newsreel report of the opening of the Portarlington Power Station in 1950. The newsreel report from which the stills image above is taken is a report of the centenary celebrations of the Dominican College, Newbridge, in 1952. Bishop Keogh is seen standing to the camera's right of Archbishop O'Hara who was then Papal Nuncio to Ireland. After his retirement Bishop Keogh was created titular Bishop of Turris Tamalleni and lived a further two years. The fortieth anniversary of his death (and the centenary of his ordination) were marked by St. Conleth's Catholic Heritage Association with a Requiem Mass in his native Parish.

Annual General Assembly 2009

"A statutory General Assembly of all the members of the Association shall be held every year about the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross." Article 10, Statutes of St. Conleth's Catholic Heritage Association

The Annual General Assembly of St. Conleth's Catholic Heritage Association will take place on Friday, 4th September, 2009, at 7.30 p.m. in St. Anne's Parish Centre, Station Road, Newbridge, Co. Kildare.

The guest speaker this year will be noted local historian, Mr. Mario Corrigan, who has kindly agreed to speak about the Abbeys of Kildare (illustrated above).

The Annual General Assembly will be preceeded by the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass in the Gregorian Rite celebrated at 6 p.m. in Cill Mhuire, Ballymany, Newbridge, Co. Kildare.

Wednesday 5 August 2009

St. Manman of Clonaslee

The village of Clonaslee, nestled in the Slieve Bloom Mountains of County Laois, was the site of two seventh century monasteries founded by St. Manman. One was Carrigeen, meaning hermitage of the rocks, and the second, almost two miles north of the village, is Kilmanman, meaning the Church of Manman.

Carrigeen, also know as Lanchoil or Lahoil, is said to have been the hermitage of the Saint. Kilmanman was the larger of the two foundations and is the site of considerable remains of a later fifteenth century Church. Nearby, there is a Holy Well called St. Manman's Well.

Information upon the life of St. Manman is so scarce that even Dr. Comerford in his Collections relating to the Dioceses of Kildare and Leighlin, Vol. 3, 1886, gives the mere fact of his existence and passes on to later times for which more material was available. Likewise, Canon O'Hanlon's History of Queen's County gives but passing information.

His name, at least in the form in which it is known today, does not appear on any of the ancient Irish Calendars but local tradition establishes his pattern day as 5th August. However, that his name survives and that his memory holds the respect that it does is a lesson to us to remember, however dimly, our holy Fathers in the Faith.

St. Manman of Clonaslee, pray for us!

Saturday 1 August 2009

Forthcoming Masses (September & October)

St. Conleth's Catholic Heritage Association is organising two Masses in the Kildare area in the near future. Both Masses will be offered for Priests.

The first is in Cill Mhuire, Ballymany, Newbridge, Co. Kildare, on Friday, 4th September, at 6 p.m.

The second is in the Church of the Assumption and St. Patrick, Rathangan, Co. Kildare, on Saturday, 31st October, at 2 p.m.

The Portrayal of Priests - Part III

As the Boys' Town series ended, another pair of films portraying Priests was released, namely Going My Way (1944) and The Bells of Saint Mary's (1945). In both, the character of Fr. 'Chuck' O'Malley, the somewhat too up-to-date troubleshooter for a Parish in trouble, is played by Bing Crosby. The role came in the middle of the 'Road Movies', a series of comedic films in which he starred. The contrast is distinct and uncomfortable. On the other hand, Crosby was the biggest box office draw during these years and his portrayal of a Priest, while less than dogmatic, can only be regarded as sympathetic.

His relationship with Fr. Fitzgibbon (Barry Fitzgerald) must be one of the most human and generous portrayals of the Priesthood in film. In the clip above, Fr. O'Malley sings the ill and elderly Fr. Fitzgibbon to sleep.

A third Priest, the avuncular Fr. O'Dowd played by Frank McHugh (who played the same character again in 1952 in another Leo McCarey production My Son John), is a classmate of Fr. O'Malley. The pair are engaged in a 'generation gap' plotline in contrast to Fr. Fitzgibbon, although the youngsters are shown taking matters of religion quite as seriously. Golf, of which Crosby was famously fond, is the first testing ground - nothing but a poolroom moved outdoors as Fr. Fitzgibbon has it. Nevertheless, the fraternal charity of brother Priests wins out in the end.

Even the question of Priestly celibacy is dealt with in the film. Genevieve Linden, a star of the Metropolitan Opera in New York (played by Risë Stevens, who was actually a star of the Met and whose famous 'Carmen' is reprised on screen), whose career has interrupted a romance between her and Chuck O'Malley (before he entered the Seminary, mind you), meets O'Malley again without realising that he is a Priest. However, once she realised that he is a Priest she never drops the title 'Father' when addressing him.

In the end, Fr. Fitzgibbon settles the matter: "We're separated by many years, Fr. O'Malley, which may be the reason we haven't seen eye-to-eye in many instances, but 'though we've had many differences, we never differed in fundamentals. 'twas only in method... but never in our hearts." That it might ever be so.

In the second film, Fr. O'Malley crosses wits with another set-in-their ways individual. This time Sr. M. Benedict, played by Ingrid Bergman, who would go on the play St. Joan of Arc a few years later. The dramatic structure is essentially the same - conflict, crisis, resolution.

To traditionalist eyes looking in hindsight, the portrayal of Priests in these films seems to be very close to modernist vs. traditionalist, with the modernist having all the best songs - and the writer on his side. Viewed in that light, they are offensive to pious eyes. However, viewed with a certain artistic license and with a suspension of dis-disbelief, they portray the Priest as a human with sympathy and as a Priest of God with due respect.

The Priest in these films is always put into context. His relationships with layfolk, with brother Priests, with women, and even with himself and with God are balanced, articulated and decent. These relationships are not always easy but are always portrayed in a proper and reverent way.