Friday 31 December 2010

Father Prout

Today is the birthday of Francis Sylvester Mahony known as 'Father Prout'. With a nom de blog like mine, the thought came to me that I ought to make some tribute to the author of The Bells of Shandon. As it turned out, his story brings side-lights into many of the stories that I have already published.

The Catholic Encyclopedia gives a good biography upon which the authors of wikipedia have been unable to improve and which the Diocese of Cork and Ross has adopted in its entirity. The most notable points are that having studied with the Jesuits in Clongowes Wood, he spent a few years as a novice with them and became a teacher of rhetoric at his own school, the great Canon Sheehan being one of his pupils, but he was dismissed for leading some of the students on a drunken outing to Celbridge. He studied in a variety of Continental Seminaries and was ordained at Lucca in Italy in 1832, against all advice. He returned to his native Diocese, where he served as a zealous and hardworking hospital chaplain during a cholera epidemic, where he won the life-long friendship and admiration of Father Mathew, the Capuchin Temperance campaigner. Among the ecclesiastical misadventures of 'Father Prout' was to be the attempt to have Father Mathew made Bishop of Cork!

The misadventure that led to Father Mahony's leaving the Diocese - and the active Priesthood - was his campaign to be given the living of 'the brickfield chapel,' that was to become St. Patrick's Church on the Lower Glanmire Road, then a chapel-of-ease to the Cathedral Parish. Father Mahony had been the principal fundraiser for the building of the new Church, which, I think you'll agree, is a fine building, and a magnificent achievement that was virtually the first new Church built in the City in two generations. The disappointment of Father Mahony, who had proved himself apostolic and capable, was understandable, especially when met with the immovable object of Bishop Murphy (r. 1815 - 1847).

He moved to London and held his own amid the literary greats of the time, although his name is now 'writ in water.' We read in The Catholic Encyclopedia: "Dowered with a retentive memory, irrepressible humor, large powers of expression, and a strongly satiric turn of mind, an omnivorous reader, well-trained in the Latin classics, thoroughly at home in the French and Italian languages, and a ready writer of rhythmic verse in English, Latin, and French, he produced... an extraordinary mixture of erudition, fancy, and wit, such as is practically without precise parallel in contemporary literature. The best of his work appeared in "Fraser's Magazine" during the first three years of his literary life. He translated largely from Horace, and the poets of France and Italy, including a complete and free metrical rendering of Gresset's famous mocking poem "Vert-Vert" and Jerome Vida's "Silkworm". But his newspaper correspondence from Rome and Paris is notable chiefly for the vigours of his criticisms upon men and measures, expressed, as these were, in most caustic language."

The Catholic Encyclopedia is not noted for its forgiving tone towards renegades but it expresses itself generously towards Mahony: "Although for thirty years Mahony did not exercise his priestly duties, he never wavered in his deep loyalty to the church, recited his Office daily, and received the last sacraments at the hands of his old friend, Abbé Rogerson, who left abundant testimony of his excellent dispositions."

His roguish humour caused him to adopt the name of a certain Father Prout of Watergrasshill as his nom de plume.

The original Father Prout had been forced from his Diocese (Cashel) on account of a wrangle with Archbishop Butler over his refusal to agree to the amalgamation of his Parish, which he described as "the greatest injustice since the partition of Poland." Fortunately, he was welcomed into the neighbouring Diocese of Cork by Dr. Moylan.

Mahony's fictional Father Prout seems no less sanguine, although he claimed to be a French-educated parish priest, the son of Dean Swift and Stella, who writes works such as The Apology for Lent in scholarly praise of fish!

When he died on 18th May, 1866, as we have read, fortified by the rites of Holy Mother Church, his body was taken back to Cork for a Solemn Requiem Mass in St. Patrick's Church "the church which", in the words of his biographers, "was the dream of his impetuous youth," as his biography says, from where he was taken to his family vault in St. Ann's Churchyard, Shandon, to be buried in the shadow of the bells he immortalized.

The Reliques of Father Prout, is perhaps his most famous work and it is in that collection that his true claim to fame, The Bells of Shandon, is to be found as part of The Rogueries of Tom Moore.

In my opinion, it is the true anthem of Cork, although the words of The Banks and Beautiful City were handed out to every school child in the city by the Lord Mayor last year! The Bells has none of those shameless hussies pressing wild daisies and Beautiful City lifts "the sweet bells of Shandon were dear to my mind." I may stand on a Shandon Belle ticket in the next mayoral election!

The clip consists of that fine ecumenical anthem Iníon an Phailitínigh (a Kerry song, mind you) and a verse of The Bells sung by Seán Ó Sé, whose own voice is another contender to be the true anthem of Cork!


With deep affection
And recollection
I often think of
Those Shandon bells,
Whose sounds so wild would,
In the days of childhood,
Fling round my cradle
Their magic spells.
On this I ponder
Where'er I wander,
And thus grow fonder,
Sweet Cork, of thee ;
With thy bells of Shandon,
That sound so grand on
The pleasant waters
Of the river Lee.

I've heard bells chiming
Full many a clime in,
Tolling sublime in
Cathedral shrine,
While at a glibe rate
Brass tongues would vibrate —
But all their music
Spoke naught like thine ;
For memory dwelling
On each proud swelling
Of thy belfry knelling
Its bold notes free,
Made the bells of Shandon
Sound far more grand on
The pleasant waters
Of the river Lee.

I've heard bells tolling
Old "Adrian's Mole" in,
Their thunder rolling
From the Vatican,
And cymbals glorious
Swinging uproarious
In the gorgeous turrets
Of Notre Dame ;
But thy sounds were sweeter
Than the dome of Peter
Flings o'er the Tiber,
Pealing solemnly ; —
O! the bells of Shandon
Sound far more grand on
The pleasant waters
Of the river Lee.

There 's a bell in Moscow,
While on tower and kiosk o !
In Saint Sophia
The Turkman gets,
And loud in air
Calls men to prayer
From the tapering summit
Of tall minarets.
Such empty phantom
I freely grant them ;
But there is an anthem
More dear to me, —
'Tis the bells of Shandon
That sound so grand on
The pleasant waters
Of the river Lee.

Tuesday 28 December 2010

The Massacre of the Innocents in Irish Sources

The Martyrology of Oengus devotes its entire entry for December 28 to the commemoration of The Massacre of the Innocents by King Herod:

28. Famous is their eternal acclamation,
beyond every loveable band,
which the little children from Bethlehem
sing above to their Father.

to which the scholiast has added a commentary:

28. Famous the lasting acclamation, i.e. famous and lasting is the shout of the children who were killed in Bethlehem by Herod pro Christo.
a loveable band, i.e. they are a dear band propter innocentiam.
who sing above to their Father, i.e. canunt laudes, etc.
A hundred and forty - bright fulfilment - and two thousands of children
were slain in Bethlehem with victory by the ruler, by Herod.
Thirty plains famous, pleasant, all about Bethlehem ;
in every plain were slain a hundred of the pleasant children of the nobles ;
a hundred and forty - sad the doom ! - in Bethlehem alone.

The Massacre of the Innocents is also commemorated in other Irish sources, appearing, for example, in the poems of Blathmac. He records in the first of his poems translated by James Carney:

20. In seeking Christ (pitiful this!) the infants of Bethlehem were slain. It was by Herod (bloodier than any prince!) that they were put to the blue sword.

21. Happy the good gentle infants! They have happiness in an eternal kingdom: Herod, miserable creature, has eternal sorrow and eternal Hell.

James Carney, ed. and trans., The poems of Blathmac, son of Cú Brettan: Together with the Irish Gospel of Thomas and a poem on the Virgin Mary (Dublin, 1964), 9.

Below is the text of another poem, found in the Leabhar Breac, which reflects the raw pain of the bereaved mothers and the sheer horror of the deed:

The Mothers’ Lament at the Slaughter of the Innocents

Then, as she plucked her son from her
breast for the executioner, one of the women said:
‘Why do you tear from me my darling son,
The fruit of my womb?
It was I who bore him, he drank my breast.
My womb carried him about, he sucked my vitals.
He filled my heart:
He was my life, ’tis death to have him taken from me.
My strength has ebbed,
My voice is stopped,
My eyes are blinded.’
Then another woman said:
‘It is my son you take from me.
I did not do the evil,
But kill me — me: don’t kill my son!
My breasts are sapless, my eyes are wet,
My hands shake,
My poor body totters.
My husband has no son,
And I no strength;
My life is worth — death.
Oh, my one son, my God!
His foster-father has lost his hire.
My birthless sicknesses with no requital until Doom.
My breasts are silent,
My heart is wrung.’
Then said another woman:
‘Ye are seeking to kill one; ye are killing many.
Infants ye slay, fathers ye wound; you kill the mothers.
Hell with your deed is full, heaven shut.
Ye have spilt the blood of guiltless innocents.’
And yet another woman said:
‘O Christ, come to me!
With my son take my soul quickly:
O Great Mary, Mother of the Son of God,
What shall I do without my son?
For Thy Son, my spirit and my sense are killed.
I am become a crazy woman for my son.
After the piteous slaughter
My heart’s a clot of blood
From this day
Till Doom comes.’

‘Anecdota from Irish MSS’ (III), ed. Kuno Meyer, The Gaelic Journal 4, no. 38 (May 1891), 90.

A powerful lament, indeed. I close by noting that the Feast of the Holy Innocents is commemorated on the Eastern Orthodox calendar on December 29, one day after the Irish and other Western calendars.

This post originally appeared here.

Monday 27 December 2010

Saint John the Beloved Disciple and the Early Irish Church

The Martyrology of Oengus devotes its entire entry for December 27 to two of the apostles - Saint John and Saint James. It reads:
D. vi. cal. lanuarii.

27. The sound sleep of John in Ephesus
splendid the bordgal (?)
-with the ordination of James his brother, who is highest.

The scholiast adds:
27. a splendid bordgal, i.e. John's valour (gal) was in Ephesus a splendid valour, i.e. a valour that went out over the border (bord) quasi dixisset Ephesus was full de operibus eius. his brother is highest, i.e. the greater is sollemnitas etc.

I haven't read any specialist commentary on this entry but would imagine that this word bordgal was an archaism which the later scholiast did not himself understand and sought to explain. There is a body of material concerning the beloved disciple preserved in the Irish sources. In an earlier post on the Irish tradition of the Antichrist, I had mentioned an Apocalypse of Saint John as one of the sources for this. In the article by Father Martin McNamara that I looked at then, he mentions that the Liber Flavus Fergusiorum preserves a composite Irish text containing episodes from the Beatha Eoin Bruinne, the Life of John the Beloved Disciple (literally John of the Breast), plus fragments of what seems to be an Apocalypse of John. Saint John received this epithet because he reclined on the the breast of Jesus at the Last Supper (Jn. 13:25). This composite text was translated from Latin into Irish by an Augustinian friar, Uighisdin Mac Raighin, who died in 1405. It has been translated into English in a volume of texts edited by Father McNamara and Dr. Maire Herbert and so below are some extracts from the Apocalyspe and Death of John to mark the feast of the repose of the Beloved Disciple, still commemorated on December 27 in the West, although the Eastern Orthodox celebrate this feast on September 26:

10. Thereafter John said to his disciples: "go and make a burial-place for me in front of the altar. Cast out the earth far away from it, and make it very deep". This was done, and he himself went into it and lay readily down on the ground, and stretched up his two hands towards the Creator, saying:

11. "I thank you, O Creator,
Christ, the mighty Lord,
great Heavenly Father,
gentle soft-spokem brother,
excellent noble teacher,
who gently and lovingly
calls me to your banquet,
who well understands
that I desire to go
to be with you in your kingdom.
You perceive, O divine kinsman,
how my heart has loved
your truth and your word,
loved to contemplate
and look on you totally,
I give you thanks."

15. Now I entrust and hand over your people believing in Christ, who have obtained wisdom, true knowledge and sagacity, and have been blessed and baptized. Take me to you, as you promised me in the company of my brethren, Paul, Peter, Matthew, and Thomas, and the other apostles, so that I may partake of the great feast which you have created from the beginning, and which has no end. Open the divine gates and beautifully-draped windows, and the path which is undarkened by the devil, without opposition, without hostile onset. Send your splendid angelic messenger to cherish and protect [me], for you are the almighty Christ, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, who lives and flourishes for all eternity". And all the people answered: "Amen".

16. Then a great brightness came upon the people for the space of one hour of the day. Such was the extent of the illumination that it could not be looked on. Everyone threw themselves on the ground. Then there came to them a beautiful fragrance, and perfume of angelic incense.

17. Thereafter they raised their heads, and looked at the burial-place. They found nothing there in place of the valiant priest, the eloquent judge, the devout helper, the wise preacher, the splendid confessor, the merciful dispenser of forgiveness, red-cheeked and blue-eyed, namely, John, the beloved apostle.. And thus John parted from the final things of this world.

18. The suffering and afflicted of the nearby district gathered to that place, and they were cured of all their ills.

19. As for the body of John, it is in a beautiful golden tomb, and at the end of each year, the best youth, who is without defilement or sin, is chosen, and he goes to cut John's hair and pare his nails, and when he has completed that task, he partakes of the body and sacrifice of Christ, and he himself ascends to heaven on that day.

Thus John's body remains without putrefaction or corruption. Indeed, it is as if he were in a deep sleep, and it will be thus until Doomsday.

Maire Herbert and M. McNamara, trans., Irish Biblical Apocrypha: Selected Texts in Translation (Edinburgh, 1989), 96-98.

This post originally appeared here.

Sunday 26 December 2010

St. Pius X - Part VI

On this day one hundred years ago, Pope St. Pius X issued his Encyclical Letter Ex Quo on the return of the Eastern Schismatics to the Catholic Church.

Sancte Pie Decime, Gloriosae Patrone ora pro nobis!

Saturday 25 December 2010

Friday 24 December 2010

A Thought For The Day by Pope Benedict XVI

This morning Pope Benedict XVI broadcast 'Thought for the Day,' a regular two-minute-forty-second pious meditation during the morning news programme 'Today' on BBC Radio 4, which airs every weekday morning.

The BBC website gives the text of the broadcast:

"Recalling with great fondness my four-day visit to the United Kingdom last September, I am glad to have the opportunity to greet you once again, and indeed to greet listeners everywhere as we prepare to celebrate the birth of Christ.

Our thoughts turn back to a moment in history when God's chosen people, the children of Israel, were living in intense expectation.

They were waiting for the Messiah that God had promised to send and they pictured him as a great leader who would rescue them from foreign domination and restore their freedom.

God is always faithful to his promises, but he often surprises us in the way he fulfils them.

The child that was born in Bethlehem did indeed bring liberation, but not only for the people of that time and place - he was to be the Saviour of all people throughout the world and throughout history.

And it was not a political liberation that he brought, achieved through military means; rather, Christ destroyed death forever and restored life by means of his shameful death on the Cross.

And while he was born in poverty and obscurity, far from the centres of earthly power, he was none other than the Son of God.

Out of love for us, he took upon himself our human condition, our fragility, our vulnerability and he opened up for us the path that leads to the fullness of life to a share in the life of God himself.

As we ponder this great mystery in our hearts this Christmas, let us give thanks to God for his goodness to us and let us joyfully proclaim to those around us the good news that God offers us freedom from whatever weighs us down: he gives us hope, he brings us life.

Dear Friends from Scotland, England, Wales and indeed every part of the English-speaking world. I want you to know that I keep all of you very much in my prayers this Holy Season.

I pray for your families, for your children, for those who are sick and for those who are going through any form of hardship at this time.

I pray especially for the elderly and for those who are approaching the end of their days.

I ask Christ, the light of the nations, to dispel whatever darkness there may be in your lives and to grant to every one of you the grace of a peaceful and joyful Christmas.

May God bless all of you!"

Sunday 19 December 2010

Saturday 18 December 2010

CHRISTVS REGNAT - Short Story Special Issue

This special short story issue of the journal of St. Conleth's Catholic Heritage Association is now available here. Past issues are also available for download here.

Included in this issue are the following short stories:

  • Letter from the Pontiff A Short Story by Revd. Deacon Raymond Tucker Cordani
  • The Trail Before Cell Phones A Short Story by Kathleen Culligan Techler
  • The Liturgiologist and the Antiquary An ecclesiastical tale by Ritualist
  • The Guild A Tale of Old Dublin by Des Hannon

    Revd. Mr. Cordani was born in Torrington, Connecticut and earned a Bachelor of Arts in American Literature with a minor in Creative Writing and Theater from the University of New Hampshire 1995. In 2002, he earned a Master of Fine Arts in Writing from the Vermont College of Fine Arts. He had been a working journalist since 1993, having written for the Associate Press, Catholic News Service, Columbia Magazine, Our Sunday Visitor, and the National Catholic Register. Between 2002 and 2007 he taught English at the University of Central Florida in Orlando.

    In 2007, he entered Blessed John National Seminary near Boston, the result of a long discernment to priesthood. He is sponsored by the Diocese of Springfield, Massachusetts, and, God willing, was ordained to the diaconate on Saturday, 27th November, 2010. Currently he ministers in a parish called Immaculate Conception, “a hardscrabble assignment in the Puerto Rican and Dominican barrios in Western Massachusetts.” His Sacerdotal Ordination is scheduled for Saturday, 4th June, 2011. He adds that writing while in the seminary has been difficult, more than a labor of love but a “dual vocation,” as Merton said of his own vocation to writing and service of God in the Church.

    Kathleen Culligan Techler decided decided in second grade to become a writer, although she was to became a physical therapist, wife, mother of five, and grandmother of nine, before actually writing her first book. For Shalom, Mary: Letters the Blessed Virgin Mary might have written, (2001) thoughts came to her in church during a Christmas sermon and wouldn't leave her alone until she wrote the book. The ideas for Barriers (2001) and The Secret of Pirate Key (2004) came from the barrier island off the coast of Florida where she and her husband have a vacation house. Her time as a "skating mother" sitting in a cavernous old auditorium gave her plenty of ideas for Summer Ice (2006). She has also written in Holiday Hearts a collection Christmas Short Stories for her regular publisher Diskus Publishing. When she is not writing or reading she delivers Meals on Wheels, knits hats for newborns, and tutors second graders in reading.
  • Thursday 16 December 2010

    St. Pius X - Part V

    On this day one hundred years ago, the S. Cong. of the Holy Office authorised the use of Scapular Medals in place of Scapulars.

    Sancte Pie Decime, Gloriose Patrone, ora pro nobis!

    Saturday 11 December 2010

    Our Catholic Heritage - Kildare and Leighlin (Part 2)

    The sanctuaries of Kildare and Leighlin have hit the headlines in recent years - and for all the wrong reasons. As Clare V. Johnson writes in Ars Liturgiae: "Since the Second Vatican Council, no building in Ireland has caused such public controversy as the proposed renovation of the Cathedral of the Assumption at Carlow." He goes on to remark: "Unfortunately the tabernacle is located directly behind the main altar; it is placed in the old main altar, which is embedded in a new reredos construction of stone and located in front of the east window."

    The remark beginning: "Unfortunately..." gives a hint of the ground over which the controversy was fought, even in the Irish High and Supreme Courts. On behalf of the Diocese, it was pleaded that the concept of the sanctuary was no longer relevant since Vatican II. Thus it is that, in the three decades before it, the Diocese witnessed an avalanche of wood and stone as sanctuaries were "reordered in keeping with the requirements of the New Liturgy" or "the requirements of Vatican II".

    Carlow Cathedral c. 1900

    Carlow Cathedral c. 1956

    In the course of an High Court action regarding the reordering of Carlow Cathedral, the Judge asked the Bishop to produce a letter received from a certain Cardinal Ratzinger. The letter of 12th June, 1996, reads as follows:

    "Thank you for your letter of April 18th in which you ask for a clarification of certain observations attributed to me by Mr. Michael Davies in a letter recently published by a local newspaper in your diocese. The context of those comments was a discussion of the Church's liturgical legislation in the period after the Second Vatican Council. I could not but acknowledge that in this legislation there exists no mandate, in the primary sense of the term as a command or order, to move the tabernacle from the high altar to another position in the church."

    "With respect to the placement of the tabernacle, the instruction Inter oecumenici (26.9.1964) par 95, which implemented the decisions of Sacrosanctum concilium, states quite clearly that the Blessed Sacrament be reserved on the high altar, a possibility envisaged also by Eucharisticum mysterium (25.5.67) par 54."

    "The fact that the postconciliar legislation of the Church does not impose architectural changes, while at the same time not excluding them, provides the diocesan bishop with the necessary latitude for making decisions in the light of the pastoral needs of his particular Church, taking into account also the situation in neighbouring diocese. It is certainly true that a great number of churches since the Second Vatican Council have been re-arranged; such changes, while inspired by the liturgical reform, cannot however be said to be have been required by the legislation of the Church. In conclusion, it is the right and duty of the local bishop to decide on these questions and, having done so, to help the faithful come to an understanding of the reasons for his decision. Trusting that this explanation proves helpful to you in your particular circumstances and with an assurance of kind regards. I remain sincerely yours in Christ."

    "Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger."

    Carlow Cathedral c. 2009

    The three images images above give some idea of the changes that have taken place in the arrangement of Carlow Cathedral over the past century. It is interesting to note the change from wooden to marble Altar and the change of stencil-decoration between 1900 and 1956. The contrast between both and the sanctuary of today is that which interests. The precise liturgical significance of trellis, which is also found in the Cathedral of Cork, is lost upon me.

    It's our Catholic heritage and we want it back, please!

    Wednesday 8 December 2010

    The Immaculate Conception I - Cum Praeexcelsa

    I thought I might start a small intermittent series on the Immaculate Conception, and hopefully maybe on the Masses and Offices connected with it.

    Cum praeexcelsa was one of the first bulls that gave rise to an intermittent controversy. On one side were the Franciscan who supported the doctrine of the Imaculate Conception, and on the other the Dominicans who were opposed. The bull was issued at a time when plague was ravaging the country.When we investigate with the scrutiny of devout consideration the exalted insignia of the merits with which the queen of the heavens, the glorious virgin mother of God, advanced to the ethereal dwellings, shining amid the constellations as the morning star, and revolve beneath the secrets of our breast, that she herself, as the path of mercy, the mother of grace, and the friend of piety, the consoler of the human race, the sedulous and vigilant advocate on behalf of the salvation of the faithful, who are oppressed by the load of their offences, intercedes with the King whom she has brought forth:

    We consider it meet, nay, rather due, to invite by indulgences and the remissions of sins, that they may thereby become more fitted for divine grace, by the merits and intercession of the same Virgin, all the faithful in Christ to return thanks and praises for the wonderful conception of the immaculate Virgin to Almighty God (where Providence regarding from eternity the humility of the same Virgin, for the reconciling to its author human nature, which, by the fall of the first man, became subject unto eternal death, by the preparation of the Holy Ghost, constituted her as the habitation of his Only Begotten, from whom he should take on him the flesh of our mortality for the redemption of his people, and she should remain, nevertheless, an immaculate virgin after the birth), and offer up Masses and other Divine Offices instituted for that purpose in the church of God, and be present at them.

    Induced, therefore, by this consideration, confiding in the authority of the same Almighty God, and in that of his blessed apostles Peter and Paul, by the apostolic authority, which is to be in force for ever, by this constitution, we decree and ordain, that all and every one of the faithful of Christ, of both sexes, who shall devoutly celebrate and offer up on the day of the festival of the Conception of the same Virgin Mary, and during its octave, the mass and office of the Conception of the same glorious Virgin, according to the pious, devout, and praise-worthy ordinance of our beloved son Leonardi de Nogarole, clerk of Verona, our notary, and the institution of such Mass and Office which emanated down from us, or shall be present thereat in the canonical hours ;

    As often as they shall do so, they are to obtain the same precise indulgence and remission of sins, which, according to the constitutions of Urban IV., of happy memory, approved at the Council of Vienna, and of Martin V., and of other Roman pontiffs, our predecessors, those are entitled to, who celebrate and offer up the Mass in canonical hours at the festival of the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ from the first evening and during its octave, according to the constitution of the Roman Church, or who are present at the mass, at the office, and at such hours ; these presents to be in force for all time.

    Given at Rome, at Saint Peter's, in the year of the incarnation of our Lord 1476, third of the calends of March, in the sixth year of our pontificate.

    First Published in December, 2008.

    Saturday 4 December 2010

    CHRISTVS REGNAT - December, 2010

    The December, 2010, issue of the twice-yearly journal of St. Conleth's Catholic Heritage Association is now available. You can subscribe to CHRISTVS REGNAT here. Past issues are also available for download here.

    The following articles are found in the Fourth Volume, Number One, for the feast of the Immaculate Conception, 2010:

  • Opening Comments from the Report of the International Federation Una Voce
    The introduction to the third annual FIUV Report to the Holy See on the implementation of Summorum Pontificum across the Church.
  • The Sarum Use
    The first part of a detailled examination of the origins, sources, structure and features of the former Rite of Mass particular to England by an eminent Anglican scholar.
  • The Eminent Dignity of the Poor By Msgr. Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
    An extract from the famous sermon by the greatest of pulpit orators.
  • The Real Saint Patrick
    Scholarly insights into the personality of the Apostle of the Irish as revealed by his mission and his writings.
  • An Interview with Prof. Duncan Stroik
    The theories of an outstanding Catholic architect and academic on the interaction between Faith and Architecture in the Church today.
  • A Sermon for the Feast of the Immaculate Conception
    The meaning of the Immaculate Conception considered in light of ancient and modern revolts against God and the interventions of Our Blessed Lady into history.
  • The Architects of Kildare and Leighlin
    The first part of a detailed survey of the physical Catholic heritage of the Diocese, which is closely linked with our liturgical Catholic heritage. The series examines its theme under four headings, the first being 'the Bishops who built.'
  • The use of Greek in the poems of John Scotus Eriugena
    This article explores the learning and compositions of an Irish scholar at the Imperial Court in the 9th Century and what it tells us about the extent and impact of Irish medieval scholarship during the middle ages.
  • Flann O’Brien and Catholicism
    Viewed in the context of his near contemporary and some-time companion James Joyce, this article considers the relationship of the famous Irish Author, under his various pseudonyms, with his own Catholic Faith and the Catholic Church he experienced in Ireland in the mid 20th Century.
  • Reports on Masses during 2010
  • Tuesday 30 November 2010

    November - Month of the Holy Souls (5)

    As is our tradition, on this last day of the Month of the Holy Souls, let us remember to pray for deceased Popes, Cardinals, Bishops and Priests, especially those who have nobody to pray for them.

    Requiem æternam dona eis, Domine: et lux perpetua luceat eis!

    Sunday 28 November 2010

    Forget not the Boys of Kilmichael

    General Tom Barry's account of the Ambush at Kilmichael includes the following reference:

    "...At 3 a.m. the men were told for the first time they were moving in to attack the Auxiliaries between Macroom and Dunmanway. Father O'Connell, P.P., Ballineen, had ridden out to hear the men's Confessions, and was waiting by the side of a ditch, some distance from the road. Silently, one by one, their rifles slung, the IRA went to him, and then returned to the ranks. Soon the priest came on the road. In a low voice, he spoke, 'Are the boys going to attach the Sassanach, Tom?' 'Yes, Father, we hope so.' He asked no further question, but said in a loud voice, 'Good luck, boys, I know you will win. God keep ye all. Now I will give you my Blessing.' He rode away into the darkness of the night..."

    Patrick Canon O'Connell, was born on 4th March, 1864, at Knockane, Dunmanway, and was ordained a Priest at Maynooth on 24th June, 1890. He had been appointed Parish Priest of Enniskeane in June, 1918 and was created a Canon on 4th July, 1934. He died on 31st January, 1946. When he rode out to minister to the Volunteers that night in November, 1920, he risked not only his life but possibly the disapproval of his Bishop, Dr. Coholan, who, a fortnight later, excommunicated all - Volunteers and British Forces alike - participating in ambush, kidnap and murder. Canon O'Connell was to risk his life once again when he met the Volunteers in the dead of night at Castletown Kenneigh Graveyard to bury their dead.

    As we remember 'in song and in story' the Boys of Kilmichael, let us also remember Canon O'Connell.

    The Ballad of Kilmichael

    Oh forget not the boys of Kilmichael,
    Those brave boys both gallant and true.
    They fought with Tom Barry's bold column,
    And conquered the red, white and blue.

    Whilst we honour in song and in story,
    The memory of Pearse and McBride.
    Whose names are illumined in glory,
    With martyrs that long since have died.
    Oh forget not the boys of Kilmichael,
    Who feared not the ice and the foe.
    Oh the day that they marched into battle,
    They laid all the Black and Tans low.

    On the twenty-eighth day of November,
    The Tans left the town of Macroom.
    They were seated in Crossley tenders,
    Which brought them right into their doom.
    They were on the high road to Kilmichael,
    And never expecting to stall.
    'Twas there that the boys of the column,
    They made a clear sweep of them all.

    The sun in the west it was sinking,
    'Twas the eve of a cold winter's day.
    When the Tans we were eagerly waiting,
    Sailed into the spot where we lay.
    And over the hill went the echo,
    The peal of the rifles and guns.
    And the smoke from their lorries bore tidings,
    That the boys of Kilmichael had won.

    The battle being over at twilight,
    And there in that glen so obscure.
    We threw down our rifles and bayonets,
    And made our way back to Granure.
    And high over Dunmanway town, my boys,
    They sang of the brave and the true.
    Of the men from Tom Barry's bold column,
    Who conquered the red, white and blue.

    There are some who will blush at the mention,
    Of Connolly, Pearse and McBride.
    And history's new scribes in derision,
    The pages of valour deny.
    But sure here's to the boys who cried, Freedom!
    When Ireland was nailed to the mast.
    And they fought with Tom Barry's bold column,
    To give us our freedom at last.

    So forget not the boys of Kilmichael,
    Those brave boys both gallant and true.
    They fought 'neath the green flag of Erin,
    And conquered the red, white and blue.

    Saturday 27 November 2010

    November - Month of the Holy Souls (4)

    After the era of Faith and the era of Reform, came the era of scepticism, which coincides with the era of classical music. The Christian Civilization of Western Europe remained, not intact or unchallenged, but remained, nevertheless, as the bedrock of all European thought and expression. The 'Mass' remained a basic musical setting for composers, even if they were less and less suitable as liturgical pieces.

    Antonín Dvořák, 'though devout and composer of many notable pieces based upon liturgical texts, gives us a good example of what went wrong, from the liturgical point of view, with European music.

    His Requiem uses the liturgical texts but does violence to them to satisfy symphonic conventions. The Introit and Kyrie form one movement, which is practically correct since, if they were ever used in a liturgical setting there would be hardly a point in a pause. However, it places a clear priority on musical convention over liturgical. The texts are elsewhere rearranged to suit performance, for which, indeed, it was intended rather than liturgical use, as is shown by it's debut in Birmingham in 1891.

    Sunday 21 November 2010

    Last Sunday after Pentecost

    Missa Cantata, or sung Low Mass, offered on the Last Sunday after Pentecost at the Roman Catholic Parish of St. Nicholas of Chardonnet in Paris, France. This same video may also be viewed (in segments) on YouTube.

    Saturday 20 November 2010

    Requiem Mass for Deceased Members 2010

    Dr. Comerford, in his Collections on the Diocese of Kildare and Leighlin, states: "The present parish of Kilcock comprises the ancient ecclesiastical divisions of Kilcock, Cloncurry, Sculloguestown, and Clonshambo."

    He continues: "Kilcock derives its name from St. Coca, virgin, whose chief feast was celebrated on teh 6th of June. We find her name calendared in the Martyrology of Donegal also, at the 8th January: 'Cuach, virgin, of Cil-Cuaigh in Cairbre na Ciardha;' and again, in the same, under date April 29th: 'Coningen, i. Cuach i. Ci Finn Maighi.' A gloss on this passage states that the maiden Coniengean, or Cuach, was the pupil or Daltha of Mac Tail, Bishop of Kilcullen. She is stated to have been the sister of St. Kevin of Glendalough, of St. Attracta, and other saints. (See Loca Patr., p. 150. nota) Colgan, it should be added, considers that this was a different person from the Patron Saint of Kilcock. In the Life of St. Ciaran of Saighir, it is stated that "he used to go to the sea rock that was far distant in the sea (where his nurse, i.e. Coca, was), without ship or boat, and used to return atain.' St. Coca was identified with this locality from a very early date. The Annals of Ireland record, in A.D. 774, the Battle of Cill Coice, in which Fearghal, son of Donghal, son of Faelchu, lord of Forthatha-Laighean, was slain by the King Donnchadh. the Holy Well of the Saint, called Tubbermohocca, stood in what is now an enclosed yard in the town. About forty years ago, it was shut up by the occupant of the premises, and the stream diverted to what was considered a more convenient situation."

    Dr. Comerford continues: "The present very fine parochial Church was commenced in 1862, by the late Rev. William Treacy, P.P., who had expended £1,000 on the work, when he was called to his reward. He left, partly of his own means, and partly the result of subscriptions, received, £3,000 towards its completion, to effect which cost some £6,000 more. It is in the early gothic style, from a design by MacCarthy, and consists of chancel, nave, and aisles, with a massive tower 108 feet in height; including the tower, which is at the west end, the church is 131 feet in length, and is 60 feet in width. It was dedicated to the service of God, under the invocation of St. Coca, in 1867. Over the grave of the founder, within the church, a monumental brass bears the following inscription: 'Sacred to the revered memory of Rev. William Treacy, who had been 34 years P.P. of Kilcock; the founder of this church, - who departed this life on the 25th May, 1862, in the 59th year of his age. This monument was erected by his affectionate brother, Rev. Felix Treacy, P.P., Balyna.' The beautiful and costly High Altar, and a fine stained-glass window over it, are also memorials of Fr. Treacy, erected by the parishioners. In the porch, let into the wall, is a marble monument, removed from the old church, having the following epitaph: 'To the memory of the Very Rev. Dr. Murphy, P.P. of the united parishes of Kilcock and Cloncurry, and V.G. of the Diocese of Kildare, who departed this life July 9th, 1816, in the 52nd year of his age. This monument is erected by the Protestant and Roman Catholic Inhabitants of said parishes, to testify their high esteem for his most amiable and exemplary character. Munus parvum quidem, sed magnam testatur amorem. A.D. 1817.' Another monument, formerly inserted in the wall of the old church, but now in the grounds near the present vestry, has the following: 'here lieth the body of the Rev. Dr. Dunne, P.P., of Kilcock, and V.G. of the Diocese of Kildare. He departed this life the 6th of March, 1796. His ardent zeal, and unwearied attention to his flock, will live for ever in the grateful minds of all his parishioners. May he rest in peace. Amen. Hodie mihi; cras tibi.' And on the same slab: 'Also the body of the Rev. James Dempsey, P.P., Kilcock. He died, Feb. 28th 1801.'

    Dr. Comerford concludes: "In 1872, the fine schools of the Christian Brothers, dedicated to St. Joseph, were erected at a cost of £1,800. the commodious residence of the Brothers is situate on the opposite side of the street"

    "The Presentation Convent, dedicated to the most Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, has been built as a novitiate for the Foreign Missions, to which the Sisters are sent after Profession. This Convent was established in 1879, by the late Mother M. Teresa Comerford, who, with three other sisters, came from San Francisco for that purpose."

    "St. Coca is the patron of the parish of Kilcock; but the former parish church was dedicated to our Blessed Lady Assumed into Heaven. This appears from the Parish Register, in which the parish is styled Parochia Stae. Cogae; and the church, Ecclesia Assumptae Virginis de Kilcock. According to local tradition, a religious house formerly stood on the spot lately occupied by the Kilcock National School.

    At 11 o'clock this morning, a Requiem Mass in the Gregorian Rite was celebrated in St. Coca's Church, Kilcock, for the repose of the souls of the deceased members of St. Conleth's Catholic Heritage Association. A sizable number of local people joined members from across the Diocese of Kildare and Leighlin and outside the Diocese for the Mass. With only one omission, the Common and Proper of the Mass was chanted.

    November - Month of the Holy Souls (3)

    Once it had been found that polyphony was not inconsistent with the solemnity of the Requiem, polyphonic settings, and indeed, settings in the style of the age were to abound. Most famous for his Officium Hebdomadae Sanctae of 1585, certainly his work most frequently heard in Churches that are blessed to have the Holy Week Ceremonies in the Traditional Rite, Tomás Luis de Victoria was one of the standard-bearers of Counter-Reformation music, according to the mind of the Council of Trent.

    His Officium Defunctorum of 1605, composed for the obsequies of the Empress Maria, who was his patroness through most of his composing career, is predominantly a setting of the Requiem Mass. He had composed another setting about twenty years earlier. His Requiem, like that of Mozart, was his last work. Oddly to the ear, the chant themes that are the basis of the setting are given to the higher registers of the six parts.

    Sunday 14 November 2010

    Loss and Gain

    At the same time as the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter announced the end of its apostolate in the Diocese of Kildare and Leighlin it announced the beginning of a new apostolate in the Archdiocese of Brussels.

    Dominus dedit Dominus abstulit sit nomen Domini benedictum (Job. i, 21)

    Twenty-sixth Monthly Mass in the Diocese of Kildare and Leighlin

    This afternoon, fourteen persons attended the twenty-sixth Monthly Mass in the Diocese of Kildare and Leighlin celebrated by Revd. Fr. Simon Leworthy, F.S.S.P. It was announced that December will be the last time that a Priest of the F.S.S.P. celebrates a monthly Mass in the Diocese.

    Saturday 13 November 2010

    November - Month of the Holy Souls (2)

    The Low Countries, a middle Europe that extended to Burgndy - and that would emerge again as the powerhouse of a modern united Europe - had held onto, or retrieved, the great inheritance of Charlemagne at the forefront of Western Christian Civilization during the High Middle Ages. The Devotio Moderna is but one example of the debt that the Christian West owes to the Low Countries of this period.

    The purity of Plain Chant gave way to the more elaborate beauty of Polyphony, in much the same way as the purity of Romanesque gave way to the more elaborate beauty of the Gothic. So too, as the Low Countries led the way in culture, in fashion, in architecture, and in piety, did they also in music and the Franco-Flemish School was to the fore in European music of the 15th and 16th Centuries.

    Johannes Ockeghem (c. 1410-1497) was the leader of the second generation of the Franco-Flemish school, born in modern-day Belgium, he died at Tours, in the heart of Valois France. His Requiem, one of 14 Masses that he composed, is the earliest extant polyphonic setting of the Requiem. It is, however, extremely austere and is in a 'faux bourdon' style with a predominating bass line. The setting is incomplete in the form that comes down to us, and lacks the and Sanctus and Agnus Dei. Once again, for contrast, I only include the Introit and Kyrie.

    Thursday 11 November 2010

    Irish Devotion to Saint Martin of Tours

    November 11 is the feastday of one of the fathers of Gaulish monasticism, Saint Martin of Tours, whose Life by Sulpicius Severus influenced the future writing of hagiography. Martin was a saint much venerated by the early Irish Church. The Martyrology of Oengus pays him a glowing tribute in its entry for November 11:

    Saint Martin a noble simile
    the mount of gold of the western

    while the scholiast adds:

    Saint Martin of Tours, of Gaul was he.
    Martin a soldier, honour not slight, of Gallia Lugdunensis, a fully-gentle son of the race of the kings, son of Manualt and Abrasin.

    noble simile etc., i.e. noble for him is his resemblance to gold propter etc. Martin out of Martin's Tours in the south of Frankland : of the Gauls was he, ut dixit quidam : Martin a soldier, honour without prohibition etc. Gold is he propter etc.

    Michael Richter has a chapter on the Irish devotion to Saint Martin in his book 'Ireland and her Neighbours in the Seventh Century'. He takes as a starting point the early 9th-century Book of Armagh, a manuscript containing three distinct groups of material (1) A complete text of the New Testament, (2) A dossier of materials on Saint Patrick and (3) almost the complete body of writings on Saint Martin by Sulpicius Severus.

    Contemporaneous with the Book of Armagh was the Martyrology of Tallaght which records a special tribute to Saint Martin among the saints of Europe in its entry for 20 April:

    Communis sollemnitas omnium sanctorum et virginum Hiberniae et Britanniae et totius Europae et specialiter in honorem sancti Martini episcopi.

    So, it would appear that in the early 9th century, respect for Saint Martin was well-established in Ireland, but as such devotion would not have arisen from a vacuum, Richter is keen to track its history. He finds evidence for Saint Martin in other sources before 800:

    1. Jonas of Bobbio's Vita Columbani. Jonas relates that the saint while travelling requested to be allowed to pray at the tomb of St Martin. His companions did not intend to make this possible for him and so it took a miracle to allow Columbanus to pay his respects to Martin. Richter wonders where Columbanus may have acquired this devotion to St Martin. Was it while on his travels in Gaul or did he become acquainted with the works of Sulpicius in Ireland? If the latter, then Bangor would be the obvious place.

    2. The Irish palimpsest sacramentary from the mid-7th century contains the text of a mass for St Martin.

    3. In the Life of Columba, Adamnan mentions in passing that St Martin was commemorated during Mass at Iona. We cannot be sure, of course, whether Adamnan is reflecting the practice of his own time in the late 7th century or that of St Columba a century earlier. Furthermore, in writing his Life of Columba, Adamnan was clearly influenced by The Life of St Martin by Sulpicius Severus.

    Richter then goes on to see just how far back in the history of Irish Christianity this devotion to Saint Martin might go. Traditionally, the earliest Gaulish connection was taken right back to Saint Patrick, who was said to have spent time training and travelling in Gaul, where he encountered the Life of Martin of Tours. Later sources, indeed, even claimed that Patrick's mother was Martin's sister! Richter, like other modern scholars, rejects this and suggests rather that the mission of Palladius to the Irish is a more likely conduit for the earliest transmission of the Martinian tradition. The mission of Palladius is now seen within the wider context of the mission of Germanus of Auxerre to Britain around 429. Thus, this could be the context in which the Life of St Martin was brought from Gaul to Ireland at an early date, and could explain how Columbanus was familiar with it before he ever left Ireland.

    Richter concludes:

    When taking all the fragments of information from Ireland altogether, textual, liturgical and hagiographical, it may be said that St Martin was a familiar and revered figure in Ireland in the mid-seventh century at the least. This would be easiest explained if the texts which praised him were known widely. The most plausible context for the arrival of the text of Sulpicius Severus remains the Palladian mission.

    Michael Richter, Ireland and Her Neighbours in the Seventh Century (Dublin, 1999), 225-230.

    This post was first published here.

    Saturday 6 November 2010

    All you Saints of Ireland...

    No, I’m not Irish. Nor do I have Irish ancestors.

    This litany unlike the private litanies sometimes found in prayerbooks (and on the Internet) is public and was approved by special concession of Benedict XV. It ranks therefore, along with the public litanies of the Church such as Litany of Loreto, the Holy Name, St. Joseph, the Sacred Heart and the Precious Blood.

    The litany follows first a liturgical order. The Blessed Virgin Mary, St. Joseph as Patron of the Universal Church, then the martyrs, pontiffs, confessors, monks, virgins, etc. The list was limited to those Irish saints with a Proper Mass and Office.

    Within the list, another order is observed. For the Pontiffs and Confessors, in the first place is St. Celestine who sent St. Patrick, and then of course, St. Patrick himself. The follow all the other saints according to the ecclesiastical provinces. Each archdiocesan group (total 4) is headed by the patron saint, followed by the patrons of the dioceses, etc. That has led to St. Colman being invoked thrice and the innovation of the not-so-Irish St. Nicholas


    E~mus et R~mus Dominus Cardinalis Michael Logue, Archiepiscopus Armacanus et Primas Hiberniae a Sanctissimo Domino nostro Benedicto Papa XV supplex petivit, ut Litanias Omnium Sanctorum Hiberniae humiliter exhibitas approbare dignaretur in usum omnium Hiberniae Ecclesiarum. Sanctitas porro Sua, referente infrascripto Cardinal Sacrae Rituum Congregationi Praefecto, suprascriptas Litanias de Sanctis Hiberniae ab eodem Sacro Concilio revisas ac dispositas, approbavit, earumque usum in Ecclesiis totius Hiberniae, de speciali gratia, benigne concedere dignata est. Contrariis non obstantibus quibuscumque.

    Die 9 Martii 1921.

    + A. CARD. Vico, Ep. Portuen.,

    S. R. C. Secretarius


    Kyrie, eleison.
    Christe, eleison.
    Kyrie, eleison.
    Christe, audi nos.
    Christe, exaudi nos.
    Pater de coelis Deus, miserere nobis
    Fili Redemptor mundi Deus, miserere nobis
    Spiritus Sancte Deus, miserere nobis
    Sancta Trinitas unus Deus, miserere nobis
    Sancta Maria, ora pro nobis
    Sancta Dei Genitrix,
    Sancta Virgo virginum,
    Sancte Joseph,
    Sancte Kiliane,
    Sancte Rumolde,
    Sancte Livine,
    Beate Oliveri
    Omnes Sancti Martyres, orate pro nobis
    Sancte Caelestine, ora pro nobis
    Sancte Patrici,
    Sancte Malachia,
    Sancte Machanisi,
    Sancte Finiane,
    Sancte Mele,
    Sancte Macartine,
    Sancte Eugeni,
    Sancte Colmane,
    Sancte Fedlimine,
    Sancte Eunane,
    Sancte Laurenti,
    Sancte Conlethe,
    Sancte Laseriane,
    Sancte Edane,
    Sancte Kirane,
    Sancte Alberte,
    Sancte Albee,
    Sancte Colmane,
    Sancte Finbarre,
    Sancte Flannane,
    Sancte Munchine,
    Sancte Fachanane,
    Sancte Otterane,
    Sancte Carthage,
    Sancte Jarlathe,
    Sancte Nathaee,
    Sancte Asice,
    Sancte Nicolae,
    Sancte Colmane,
    Sancte Muredache,
    Sancte Declane,
    Sancte Virgili,
    Sancte Senane,
    Sancte Frigidiane,
    Sancte Cuthberte,
    Sancte Ruperte,
    Sancte Celse,
    Sancte Catalde,
    Sancte Donate,
    Beate Thaddaee,
    Omnes Sancti Pontifices et Confessores, Orate pro nobis.
    Sancte Columba, ora pro nobis
    Sancte Coemgene,
    Sancte Brendane,
    Sancte Canici,
    Sancte Kirane,
    Sancte Columbane,
    Sancte Galle,
    Sancte Fursee,
    Sancte Fintane,
    Sancte Comgalle,
    Sancte Fiacri,
    Omnes Sancti Monachi et Eremitae, orate pro nobis
    Sancta Brigida, ora pro nobis
    Sancta Ita,
    Sancta Attracta,
    Sancta Dympna,
    Sancta Lelia,
    Omnes Sanctae Virgines, orate pro nobis
    Omnes Sancti et Sanctae Dei, Intercedite pro nobis.
    Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi, Parce nobis Domine.
    Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi, Exaudi nos Domine.
    Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi, Miserere nobis.

    V. Orate pro nobis omnes Sancti Hiberniae
    R. Ut digni efficiamur promissionibus Christi.

    Oremus.Gratiam tuam, Domine, multiplica super nos, commemorationem celebrantes omnium Insulae nostrae Sanctorum ; ut quorum esse cives gratulamur in terris, cum his mancipatum habere mereamur in coelis. Per Dominum.

    The official English translation:

    The Litany of Irish Saints

    Lord, have mercy on us.
    Christ, have mercy on us.
    Lord, have mercy on us.
    Christ, hear us.
    Christ, graciously hear us.
    God the Father of Heaven, have mercy on us.
    God the Son, Redeemer of the world, have mercy on us.
    God the Holy Ghost, have mercy on us.
    Holy Trinity one God, have mercy on us.
    Holy Mary, pray for us
    Holy Mother of God,
    Holy Virgin of virgins,
    St. Joseph,
    St. Killian,
    St. Rumold,
    St. Livinus,
    Blessed Oliver,
    All ye Holy Martyrs,
    St. Celestine,
    St. Patrick,
    St. Malachy,
    St. Macnise,
    St. Finnian,
    St. Mel,
    St. Macartan,
    St. Eugene,
    St. Colman,
    St. Felim,
    St. Eunan,
    St. Laurence,
    St. Conleth,
    St. Laserian,
    St. Aidan,St. Kieran,
    St. Albert,
    St. Ailbe,
    St. Colman,
    St. Finnbarr,
    St. Flannan,
    St. Munchin,
    St. Fachtna,
    St. Otteran,
    St. Carthage,
    St. Jarlath,
    St. Nathy,
    St. Asicus,
    St. Nicholas,
    St. Colman,
    St. Muredach,
    St. Declan,
    St. Virgilius,
    St. Senan,
    St. Frigidian,
    St. Cuthbert,
    St. Rupert,
    St. Celsus,
    St. Cataldus,
    St. Donatus,
    Blessed Thaddaeus,
    All ye Holy Pontiffs and Confessors,
    St. Columba,
    St. Kevin,
    St. Brendan,
    St. Canice,
    St. Kieran,
    St. Columbanus,
    St. Gall,
    St. Fursey,
    St. Fintan,
    St. Comgall,
    St. Fiacre,
    All ye Holy Monks and Hermits,
    St. Brigid,
    St. Ita,
    St. Attracta,
    St. Dympna,
    St. Lelia,
    All ye Holy Virgins,
    All ye Holy Saints of God, Intercede for us.
    Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world, Spare us, O Lord.
    Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world, Graciously hear us, O Lord.
    Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world, Have mercy on us.

    V. Pray for us, all you Saints of Ireland.
    R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

    Let us pray. Grant, O Lord, an increase of Thy Grace to us who celebrate the memory of all the Saints of our Island ; that as, on earth, we rejoice to be one with them in race, so, in Heaven, we may deserve to share with them an inheritance of bliss. Through Christ Our Lord. Amen.

    Published in August, 2007

    November - Month of the Holy Souls (1)

    This year, to mark the Month of the Holy Souls, we're going to look at the development of the Requiem. The first video is the Introit of the Vatican Edition Gregorian Chant Requiem Mass, first in single voice and then by a choir.

    Sunday 31 October 2010

    All Hallows Eve in Sweden

    Hallowe'en in Sweden is a very confused affair. All Hallows Day or Alla Helgons Dag, the feast of all the Saints, in Sweden is more like a season than a single Holiday, and is celebrated between the 31st of October and the 6th of November. It has been celebrated in Sweden since Catholic days, then on the 1st of November (of course), but, as is typical of Swedish Lutheranism, although the cult of Saints was no longer practised, the feast of all the Saints continued to be observed.

    In 1772 the day lost its status as a National Holiday, which was not to be brought back until 1953. Even then, the intention was more to provide a public holiday in the late Autumn than to restore the Christian tradition. It was then to be celebrated on the Saturday between October 31st and November 6th. The day is marked as a sort of second class public holiday with the Friday before, which becomes our eve of All Hallows, allhelgonaafton, being a half day.

    The celebrations consist mainly of looking after the graves of departed loved ones and placing candles on the graves (like in the picture above), but in recent years the more American Halloween traditions have become popular also in Sweden with children dressing up and trick-or-treating. Therefore, although we call it All Hallows, the celebration is really about 'the Holy Souls' as Catholics would describe them.

    The Irish-American Hallowe'en with its witches and pumpkins is making a big impact upon popular culture in Sweden now but of course we have our own native traditions relating to witches that I have already described in my posts for Valborgsmässoafton (St. Walpurgis' eve) and for Skärtordagen (Pink Thursday or Holy Thursday).

    Two Masses in Kildare

    In the next few weeks two Masses will be celebrated in County Kildare, but in two different Dioceses, the first in the Diocese of Kildare and Leighlin, the second in the Archdiocese of Dublin:

    At 11 a.m. on Saturday, 20th November, a Requiem Mass in the Gregorian Rite will be celebrated for the deceased members of St. Conleth's Catholic Heritage Association in St. Coca's Church, Kilcock (shown above from NLI Collection c. 1940).

    At 7 p.m. on Wednesday, 8th December, Mass in the Gregorian Rite will be celebrated for the feast of the Immaculate Conception in St. Patrick's Church, Celbridge (shown above from NLI Collection c. 1914).

    Saturday 30 October 2010

    Cork Rosary Churches 5 (Mayfield)

    The final of the Rosary of Churches was completed in that fateful year 1962, only 9 years after the building campaign was announced. It was the Church of Our Lady Crowned at Mayfield. Surely it was a crowning achievement of the Bishop and the people of Cork.

    The Parish website gives a detailed history of the building. What is interesting to me is the that the shape of the sanctuary echoes the truest 'modernist' Church in the city at Turner's Cross.

    Queen of the Most Holy Rosary, pray for us!

    Friday 29 October 2010

    Ite ad Ioseph!

    The following has just been received from Fr. Stan Smolenski:


    October 3, 2010

    His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI
    00120 Vatican City State


    Your Holiness,

    We, the speakers and participants of the "Totus Tuus-Consecrate Them in Truth" Family Conference focused on Building a Culture of Life through St. Joseph, Guardian of the Christ Child, held on October 1-3, 2010 at the Apostolate for Family Consecration, Catholic Familyland, in Bloomingdale, Ohio, USA, wish respectfully to bring to your attention the following petition for your consideration:

    That a universal "Year of St. Joseph" be declared in the Church from the dates of 19 March 2012 to 19 March 2013 (or any other dates suitable to Your Holiness), in order to invoke the special protection of St. Joseph, Patron of the Universal Church, on behalf of the People of God at this present historical moment, and to raise up St. Joseph as the greatest exemplar of Christian fatherhood for the benefit of all families of the world today. We also humbly request that a formal consecration or entrustment of the Church to St. Joseph, Patron of the People of God, be made by Your Holiness on 19 March 2012, or at some other appropriate time during the 2012-2013 "Year of St. Joseph."

    The Year 2012 constitutes, in general, the two thousandth anniversary of the last appearance of St. Joseph in Sacred Scripture, that being the presence of St. Joseph at the finding of Jesus in the Temple when the Christ Child was 12 years old (cf. Luke 2:41-52). As he was declared "Patron of the Universal Church" in 1870 by Pope Pius IX, a universal Church year dedicated to St. Joseph in seeking his particular intercession would be especially efficacious for the People of God amidst the grave crises facing the Church today.

    "I am convinced that by reflection upon the way that Mary's spouse shared in the divine mystery, the Church--on the road towards the future with all humanity-will be enabled to discover ever anew her own identity within this redemptive plan, which is founded on the mystery of the Incarnation. Besides trusting in Joseph's sure protection, the Church also trusts in his noble example, which transcends all individual states of life and serves as a model for the Christian community, whatever the condition and duties of each of its members may be." (Pope John Paul II, Guardian of the Redeemer, 1; 30)

    As with the universal Church, so too, with the domestic Church, the present challenges facing the Christian family in general and the role of Christian husband and father in particular would be greatly aided by the sublime example and powerful intercession of the divinely appointed Head of the Holy Family. "The crisis of fatherhood that we are experiencing today is a basic aspect of the crisis that threatens mankind as a whole." (The God of Jesus Christ, p.29, Joseph Cardinal

    Most Holy Father, we the members of this Conference gathered from various parts of the United States and beyond, wish to express to Your Holiness our collective and ardent desire for you, according to God's holy will, to consider the declaration of this "Year of St. Joseph," which we believe will bring forth profound graces to the universal Church through its providential Patron, and to the domestic Church, through the intercession of him who is already the spiritual Father of each and every Christian family and greatest model for every husband and father.

    We join to this petition our firm promise of humble prayers for Your Holiness, in regards to this petition, and for the continuation of your heroic and inspired guidance of the People of God as our Vicar of Christ and Universal Shepherd. We humbly request the Apostolic Blessing for ourselves and our dear ones.

    Very respectfully yours in the love of the Holy Family,

    Most Rev. R. Daniel Conlon, Bishop of Steubenville
    Fr. Basil Cole, O.P.
    Fr. Kevin Barrett
    Fr. High Gillespie, S.M.M.
    Dr. Scott Hahn
    Dr. Mark Miravalle
    Dr. Alice von Hildebrand

    Sunday 24 October 2010

    Twenty-fifth Monthly Mass in the Diocese of Kildare and Leighlin

    This afternoon, ten persons attended the twenty-fifth Monthly Mass in the Diocese of Kildare and Leighlin celebrated by Revd. Fr. Simon Leworthy, F.S.S.P. The return to double figures marked the second anniversary of the first Mass, which was celebrated in October, 2008, by Revd. Fr. Brendan Gerard, F.S.S.P.

    Over the course of the last two years, the attendance has been in single figures on only three occasions (or four, if you count January, 2010, when the Mass was cancelled without notice). On a further sixteen occasions the attendance has been between 10 and 19. On five occasions, the last one being March, 2009, was the attendance 20 or more.

    Saturday 23 October 2010

    Cork Rosary Churches 4 (Dennehy's Cross)

    The fourth of the Cork Rosary Churches was completed in 1960 and dedicated to the Descent of the Holy Ghost it is sometimes also known as the Church of the Holy Spirit, Dennehy's Cross. It was the seventh new Church in Cork, of a total of eleven, designed by J.R. Boyd Barrett and the third of the four Rosary Churches built to his design. It is to the west of the Church of the Assumption, Ballyphehane, and to the south of the Church of the Ascension, Gurranabraher.

    To my eye, it is the best of the Rosary Churches and certainly the most conventional. Compared with Boyd Barrett's first Cork Church at Turner's Cross it represents a great retreat from modernism. In materials and basic elements it is very like the Franciscan Church in Liberty Street completed in 1955, just two years before construction of the Church of the Descent of the Holy Ghost began, except for neo-baroque elements that the single central dome is more articulated and the facade is faced in stone while the body of the Church is completed in brick.

    The Parish's website states the following: "Our church is situated at the junction of two very busy thoroughfares, Model Farm Road and Wilton Road in the western suburbs of Cork city. Built as one of a rosary of churches on the edge of the city, as it was at that time, it is dedicated to the Holy Spirit.

    Built on an old quarry and some adjoining pasture land, the site was blessed by the Bishop of Cork, Dr. Cornelius Lucey in November 1956 and four years later the site had been transformed: a large brick and limestone church with its distinctive dome rising 140 feet [42.67m], designed by J.R.Boyd Barrett and built by Pat Shea & Co., now dominated by the surrounding area.

    The Church of Descent of the Holy Spirit, with a seating capacity for 1,100, was blessed and opened on Sunday, 25th September 1960, the feast of St. Finbarr, patron saint of the diocese, by Dr. Lucey

    The dedication of the Church of the Holy Spirit, the first in Ireland, was highlighted by the magnificent Pentecost altar mosaic, which was designed and executed by the Italian artist Romeo Battistella, who was attached to International Mosaics of Roscommon.

    The church is neo-classical in style with a plan of a Latin cross with nave and transepts, 193 feet [58.83m] long and 98 feet [29.87m] wide. A large bronze lantern stands on top of the copper-sheeted dome, surmounted by a 24-foot [7.32m] high cross. The design is reputed to have been influenced by the churches Dr. Lucey had seen during his visit to the Eucharistic Congress in Spain.

    The sanctuary mosaic depicts the events of Pentecost, Acts.2: 1-4"

    Queen of the Most Holy Rosary, pray for us!