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!

Saturday 16 October 2010

Cork Rosary Churches 3 (Farranree)

In 1958 the third of the Rosary of Churches on the outskirts of Cork City was built. It was the Church of the Resurrection, on what was then known as Spangle Hill and has now become Farranree. It is another of the 'hilltop' Rosary Churches, like Mayfield to the east and Gurranabraher to the south. Not the most elegant sight to my eye but it is notable all the same. As you stand on Patrick's Bridge and look to the west and the north it crowns the heights overlooking the city. A festival of flowers marked the golden jubilee a couple of years ago.

Fitzgerald Smith and Company, the Cork based architects on the project designed what was described as a basilica plan freely interpreted with an upward thrust intended to be symbolic of the Ressurection culminating in a 'fleche' or thin rooftop spire. At the blessing of the Church Bishop Lucey asked, is it too much to hope that as Christ's Ressurection began his glorious and triumphant reign after Calvary, so many this new Church of the Ressurection may begin for Cork an new era in which emigration and poverty and lack of housing and neglect of God's Commandments will be no more, in which religion and family life, trade, industry and the arts will flourish, in which he that sitteth on the throne can say of Cork: "Behold I have made thee and they people new according to My own Heart"?

The consacration was performed by the great Cardinal Cushing of Boston, whose connection with the Diocese of Cork and Ross, especially in connection with the Rosary Churches, is the stuff of legend.

Queen of the Most Holy Rosary, pray for us!

Wednesday 13 October 2010

Mass in Newbridge

The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass in the Gregorian Rite will be celebrated according to the Missal of Blessed John XXIII (1962) in Cill Mhuire (shown above), Newbridge, Co. Kildare, at 6 p.m., on Friday, 15th October, 2010, with the kind permission of the Very Reverend Parish Priest of Newbridge. The Mass will be followed by the Annual General Meeting of St. Conleth's Catholic Heritage Association in St. Anne's Parish Centre, Station Road, Newbridge, Co. Kildare, including a talk on the life of the Servant of God, Fr. John Sullivan, S.J. (shown below), at 8 p.m.

Saturday 9 October 2010

Cork Rosary Churches 2 (Ballyphehane)

The first of the Rosary Churches to be completed was the Church of the Ascension, Gurranabraher, in 1955. The second was completed the following year, the Church of the Assumption, Ballyphehane.

While Gurranabrahar is visibly to the north of the city, Ballyphehane is one of the most successful of the mid-twentieth century planned suburbs to the south of the city and is the 'airport parish'. The names of the streets, after the leaders of Irish independence, reflect the era of the suburb's creation. Thus, for example, the Church of the Assumption is on Pearse Road.

The architect, J.R. Boyd Barrett, a dubliner, began his extensive Cork practice with the amazingly modernist Church of Christ the King, Turner's Cross, in 1931, a little to the east of Ballyphehane. Dr. Coholan, Bishop Lucey's predecessor, had a radical streak despite his arch-conservative reputation. As with his earlier 'Rosary' commission at Gurranabraher, Boyd Barrett was commissioned to design both Church and Parochial houses. He also designed the nearby school. Compared with his earlier work in Turner's Cross and Gurranabrahar, the Church at Ballyphehane is restrained and even conventional basilican form, but in the modern idiom.

For Kildare and Leighlin readers, they may see a similarity of the style with Boyd Barrett's only Church in that Diocese, at Daingean, Co. Offaly (1960). He was also responsible for the extension to the Church in Mountmellick, Co. Laois (1965), and for alterations in Stradbally and Vicarstown, Co. Laois (both 1963).

Queen of the Most Holy Rosary, pray for us!

Beatification Report - Newman the Authorised Biography

Today, 9th October 2010, sees the first feast day of Blessed John Henry Newman. It seems an appropriate time to share a review of the official beatification biography which was launched at the beatification conference: Newman by his Biographers.

Unlike some of the more weighty tomes about Newman this is a rather thinner book of around a hundred pages, which I would describe as a ‘coffee table' volume. I do not mean that to sound at all negative, indeed it is meant as a compliment. It is glossy, printed in full colour to a very high standard and well designed. My impression is that publishers and author have tried to create something that one can dip into for a few minutes as easily as sit down and read throughout.

The book is lavishly illustrated, with pictures drawn from a wide variety of sources making up perhaps half of its content. There are many depictions of Newman and others, not only in the form of paintings and drawings but also other works of arts including some less commonly used images and a few photographs. It contains modern and archive photographs of places from Newman’s life and also included are maps, documents and other items. This breadth of images add to the pleasing look and feel of this book into which as much care has gone into the illustration as into the writing, rather than its being something that was ‘tacked on’ afterwards.

At the launch of the book Father Richard Duffield, Provost of the Birmingham Oratory, made reference to the fact that its author, Father Keith Beaumont, had allowed Newman to speak for himself. Indeed this is very accurate and there are a substantial amount of quotes and excerpts scattered throughout. In his preface Father Duffield states "Fr Beaumont’s biography gives a clear account of all the major themes of Newman’s life and work". Certainly it seems to me that it would give a good introduction to Newman although it may be considered a little brief for the more accomplished scholar.

The book tells us a little of Newman’s early life and "The Experience of 1816" which he described as his first conversion. It then moves on to his time at "Oxford" with some beautiful pictures, both contemporary and older, of the Colleges. Next we learn of Newman’s "Discovery of the Church Fathers" and his time as a "Preacher at St Mary’s," where he gave most of his sermons as an Anglican minister.

Next the book covers "Faith, Reason, Ethics and Spiritual Life: The University Sermons," a series of fifteen official sermons preached at Oxford. This is followed by "The Trip to Sicily in 1833," the journey which lead to the poem that become the hymn well know in all branches of Christianity, Lead, Kindly Light. Next comes a commentary on "The Oxford Movement" then "Growing Doubts about the Church of England," which covers Newman’s time at Littlemore.

The next section is the "Concept of Development," which includes a photograph of Newman’s clearly extensive and impressive library at the Birmingham Oratory. This is followed by "The Conversion of 1845" where we learn that Newman’s first confession lasted so long that Blessed Dominic Barberi suggested they both went to bed and continued in the morning. "Newman’s Early years as a Catholic and the Choice of the Oratory" then follows, in which comment is made on the resemblance of the Oratory of St Philip Neri to an College.

The next section is "The Catholic University of Ireland" which references Newman’s commitment to liberal education and the series of Dublin lectures which become the first part of The Idea of a University. It then moves on to talk about the trials and tribulations of "The Rambler Affair" followed by "The Triumph of the Apologia." The swing is continued by "Controversy Again: Conscience and Authority."

The next section is about Newman "The Cardinal" and his struggle against theological and philosophical "liberalism." "Newman as Spiritual Director" tells us of his exercise of ministry through extensive correspondence and the need for self-knowledge. Following this we have "The Final Years" of Newman’s life at the Birmingham Oratory and his death. The book closes with "The Beatification Miracle" recounting the story of Jack Sullivan and the impact of his prayers to Newman.

The author of the book is Father Keith Beaumont of the French Oratorians. Having heard Father Beaumont speak at the beatification conference I was looking forward to reading it. As a presenter I found his style to be most engaging. He conveyed the the reader a sense of a subject in which he has considerable expertise, in a way that avoided the 'bookish' and made it both accessible and interesting. This approach was reflected in his style of writing throughout.

I feel the book would be ideal for someone interested in knowing a little more of Newman and it certainly added to what I had learned when I researched my post The Life of John Henry Newman. The book’s layout and the illustrations make it a pleasant and easy book to read and its overall presentation would make it a nice choice for a gift for a wide variety of readers. It is published by Ignatius Press and the Catholic Truth Society.

If you have seen or read the book then please comment and share your impressions; it would be great to hear other peoples’ perspectives.

Saturday 2 October 2010

Cork Rosary Churches 1 (Gurranabraher)

I have previously said that Bishop Cornelius Lucey became Bishop of Cork on August 24 1952. By May 29 1953 he announced to a monster meeting in the City Hall that the City needed five new churches around its edge and that each would cost at lease IR£80,000. They were to become known as the Rosary Churches, each dedicated to one of the Glorious Mysteries.

Top of the first list of subscriptions in the July 1953 first issue of the Diocesan Magazine The Fold, another initiative of Bishop Lucey and the first such publication in the Country, was the Munster and Leinster Bank, having given IR£2,500. By the time that the last of the five was completed, the central fund had received IR£209,562 6s 4d and IR£1,300 13s 9d was left over.

When you consider the straightened circumstances of the people of Ireland, and especially the people of Cork, during this time, it is easy to see that these Churches, following initial joy, were carried through by hardship and sacrifice, leading to the glories we see today, truly deserve the title of the Rosary Churches.

A mere two years after the first announcement, the first of the churches to be completed was the Church of the Ascension, Gurranabraher, a well-known landmark in the city, situated majestically above the city.

Queen of the Most Holy Rosary, pray for us!
First published on the St. Conleth's Catholic Heritage Association blog in October, 2010.

Our Marian Catholic Heritage

This excerpt from EWTN is an interview broadcast on 11th August, 2010, with Donna O'Connor, a member of St. Conleth's Catholic Heritage Association, about the Shrine of Our Lady at Knock, Co. Mayo, Ireland.

Our Lady of Knock, pray for us!