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.