Tuesday 28 January 2014

Pilgrimage to Limerick

Latin Mass in New Ross

With the kind permission of the Parish Priest and the generous cooperation of the Parish of New Ross and the Society of Saint Oliver Plunkett of the Diocese of Ossory, members and friends of St. Conleth's Catholic Heritage Association made a pilgrimage to New Ross, Co. Wexford, on Saturday, 25th January, 2014, the feast of the conversion of Saint Paul, with a High Mass celebrated in the Gregorian Rite in the Parish Church of Ss. Mary and Michael, at 2 p.m.

Medieval New Ross could boast five Churches, St. Mary's, St. Michael's, St. Saviour's, the Franciscan and Augustinians.  The present Parish Church built upon the former market place replaced an earlier building, now St. Michael's Theatre, in 1902.  The Architect, Walter Glynn Doolin (1850-1902), a student of J.J. O'Callaghan, was responsible for Churches in a range of styles in Southern Ireland: Sacred Heart, Killusty, Co. Tipperary (1882), St. Brigid, Pallasgreen, Co. Limerick (1882), Sacred Heart, Dunhill, Co. Waterford (1884), St. James, Kilorglin, Co. Kerry (1888), St. Carthage, Lismore, Co. Waterford (1892), St. Brigid, Clonakenny, Co. Tipperary (1899), St. Carthage, Castlemain, Co. Kerry (1900), Holy Cross, Ardoyne, Belfast (1900), St. Brigid, Dunaskea, Co. Tipperary (1901), Ss. Mary and Michael, New Ross, Co. Wexford (1902), St. Augustine, Dungarvan, Co. Waterford (1902), Sacred Heart, Roscommon, Co. Roscommon (1903), St. Mary's, Nenagh, Co. Tipperary (1910).  The Church in limestone with granite facings still retains its original Altars by Pearse and Sharpe of Dublin and stained glass by Meyer of Munich.

The site of New Ross traces its origins to the monastic foundation of St. Abban of Doonane. The town was founded under Isabella, daughter of Strongbow and granddaughter of Diarmuid McMorrough, and her husband William Marshall. In that sense, it is doubly a twin town of Kildare, whose medieval foundations are largely due to William Marshall. The town's Royal Charter dates from 1207.

As the last fording point of the River Barrow, it's strategic value has been a constant of its history. The discharge of shot by the armies of Cromwell against one of the ancient gates of the town, Aldgate, known thereafter as Three Bullet Gate, is the origin of the 'Bearna Bhaoil' or 'Gap of Danger' mentioned in Amhráin na bhFiann, the Irish National Anthem. In the 1798 Rebellion, the Rebels led by Kelly of Killane siezed Aldgate and the town, although with immense losses. The Ballad of 'Kelly, the boy from Killane' recalls the event:  

Enniscorthy's in flames and old Wexford is won 
And tomorrow the Barrow we will cross 
On a hill o'er the town we have planted a gun 
That will batter the gateway to Ross 
All the Forth men and Bargy men will march o'er the heath 
With brave Harvey to lead in the van 
But the foremost of all in that grim gap of death 
Will be Kelly the boy from Killane

In the following centuries New Ross became a major emigration port, commemorated in the visit of President John F. Kennedy to the point of departure of his ancestors in 1963. New Ross is the birthplace of Fr. James Cullen, S.J., founder of 'The Messenger of the Sacred Heart, the Pioneer Total Abstinence Association of the Sacred Heart, and of 'Madonna' Official Organ of the Sodalities of Our Lady in Ireland.

Tuesday 14 January 2014

Latin Mass in New Ross, Co. Wexford

The first Mass organised by St. Conleth's Catholic Heritage Association in the Diocese of Ferns will take place at 2 p.m. on Saturday, 25th January, feast of the Conversion of St. Paul, in the Parish Church of Ss. Mary and Michael, New Ross, Co. Wexford.

Monday 6 January 2014

Saint Tuililatha of Kildare, January 6

January 6 is the feast day of a group of three female saints, collectively known as the 'Daughters of Nadfrac'. Often with such groups of saints we do not have the names of the individuals who comprise it, but in this case the sources preserve the identities of  three distinct holy women- Muadhnat, Tuililatha and Osnat- albeit that that they are all commemorated on the same day. The three sisters are associated with monastic foundations in different parts of Ireland. Canon O'Hanlon starts with Saint Muadhnat, but as I have come across some further research on this saint at the last minute, I will start instead with the middle sister, Saint Tuililatha (also known as Tallula, Tuilach and more recently, Tuilclath), a successor to Saint Brigid as abbess of Kildare. At the end of his short piece Canon O'Hanlon follows the authority of the seventeenth-century hagiologist, Father John Colgan, in telling us that she flourished about the year 590, having been somewhat less impressed by the eighteenth-century Anglican antiquary, Mervyn Archdall, author of the famous survey of Irish religious houses, Monasticon Hibernicum (1786):

St. Tallulla or Tulilach, Virgin, and Abbess of Kildare, County of Kildare. [Sixth Century.]

The spouse of Christ leaves her home with its comforts, its joys, and its happy associations, as the bird leaves earth beneath it, soaring upward towards the skies, where it feels exposed to less danger and enjoys truer liberty. A sister to the aforementioned holy Virgin [i.e. St. Muadhnat] was St. Tallulla or Tulilach. By Archdall she is incorrectly called Falulla, and apparently without authority he assigns her rule over a community to A.D. 580. Tallulla, Abbess of Cill-Dara, or Kildare, occurs in the Martyrologies of Marianus O'Gorman and of Donegal, on this day. The epithet, Virgin, is affixed to a nearly similar entry in the Martyrology of Tallagh at the 6th of January. Here she is called Tuililatha. It cannot be ascertained, whether she preceded or succeeded St. Comnat in the government of nuns at Kildare for we only learn that the present holy abbess flourished about the year 590.