Saturday, 26 September 2015

High Mass for Galway Cathedral 50th Anniversary

This afternoon, members and friends of the Catholic Heritage Association of Ireland gathered for an historic High Mass in the Gregorian Rite to mark the 50th Anniversary of the dedication of Galway Cathedral.  The Mass was offered for the benefactors of the Catholic Heritage Association of Ireland.

Given the date, months after the Instruction 'Inter Ocumenici' (26th September, 1964), and the Decree of the Congregation of Rites (27th January, 1965) issuing the 'interim' Missal, it is likely that today's Mass was the very first time that Mass was celebrated using the Missal of 1962 in Galway Cathedral.

Priests from several Dioceses and servers from several branches of the Catholic Heritage Association around Ireland were very ably accompanied by the Lassus Scholars of the Dublin Choral Foundation for the Mass of the Ember Saturday in September.

On the previous day, a very successful training day for Priests on the celebration of Mass in the Gregorian Rite was organised by the Catholic Heritage Association, again in Galway Cathedral, with the support of the Archdiocese of Tuam and the Diocese of Galway, and a further series of training days are planned for the Western Dioceses in the coming months.

Galway Cathedral is the eighth Cathedral in which the Catholic Heritage Association has organised a pilgrimage with Mass in the Gregorian Rite in the past year.  Two further pilgrimages to Cathedrals, including Traditional Latin Masses are scheduled for October.  The Catholic Heritage Association of Ireland now has branches based in half of Ireland's 26 Dioceses.

The Diocese of Galway is the youngest Diocese in Ireland.  While most of our native Dioceses date from the Synods of Ráth Breasail (1111) or Kells (1152), the Diocese of Galway didn't come into being until much later.  In 1485, Pope Innocent VIII created the Wardenship of Galway, a quasi-diocesan structure removed from the Ordinary jurisdiction of the Archbishops of Tuam.  Only in 1831 did it become a Diocese, later to be joined with Kilfenora and perpetual Apostolic Administration of Kilmacduagh (1883).

The Diocese is young in another sense.  The population of the Diocese has doubled since 1950, 91% of them being Catholic.  Thanks to the presence of the National University of Ireland, Galway, and Galway Mayo Institute of Technology, 17% of the population are students and 30% are aged between 15 and 24 years.

The youngest Diocese in the Country also has the youngest Cathedral.  The Cathedral of Our Lady Assumed into Heaven and Saint Nicholas was built upon the site of Galway gaol, which was, as Dr. Browne, the then Bishop of Galway wrote: "...Now that the site has become available, I submit to you there could be no more noble or more fitting use than to erect on it a Cathedral in thanksgiving to God, Who sustained our people in their days of trial. A Cathedral replacing a jail is the most perfect symbol of the triumph of a people who were proscribed for being Irish and Catholic. A noble Cathedral on this site would be also a fine addition to the beauty and dignity of this City of Galway, and an object of pride to all in the country..."

The Cathedral is built upon Nun's Island in the River Corrib, which was granted by the City Council of Galway on 10th July, 1649, to the Poor Clare Nuns, whose present Convent on the site has been in continuous occupation since 1825.

Construction of the Cathedral began in 1958 in an eclectic style that was a fusion of baroque, gothic and American missionary styles.  It was the last Catholic Cathedral to be built in Ireland - although a few Dioceses still retain their Pro-Cathedrals in expectation - and the last Cathedral in Europe to be built of stone.  The Cathedral was dedicated on 15th August, 1965.  Richard, Cardinal Cushing, Archbishop of Boston, was the Papal Legate.

The Diocese also has a regular Gregorian Rite Mass offered every Sunday at 2.30 p.m. in the Dominican Church, the Claddagh, by Canons of the Institute of Christ the King.

Wednesday, 9 September 2015

National Latin Mass Pilgrimage to Knock 2015

The National Latin Mass Pilgrimage is a special event in Knock.  Unique among Latin Mass pilgrimages around the Country, His Grace, the Archbishop of Tuam has designated this pilgrimage under his own authority and appointed a chaplain, Fr. John Loftus of the Diocese of Killala.

The organisation of the National Pilgrimage was undertaken by Our Lady's Catholic Heritage Association in co-ordination with the other Catholic Heritage Associations around the Country but all Latin Mass Communities, Chaplaincies, Associations and groups around the Country are invited to participate each year.

As usual, the main exercises of the pilgrimage took place in the old Parish Church of Knock, whish stood when the apparitions took place.  The apparitions are uniquely Eucharistic in that the Blessed Sacrament was present in the form of the Lamb of God with Our Lady, St. Joseph and St. John, during the whole of the apparition.  That may be the reason for the silence of the apparition and perhaps the key to it's central message, the importance of silence in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament - very appropriate for the Traditional Latin Mass.

There was a tremendous turn out from all parts of the Country for a Missa Cantata of Our Lady celebrated by Fr. Loftus.  In keeping with the exercises of the official pilgrimages to the Shrine, the Missa Cantata was followed by the Stations of the Cross and the pilgrimage concluded with Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament.

Monday, 13 July 2015

The foundation of Clonfert

This account is taken from the Lives of the Irish Saints by John Canon O'Hanlon (1821-1905) for 16th May, beginning in Chapter III at p. 450 in my edition.

In the year of grace 561,[82] our present St. Brendan is said to have flourished in Ireland. This is about the period, to which the foundation of Clonfert city has been ascribed,[83] and, while the holy man was in his seventy-seventh year;[84] although, other accounts place it at an earlier date,[85] while the Annals of Inisfallen synchronize it with the very day on which the battle of Culdreimhe had been fought.[86] An angel is said to have directed its foundation.[87] While our saint lived there, a monk, who had left his parents in Britain, and who had travelled with St. Brendan, died. The third day after his departure, the holy old Abbot said to the Bishop, St. Moeneiu: "Place my bacillus over the body of the dead brother." Accordingly, St. Moeneiu set it on the stiff cold corpse, when the monk was restored to life. Afterwards, that brother, filled with faith in our holy Brendan's miraculous power, went safely home to his province in Britain.[88] It was a journey of three days, from Clonfert of St. Brendan, in the province of Connaught, to the monastery of Chiayn-Credal,[89] in that territory of Munster, where his holy nurse St. Ita lived, and whose departure to Heaven now approached. On the night or vigil of our Lord's Nativity, the pious virgin said within herself: "Would that on this very holy morning, I could receive the Body of Christ, from the hand of my venerable foster-son Brendan." Then, rising on the instant, to celebrate the vigil in her monastery, like the holy Abacuch,[90] she was raised by an Angel and brought to the city of St. Brendan, at Clonfert. Knowing in the spirit, what was to occur, the holy superior went out from the porch of his church, to meet St. Ita with the Holy Communion. The Angel placed that fovoured virgin on the ground, where she received the Body of our Lord from the hand of St. Brendan, while offering thanks to God. Giving and receiving mutually a blessing, the virgin of Christ was raised once more by the Angel, and brought to her monastery. Her translation through the air to Clonfert and back to Cluayn-Credal only occupied an hour.[91]

St. Brendan made a journey into the province of Connaught, where a field was presented to him. In after times, and even to the present day, that place has been called Clonfert.[92] Here arose a once celebrated city, because our saint began there the erection of a religious establishment.[93] That former famous city — the head of an episcopal See — has now dwindled away to an inconsiderable village. In our Annals, it is usually called Clonfert of Brendan, to distinguish it from many other places so denominated, in different parts of Ireland.[94] This was a principal one of St. Brendan's erections, and there it was known, in his time, as Clonfert monastery, near the River Shannon. Its foundation has been ascribed to the year 558.[95] Over this Abbey, he was called upon to preside, as superior of a fervent religious community. He is said afterwards to have been a bishop.[96] It has been stated, moreover, that a great educational institute was erected by St. Brendan, at Clonfert.[97]  This college deserves to be ranked in the first place, among the sacred and literary institutions of Ireland. Theology, philosophy, the sciences, and general literature, were taught within its walls. The numbers that resorted to it for education were so great, that in a few years, it became necessary to appoint a bishop, for the purpose of ordaining missionaries, and of serving the churches, which grew up in the adjacent country.

 In legend, too, he is associated with the place. On a certain day, Brendan was at Cluain-ferta, in his church, after preaching and the Mass. This happened fourteen years before his death. He saw a wonderful bird coming in at the window, and after that, it perched on the altar. However, Brenainn was not able to look at it, in consequence of a sun-like radiance that gleamed.