Saturday, 12 December 2015

The Feast of St. Finian of Clonard

Today being the feast of St. Finian of Clonard and the anniversary of his birth to heaven, I give you an extract from the hymn to St. Finian given in Sir James Ware's The Antiquities and History of Ireland:

Exultemus Finiano
Jubilimus diluculo
Cujus dogma fuit favo
Praedulcius in populo

Regressus in Clonardiam
Ad Cathedram lecturae
Apponit diligentiam
Ad studium Scripturae.

Marcella, as ever, outdoes us in her tributes to our heavenly patron.

St. Finian of Clonard, pray for us!

Friday, 6 November 2015

All the Saints of Ireland

Today is the feast of All the Saints of Ireland.  As in so many other things, we cannot do better on this day than refer you to that most excellent of blogs Omnium Sanctorum Hiberniae and particularly to the article on the Twelve Apostles of Ireland, students of St. Finian at Clonard.

Monday, 26 October 2015

The See of Clonard (Walsh)

From Thomas Walsh's History of the Irish Hierarchy:

See of Clonard
County of Meath

St. Finnian the founder of the monastery and its celebrated school. His successor St. Sennach became its first bishop and presided thirty six years. Sennach died on the 21st of August AD 588.

Clonard had united to it before the synod of Kells in 1152 Slane, Dunshaughlin, Trim, Skrine, Ardbraccan and Fore.

In the thirteenth century Duleek and Kells were united to Clonard.

In 1206 the see was translated from Clonard to Newtown near Trim under the incumbency of Simon Rochefort and a cathedral church erected and since that time its prelates have uniformly assumed the title of bishops of Meath. The founder of the see of Kells is unknown. Dunshaghlin had for its founder St. Sechnal alias Secundinus.

Monday, 21 September 2015

Saint Finian of Clonard (Todd)

From James Henthorn Todd's Memoir of St. Patrick:

The two saints Finnen or Finnian viz., Finnian of Cluain Eraird now Clonard County of Meath and Finnian or Finnbarr of Magh Bile now Moville on the banks of Lough Foyle County of Donegal are given in the catalogue as the first in the list of saints of the second order. The former St Finnian of Clonard was the master of a celebrated school which is said to have produced three thousand disciples. Thus the hymn ad laudes in the Office of St Finnian printed at Paris 1620 and reprinted by Colgan(1) says,-

Trium virorum millium
Sorte fit Doctor humilis
Verbi his fudit fluvium
Ut fons emanans rivulis

And although we may reasonably doubt the authenticity of so large a number it is certain that the school of Clonard was the alma mater of many eminent ecclesiastics. In the Martyrology of Donegal(2) and by the Four Masters(3) this St Finnian is called Tutor (oidhe or foster father) of the saints of Ireland. The Latin author of his life tells us particularly that the celebrated saints who were called the twelve apostles of Ireland together with many others(4) were of his disciples.

We read also(5) that after having been initiated in ecclesiastical learning by St. Fortchern of Trim if this be not an anachronism and afterwards by St. Caiman of Dair inis, an island in the bay of Wexford, Finnian passed over to Kill muine or Menevia(6) afterwards called St. David's and became the associate or disciple the three eminent saints David Cathmael and Gildas.

Cathmael was the original baptismal name the Welsh Saint Cadoc(7) or Cattwg as we learn from his life there cannot therefore be a doubt that the three Welsh preceptors of St. Finnian were the same as the three David Gildas and Docus(8) or Cadocus from whom the Irish saints of the second order are said in the catalogue to have received their masses or liturgies.(9) When about to leave his Welsh associates St. Finnian we are told resolved upon a pilgrimage to Rome but was warned by an angel to proceed rather to his own country where God would receive his intention as equivalent to the pilgrimage he had meditated and grant him the same merits as if he had visited Rome. And accordingly he set out for Ireland to gather together there as his Latin biographer(10) tells us a people acceptable to the Lord In another Life extant in manuscript in the Irish language the same story is told more briefly but with a particular circumstance of some interest which is omitted in the Latin After relating the miraculous defeat of an invading party of Saxons(11) St Finnian with a stroke of his baculus or pastoral staff having caused a mountain to fall upon them the Irish author(12) proceeds After this a desire seized Finnian to go to Rome when he had completed his education But an angel of God came to him and said unto him What would be given to thee at Rome says he shall be given to thee here Arise and renew sound doctrine and faith in Ireland after Patrick This must mean the doctrine and faith which had become corrupted since St Patrick's time It is so understood in the office of St Finnian reprinted(13) by Colgan where we read that when he was meditating a pilgrimage to Rome he was persuaded by an angel to return to Ireland to restore the faith which had fallen into neglect after the death of St Patrick We shall see reason presently to accept this as the real meaning of our author.

(1) Colgan Actt SS Hib p. 401
(2) Donegal At Dec 12
(3) Four Masters At AD 548 (=549 at which year they tell us that he died)
(4) Others Colgan has enumerated 32 eminent saints who were educated in his school Actt SS p 405 App c 3 See also Reeves Adamnan p. 195 note b. The twelve apostles of Ireland were the following 1 Ciaran or Kieran bishop and abbat of Saighir now Seir Kieran King's Co., 2 Ciaran or Kieran abbat of Clomnacnois, 3 Columcille of Hy, 4 Brendan bishop and abbat of Clonfert, 5 Brendan bishop and abbat of Birr now Parsonstown King's Co., 6 Columba abbat of Tirdaglas, 7 Molaise or Laisre abbot of Dam hinis now Devenish island in Loch Erne, 8 Cainnech abbat of Achadh bo, Queen's Co., 9 Ruadan or Rodan abbat of Lorrha Co Tipperary, 10 Mobi Clairenech or the flat faced abbat of Glasnaoidhen now Glasnevin near Dublin, 11 Senell abbat of Cluain inis in Loch Erne, and 12 Nannath or Nennith abbat and bishop of Inis muige samh now Inis mac Saint in Loch Erne.
(5) Also Vit S Finniani c 4 Colgan Actt SS p 393
(6) Menevia In Welsh Hen meneu translated Vetus rubus Muine in Irish and meneu in Welsh signify a bramble bush
(7) St Cadoc Vita S Cadoci ed WJ Rees Lives of Cambro British Saints pp 25-27. This legend represents the name as given by Divine command. A voice came at night to the saint's father predicting that a holy hermit would arrive on the following day to baptize the child nomenque ejus Cat mail vocabitur. A fountain springs up miraculously and in its water the child is baptized by the hermit who is said to have been an Irishman by name Meuthi Postquam autem beatus Meuthi cum solum saltantem conspexit alacriori gau dens animo maturius eundem in ipso sacro fonte baptizavit atque pro precepto angelico nomen ei Cath mail imposuit. The Irish hermit here called Meuthi is evidently the same who in other authorities is termed Tathai and Thaddeus. Colgan Actt SS p 158 c 2 The Life of S Tatheus published by WJ Rees Lives of Cambro British Saints p. 255 expressly identifies him with the tutor of Cadoc Ussher places the school of Tathai at the year 469 Ind. Chr. and Works vol v, p. 116 quoting the authority of John of Timnuth.
(8) Docus The Annals of Ulster at the year 473 mention the death of Doccus a British bishop and ab bat Quies Docci episcopi sancti Britonum abbatis. But this can scarcely be the Docus from whom the second order of saints derived their Mass for the second order are expressly said to have flourished from the close of the reign of Tuathal Maelgarbh ob. 544 to that of Aodh son of Ainmire ob. 599. 
(9) Liturgies. It is remarkable that St Cannech or Canice of Kilkenny is said to have been educated by St. Doc or Docus in Wales: "Perrexit trans mare in Britanniam ad virum sapientem et religiosissimum Doc a Docum legitque apud illum sedule et bonos mores didicit et erat valde humilis et obediens" Vit. S. Cannachi p. 3 Dubl. 1853. This Life was privately printed 100 copies only by the Marquis of Ormonde from a MS preserved in the Burgundian Library Brussels collated with another in Abp. Marsh's Library Dublin.
(10) Biographer. "Ut ibi populum Deo acceptabilem acquireret" Vit. S. Finniani c xi-xi Colgan Actt. SS. p. 394 The Latin Life published by Colgan consists of two parts The first is evidently older than the other and ends with the words Haec de primo libro vitae ejus ex cerpta sunt shewing that it is only an extract from a larger work The second part consists entirely of legends of miracles and was wr1tten after the Catalogue of the Three Orders of Saints which it quotes It begins Igitur Finnianus opti mus sanctorum secundi ordinis abbas volens multiplicare cultum Dei altissimi &c
(11) Saxons. The story is told in the Latin Life c. 8 Colgan loc. cit.
(12) Irish Author. There is a good copy of the Irish Life in the Book Lismore a MS in the possession of the Duke of Devonshire. The Latin author as printed by Colgan although he evidently made use of the Irish of which he frequently adopts the order and often the very expressions omits all allusion to the coruption of the faith in Ireland since St. Patrick's times.
(13) Reprinted Colgan Actt. SS. p. 401. This Office with the Offices of Patrick Columcille Brigid &c was originaly printed at Paris in 1620 under the editorship of Thomas Messingham. The following are the passages above alluded to in 2do Nocturno Lect. vi "Tandem Romam meditanti in Hibemiam reditum Angelus Domini suasit, ad fidem post B. Patricii obitum neglectam restaurandam &c." Finnian is also evidently alluded to as a reformer in the "Hymnus in utrisque ves peris Refulsit sol justidae Quae Pius fuit sub nubilo Cleri contubernia Reformantur divinitus &c." Colg. ib. p. 400.

Thursday, 10 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.

Friday, 26 June 2015

Navan Abbey

From Thomas Walsh's History of the Irish Hierarchy:

Navan at the conflux of the Blackwater and the Boyne. It gives name to the barony. The monastery of Navan for canons regular of St. Augustine was either founded or rebuilt by Joceline Nangle about the end of the twelfth century under the invocation of the Virgin Mary. If it had existed previously cannot be determined. Navan was formerly a town of high repute and had been walled by Hugh de Lacie. Christian Ó Loddan was abbot in the reign of King John.

A.D. 1284 Richard was abbot.
A.D. 1346 Thomas was abbot.
A.D. 1391 John de Warren was elected abbot.
A.D. 1450 John Bole was abbot who procured a bull from Pope Nicholas V granting certain indulgences to all persons undertaking pilgrimages to this abbey or contributing to adorn or repair it.
A.D. 1509 Peter Manne was abbot.
A.D. 1512 Patrick Cantwell was abbot.
A.D. 1539 an annual pension of fifteen pounds was granted to Thomas Wafer, the last abbot. On the site of this abbey a horse barrack has been erected for troopers to do duty there instead of the meek servants of the gospel. This priory with three hundred and sixty acres of land were granted at an annual rent to Robert Dillon.

Friday, 22 May 2015

Prayer for the Church in Ireland

God of our fathers,
renew us in the faith which is our life and salvation,
the hope which promises forgiveness and interior renewal,
the charity which purifies and opens our hearts
to love you, and in you, each of our brothers and sisters.
Lord Jesus Christ,
may the Church in Ireland renew her age-old commitment
to the education of our young people in the way of truth and goodness, holiness and generous service to society.
Holy Spirit, comforter, advocate and guide,
inspire a new springtime of holiness and apostolic zeal
for the Church in Ireland.
May our sorrow and our tears,
our sincere effort to redress past wrongs,
and our firm purpose of amendment
bear an abundant harvest of grace
for the deepening of the faith
in our families, parishes, schools and communities,
for the spiritual progress of Irish society,
and the growth of charity, justice, joy and peace
within the whole human family.
To you, Triune God,
confident in the loving protection of Mary,
Queen of Ireland, our Mother,
and of Saint Patrick, Saint Brigid and all the saints,
do we entrust ourselves, our children,
and the needs of the Church in Ireland.

Pope Benedict XVI
19th March, 2010
Solemnity of St. Joseph

Thursday, 7 May 2015

St. Mary's Church, Navan

The Navan Historical Society tells us:

On 30th July 1796 Bishop Plunkett signed a lease from Peter Earl Ludlow for the site of the chapel for a period of 61 years and a new church was built.

By 1830 the newly appointed parish priest, Father Eugene O'Reilly, decided that a larger church was needed. He had been to Paris and was very impressed by the interior of the Metropolitan Opera House.

His church was modelled on it. "I will build a church that will hold 3000, where everyone can see and hear the priest," he is reported to have said. So a gallery was built all  around the church  (in 1847) to bring the congregation closer to the altar so that everyone could see and hear the priest.

The present St. Mary's Catholic Church is marked as R.C. Chapel. Although the 1837 O.S. map illustrated here predates the Church by 2 years we can assume the basic shape of thechurch had taken form, and was recorded by the map makers.

A local farmer from Clowanstown near Skryne, Thomas Maher offered Fr O'Reilly £50 if he started a new church but not a ha'penny if he didn't.  Subscriptions came on from Protestants and Catholics alike, and within months £600 had been raised. 48 stonemasons offered a fortnight's free labour, farmers gave the use of their horses and carts to haul gravel from Athlumney; the curate Fr McAlroy collected £470 from exiles in England, and so the new church began with Mr Bulger as architect and Mr Madden as foreman.

By the time of its opening in 1839 £4000 had been spent on the building, and a further £2000 would be needed to complete the interior.

Fr O'Reilly did not forget the past. The Edward Smyth Crucifix of the old church became the Crucifix of the new one.  Above all, the patron of the new church was that of the old Abbey - St. Mary or Our Lady under her title of the Assumption. He was laying continuity between his new church and the old Abbey church founded 700 years before. Edward Smyth, a Meathman, and possiblly a Navan man was one of Gandon's sculptors who worked with him on the riverine sculptures on the Custom House Dublin. His  Crucifix is carved from lime wood - his only known work in wood. There is an inscription on the back "EDW SMYTH - DUBLIN - sculpt - 1792." The galleries were installed in 1847 and the bell in 1858.  The high altar was added as a memorial to Dean Anthony Cogan (1826-1872) the Historian of the Diocese, and author of the seminal "History of the Diocese of Meath Ancient and Modern" in 3 vols. Above the altar are the images of the Four Evangelists by Richard King which are rich in colour.

Other Features of St. Mary's:
St. Joseph's Altar on the Trimgate Street side: erected by John O'Neill of Navan and his neice  under  the auspices of Bishop Nulty.
Main Altar in memory of Rev. Anthony Cogan, Historian of the Diocese of  Meath 1823 - 1878. Side Altar, Trimgate Street side. Most Rev. Patrick Plunkett, Bishop of Meath. 1778 - 1827.
Over the High Altar. The painting of the Holy Land landscape is by Navan artist Patrick Reel.

Sunday, 19 April 2015

Pilgrimage to Ireland's Ecclesiastical Capital

The Irish are very devoted to pilgrimage.  In the Golden Age of Faith the Saints of Ireland undertook Peregrinatio Pro Christo to Heaven-knew-where to bring them the Catholic Faith.  It is a startlingly rare thing to make a pilgrimage to Armagh, the seat of Saint Patrick, the Apostle of Ireland, and his successor the Primate of All Ireland, and, in a sense, the spiritual heart and ecclesiastical capital of Ireland.

The present Cathedral, the National Cathedral, as Cardinal Logue called it, was built between 1840 and 1904, the medieval Cathedral having been confiscated during the 16th century.  Historic images of the Cathedral can be seen here.