Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Pilgrimage to Loughrea Cathedral 2017

On 27th May last members of the Catholic Heritage Association and friends from far and near made a pilgrimage to St. Brendan's Cathedral, Loughrea, for a Traditional Latin Mass.  I was very struck by the kind hospitality of the Cathedral team and to the gentle reverence of the Liturgy that we joined.

If you haven't been to Loughrea Cathedral - and one of the best things about the Catholic Heritage Association is that we devoutly go where few have gone before - you really should see this magnificent House of God.  While almost all of our Churches - prayers in stone - are in the language of Greece or Rome or the simple words of poverty a few have tried to recapture something that is distinctly Irish.  St. Brendan's is predominantly gothic, which is an imported style, rather than the hiberno-romanesque that may be considered a native by adoption in the earliest days of stone church building, but by a happy combination of circumstances it contains so much fruit of the late nineteenth century Celtic revival.

The foundation stone of the cathedral was laid on October 10, 1897, and took six years to complete. The basic fabric is to the design of William Byrne. The cathedral features stained glass windows from An Túr Gloine, the famous Irish stained glass studio, including Michael Healy's Saint Simeon, Madonna and Child, Saint Anthony and Saint John, St. Joseph, Christ the King, Our Lady Queen of Heaven, The Ascension and The Last Judgement, a Saint Brigid window by Evie Hone, an Annunciation, Agony in the Garden, Resurrection, Baptism in the Jordan, St. Ita, St. Patrick and Centurion of Great Faith, all by Childe. There is also a statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary by John Hughes, bronze angels by Michael Shortall and metalwork including communion rails, nave lanterns and stands by William Scott and Michael Shortall. The Stations of the Cross are mosaics by Ethel Rhind. The cathedral was very sensitively reordered with almost nothing removed - except the fine Episcopal Throne now reigning in solitary splendor in the porch under the tower.

Sunday, 14 May 2017

St. Garbhan of Clonshambo and Athgarvan

Regarding Clonshambo in the Parish of Kilcock, Dr. Comerford tells us:

Cluain-seann-both, i.e., "the meadow of the old tent or hut"); this parish may have derived its name from the hermit’s cell of one of the saints who made it their abode. St. Garbhan, brother of St. Kevin of Glendalough, was culted here on the 14th of May. In the Life of St. Kevin it is related that at one time he was inclined to wander about as a pilgrim, but St. Garbhan (probably of Clonshanbo) prevented him by observing that "it was not by flying, birds hatched their eggs.

The patron saint of this district is St. German; the parochial register has "Parochia Sti. Germani de Clonshanbo;" and in Bishop MacGeoghegan’s list of parish churches, compiled about 1640, we find Ecclesia Sti. Germani de Cluenseannbo set down.

Which of the saints of that name was patron here it is not easy to determine. St. Patrick having preached the Gospel in this locality, gives probability to the supposition, that St. German, Bishop of Auxerre, the great spiritual guide under whose direction our National Saint prepared himself for the future Apostleship of Ireland, some say, for 14 years, others, for so many as 30 years, - is meant. Another opinion is that St. German, nephew of St. Patrick, who helped him in his missionary labours, and was afterwards the first Bishop of the Isle of Man, was the saint honoured at Clonshanbo. There is yet another theory on this subject. In the Life of St. Ciaran of Saighar, mention is made of a holy hermit named Geaman, or Gemman, who is called German by Colgan, and is identical with a bard of that name "who lived in Leinster, near the confines of Meath."

It is related that St. Columba, after receiving the Holy Order of Deaconship in the monastery of St. Finian of Mohill, set out for Leinster, and became a pupil of this Gemman, then advanced in years, and after passing some time with him, he entered the monastic school of Clonard (Loca. Patr., p.298). Between these three the choice seems to lie. The second-name is honoured in the Martyrology of Tallaght, at the 30th of July: German MacGuill."

Regarding Athgarvan in the Parish of Newbridge, he also relates

Father Shearman (Loca Patr. Gen. Tab. 10p.180) surmises that the name of this place may be derived from St. Garbhan (Ath-Garbhan, i.e., “the Ford of Garbhan”), nephew of St. Finnan of Clonard, and kinsman of St. Kevin of Glendalough. This Saint, whose feast was assigned to May 14th, was identified also with Clonshambo, as already stated in the Paper on Kilcock."

St. Garbhan of Clonshambo and Athgarvan, pray for us!