Monday, 21 March 2016

Easter Ceremonies

Panel from the Monument to St Patrick, Westport, Co. Mayo

Since, this year, the Easter ceremonies come so soon after St Patrick's Day (Holy Thursday being on the 24th, a mere week later), our illustration for Easter has a Patrician theme. One of the panels of the monument in Westport represents St Patrick lighting a fire on Holy Saturday on the hill of Slane, in defiance of the High King whose prerogative it was to light the first fire that evening on the nearby hill of Tara. The words at the top IN DIE ILLA RESURGEMUS are a quotation from the Confession (Par.59):
If I have ever imitated anything good for the sake of my God whom I love, I ask that he grant me to be able to shed my blood with these converts and captives – even were I to lack a grave for burial, or my dead body were to be miserably torn apart limb from limb by dogs or wild beasts, or were the birds of heaven to devour it. I declare with certainty that if this were to happen, I would have gained both my soul and my body. There is no doubt whatever that WE WILL RISE ON THAT DAY in the brightness of the sun, that is, in the glory of Christ Jesus our redeemer. We shall be like children of the living God and co-heirs of Christ and to be fashioned in his image, since it is from him and through him and in him that we are to reign. 

We will be lighting our own Easter fire as usual outside our parish churches and invite you to come and be with us. You will find the times of all the Easter ceremonies in the parish newsletter (p.2) by clicking here.

Sunday, 13 March 2016

'I thought I heard the voice of the Irish' (St Patrick's Confession)

Panel from monument to St Patrick, Westport, Co. Mayo
I thought I heard in my mind the voice of those who were beside the wood of Foclut, near the western sea, calling out “We beg you, holy boy, to come and walk again among us” . This touched my heart deeply. (Confession, Par. 23)

Rogamus te (abbreviated in photo, top left - click on photo to enlarge it) sancte puer ut venias et adhuc ambules inter nos. To read this sentence in the original manuscript now in TCD and dating all the way back to c.807, click here.  Use button top left to get full-screen view, and then use zoom in/out buttons as desired. Our sentence is at lines 23-4, second column.  How wonderful to be able to see this early Irish manuscript up close on your very own desktop, laptop or even smartphone!  (To select another page, press ‘Escape’ on your keyboard to return to the small-screen version with the page-selector on top.)

For a description of the scenes depicted on the other panels, see here.  For the life of Ken Thompson who designed this monument, see here, and here for an article on the Stations of the Cross which he designed for the recently restored cathedral of St Mel's, Longford.

For Mass times and more readings for St Patrick's Day, see the Newsletter (right sidebar).