Monday, 12 December 2016

Saint Aidan of Ferns (Walsh)

From Walsh's Ecclesiastical History of Ireland, 1891, c. xix, p. 171 ff:


Saint Aidanus, commonly called Moedoc, or Moeg. His first name was Hugh. He was of an illustrious family of Connaught; was the son of Setna, of the Hy-Bruin sept (BrefFny) and Ethne, his mother being of the race of Aiilai in Tyrawley; they were a long time married without having issue. They frequently supplicated the Almighty to listen to their praj'ers and grant them a son. They were in the habit of visiting the monastery of Drum-leathan, and of giving abundant alms. At length their pious prayers were favorably listened to, and our Saint Maidoc was born on a small island, Inis-Breagh-Mugli, in the county of Cavan. (Tlie territory now known as Cavan was then a portion of Connaught called BrefFny Oreilly.)

The time of his birth was about the year 560, as appears from the fact that when a small boy he was delivered as one of the hostages whom the chiefs of the father's sept were compelled to give Anmiracus, king of Ireland, and whose reign began in 568 and ended in the year 571. "When he returned to his parents, they consigned him to the care of some holy men for his education, and he soon became a proficient in piety as well as in his studies. While yet young, his reputation for sanctity became so conspicuous that several pious persons were inclined to join him in his exercises of devotion and become his disciples. The Saint, too humble to accept of such a distinction, and to avoid any importunity arising from their desire, left his own country and repaired to Menevia, in "Wales, the establishment of St. David  here also, his sane tity became celebrated. About the year 589 he departed from St. David's, and having landed in the county of Wexford, he erected a church at Ardlathran, in the southern part of that county. He soon after erect ed another at Clonmore in the barony of Baiitry, and being much revered by Brandubh, king of Leinster, this prince assigned him, a site on which he built the celebrated Monastery of Ferns about the year 598. At the request of Brandubh, a synod was soon after convened, in which it was decreed that Ferns should be an episcopal see, and besides raised to the dignity of an archbishopric — not such as now canonically exists, but something in the shape of preeminence arising from the dignity and sanctity, and the character of the individual (such as St. Fiech, of Sletty). Hence we find various bishops called metropolitans of Connaught, of Lcinster, though it is certain neither province enjoyed the title until
the synod held at Kells in 1152, under Cardinal Paparo. The title was also one of courtesy, as it was often conferred through the favor of princes.

The memory of St. Maidoc or Aidan is highly revered in Wales, and several miracles have been attributed to him. He died on the 31st of January, 632.

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

The successors of Saint Aidan (1222-1539) (Walsh)

From Walsh's Ecclesiastical History of Ireland, 1891, c. xix, p. 177 ff:

John de St. John, treasurer of the cathedral of Limerick and of Ireland, succeeded in 1223. He erected or endowed a deanery in his church, and made the priory of Enniscorthy, with the consent of the
patron, a cell to the abbey of St. Thomas, near Dublin. He is also classed among the principal benefactors to his church, on account of the buildings he erected, and of the privileges which he procured for his see. In September, 1240, he convened a diocesan synod at "Wexford, in the abbey of Saints Peter and Paul, at Selsker. This prelate granted to the abbey of Douske or the vale of St. Saviour, all the land of Killacy, reserving a yearly rent of ten shillings payable to him and to his suc-
cessors. Having governed his see about twenty-one years, with great credit and integrity, he died in the year 1243.

Geoffrey St. John, the brother of his predecessor and official of Ferns, succeeded him in the year 1243; he had also been treasurer of the cathedral of Limerick, and escheator of Ireland before his promotion to the see. Before his death he petitioned Pope Alexander IV against Fulk, archbishop of Dublin, for burdening him with too great a retinue in his visitations, which was not warranted by the canons of the Lateran council, and through which he was obliged to incur larger expenses than the income of his diocese would permit; the Pope granted him a a license not to receive the archbishop with greater numbers in his trail, than the canons allowed.

Hugh de Lampert, treasurer of Ferns, was elected in 1258, and was consecrated the same year. He is reckoned among the benefactors to the abbey of St. Alban's, in England. He died on the 23d of May,

Eichard de Northampton, canon of the cathedral of Eallaloe, succeeded in 1282, and was consecrated the following year. He died in the year 1303, and in the twenty-first of his consecration, and was
buried at Ferns, in the cathedral of St. Aidan.

Simon de Evesham, succeeded in 1304, and consecrated in June; died in the following September.

Robert Walrand, succeeded in 1305. Governed the see about six years, and died at Ferns, on tlie 17th of November, 1311.

Adam de Northampton, succeeded in 1312, and was consecrated bishop of Ferns on Trinity Sunday. He appropriated the church of Maglass to the deanery of his cathedral on the 29th of October, 1346.
While Adam sat, Ferns and its castle were plundered, and set on fire by the Irish, who are called by English writers rebels. He adhered to Edward Bruce, on his arrival in those parts, and to Robert his brother, for which he was called to account for his treason in furnishing provisions, men and arms, to the invaders.

Hugh de Saltu, so called from the place of his birth, at Leixlip, near the Salmon-leap, on the Liffey, prebendary of St. Patrick's, Dublin, was consecrated in tliat city on Passion Sunday, 1347; he was
deprived before the end of the year by the Pope, who alleged that he had reserved to himself the provision to the see of Ferns.

Geoffrey Grosseld, doctor of divinity, and an Augustin hermit, succeeded by provision of Pope Clement VI., and was consecrated at Avignon, 1347, and died in the following year, October the 22d, of the plague, which was very fatal both in England and Ireland.

John Esmond, was consecrated about the end of 1349, and was soon after deprived by the Pope. John determined to hold the bishopric by force, or hinder his successor from the possession of it. In his resistance he was supported by William Furlong, and twenty-six others, who prevented the sheriff from enforcing the writ, commanding him to remove all force from the church and diocese of Ferns. Soon after, John Esmond was arrested, and obliged to give bail for keeping the peace, and to abide the judgment of the king's bench, on an indictment preferred against him.

William Chamells, a monk, was provided to the see by the Pope, in 1350, and obtained the temporals. When the castle of Ferns was taken by the Irish rebels, he, in person, headed a party of his servants and dependents, and putting the assailants to flight, recovered his castle. He sat about twelve years, and was a short time treasurer of Ireland. He died in July, 1362.

TSiomas Den, archdeacon of Ferns, was consecrated on Trinity Sunday, 1363, and sat upwards of thirty-seven years. He died in a very advanced age, in August, 1400.

Patrick Barrett, an Augustin canon of Kells in Ossory, succeeded, A.D. 1400. He was, by command of the Pope, consecrated at Rome. He was for a time chancellor of Ireland, and exercised that ofiice with great ability. He appropriated the church of Ardcolen to the abbey of Saints Peter and Paul, at Selsker, near Wexford. Patrick died in November, 1415, and was buried in the abbey of Kells.

Robert Whittey, chanter of Ferns, was promoted to the see by Pope Martin V., in 1416. He appropriated the church of Ardkevin to the abbey at Selsker, and died in 1458. He was bedridden almost ten years before his death. He had, according to Wadding, a Franciscan friar, Thady, as his coadjutor, in 1451.

John Pursell, who succeeded in 1459, governed the see about twenty years. Died in 1479.

Lawrence Nevil, canon of Ferns, was advanced to the see by provision of Pope Sixtus IV., and obtained the temporals on the 20th of May, 1480. He sat twenty-three years, and died in 1503.

Edmond Comerford, dean of Kilkenny, was consecrated in St. Canice's church, in the year 1505. Having presided four years, he died on Easter Sunday, 1509.

Nicholas Comyn was consecrated bishop of Ferns, in St. Paul's church, London, in January, 1509. He must have been coadjutor to Edmond Comerford, or Edmund must have resigned. Bishop Nicholas
was translated to the sees of Waterford and Lismore in 1519.

John Pursell, succeeded to the see of Ferns, in 1519. He was consecrated at Rome on the 6th of May, of this year. He was committed a prisoner to the custody of the marshal of the exchequer, on the 1st
of September, 1531; the reason is unknown. He died on the 20th of July, 1539.

Saturday, 20 August 2016

The Abbeys of New Ross (Walsh)

From Walsh's Ecclesiastical History of Ireland, 1891, c. lxv, p. 708 ff:

Ross-Mic-Trian, called Rossglassna Muimneach, a beautiful sea-port on the river Barrow, in the barony of Bantry; carries on an extensive trade, and is also a parliamentary borough. This town was formerly strongly fortified; in high repute, and adorned with many religious houses.

It obtained the name of "Kossglass na muimneach," from the great number of Munstermen who followed St. Evin thither, when he founded the monastery of Rossmictreoin. It is not to be confounded with another Rossglass, in a northern part of Leinstei, now called Monastereven.

St. Evin is said to have been the brother of St. Cormac, who was of the royal blood of Munster, of the Eugenian line. Having left his own country, he arrived in the neighborhood of the Barrow, and founded his monastery of Rossmictreoin. Evin was contemporary with St. Molua, of Clonfert-Molua, who visited him in this monastery, when its abbot, and there performed miracles. The name of St. Evin appears in several Irish calendars. His death is assigned to a 22d of December, prior to the year 602, as he died in the reign of Brandubh, king of Leinster.

Crouched friary was built on the summit of a hill, in the town.  One of the friars having killed a principal inhabitant, the whole body of the people arose, put the friars to death, and totally destroyed the abbey.

On its site was erected, by Sir John Devereux, the monastery of St. Saviour, for conventual Franciscans.

A.D. 1300, the founder granted to these friars a certain duty on all ships coming into the port of Ross.

A.D. 1283, Henry was prior.

A.D. 1310, about this time the town was walled, the friary included.

A.D. 1318, a provincial chapter of the order was held here on the feast of St. Bartholomew.

A.D. 1333, on March 6th, died Adam de Callen, guardian of Ross, who had filled that office for twenty-four years.

A.D. 1345, in a chapter held at Clane, in Kildare, this friary was assigned to the wardenship of Dublin.

A.D. 1406, the friars complaining to Henry IV. that the provost and burgesses levied taxes on the ships, merchants, &c., within the friar's bounds, contrary to the grant of the founder, the king confirmed the aforesaid grant on the 8th of December, James, earl of Ormond, being then lord lieutenant.

At the suppression, this house was granted to the earl of Ormond.

Inquisition taken on the 30th of June, thirty-first of Queen Elizabeth, finds that seven acres of land in Glean St. Saviour, annual value, besides reprises, 3s., were parcel of the possessions of this friary.

The east end of the building is now the parish church, of course the Protestant.

Augustinian friary, was founded, in the reign of Edward III., for eremites of St. Augustine. The name of the founder is lost in oblivion.

Robert Everard was prior.

John Gregory was the last prior. On the 20th of March, and in the thirty-first of king Henry VIII., he was seized of a church and belfry, hall, dormitory, and some other buildings, within the precincts, and a cemetery, the whole containing one acre, annual value, besides reprises 3s. 4:d. ; also of one tenement, one messuage, and five gardens in Ross, annual value, besides reprises, 13s. 2d. ; and twenty acres of arable land, thirty of pasture, and two of wood, in Polcapbuil, annual value, besides reprises, l0s. 2d.

In the thirty-fifth of Henry, this abbey, with its property, was granted for ever to Richard Butler at the annual rent of 17d. Irish.

Tuesday, 9 August 2016

The Successors of St. Aidan (-1222) (Walsh)

From Walsh's Ecclesiastical History of Ireland, 1891, c. lxv, p. 703 ff:

Dachua or Mochua Luachra, a native of Munster, abbot, and bishop of Ferns, was the immediate successor of St. Maidoc [St. Aidan]. In the life of St. Maidoc it is stated, that being about to cross a certain ford, he said to his charioteer, that the person who would open for them the entrance to it, would sit in his see after himself. A number of students who were there amusing themselves near the ford, and among whom was Mochua, who ran and opened the passage to the ford, as soon as the
saint came up. He then said with great humility to the saint: "holy man of God, I wish to go witli you and live under your discipline."

The saint asking him whence he was, and what his name, he replied, I am from Munster, and of the people who inhabit Luachra, and my name is Cronan. The saint then said, "henceforth you shall be called Mochua Luachra; come, then, and follow me." Accordingly Mochua went with the saint, and remained with him until his death. His progress in piety and learning was so great, that St. Maidoc appointed him as his successor in the see of Ferns. Mochua died in the year 652.  His festival is observed on the 22d of June.

Tuenoc succeeded as abbot and bishop of Ferns, and died in 662.

Maldogar, bishop of Ferns, died in 677.

Dirath succeeded, and died about 691.

Saint Molingus or Dairchill, was a native of Hy-Kinsellagh, and his descent has been traced to the royal house of Leinster. Having embraced a monastic life, he founded a monastery, called after him Teagh-Moling, near the Barrow, in the county of Carlow. He governed the monastery several years, and occasionally sojourned at Glendaloch, until 691, when he was consecrated bishop of Ferns He was styled archbishop in virtue of the precedence which King Brandubh conferred on the see of Ferns. He succeeded in inducing Finacta, monarch of Ireland, to remit the tribute of oxen, which had so heavily pressed on the province of Leinster for a considerable time. It is also stated that he foretold some things relative to the affairs of Ireland. He died on the 17th of June, 697, and has been considered as one of the principal saints of Leinster. He is called one of the four prophets of Ireland.

Killen, his successor in the see, died A.D. 714.

Arectacius Mac Cuanach, bishop of Ferns, died in 737. A void occurs in the records of the succeeding bishops and abbots for nearly a century, as the Danes cnielly oppressed Ferns.

Laidgene, comorban of Ferns, died A.D. 973.

Dermod O'Rudican, bishop of Ferns, died in 1048.

Cairbric O'Kerny, called bishop of Ferns and comorban of St. Maidoc, died in 1095.

Kellach O'Colman, bishop of Ferns, died in 1117.

Carthag O'Malgabry.

Melisa O'Cathan.

Ilory O'Trassy. When these three prelates sat is not known.

Bridgiu O'Cathlan, called successor of Maidoc, died in 1172. He must have resigned long before his death. The names of abbots and bishops are sometimes synonymous in the annals of Ireland. There is,
however, an uncertainty, unless the appellation of bishop be appended. The names of the abbots of Ferns will be given when treating of the abbey.

Joseph O'llethe governed the see of Ferns about thirty years. He is called bishop of "Wexford in the foimdation charter of the abbey of Dungiven. It is related of him that he was employed in a stratagem
to obtain a surrender of the castle of Carrig, in 1171, or the year following, by manifest perjury, but the charge was incorrect. He died in 1185, and was buried, it is said, in Wexford.

Albinus O'Mulloy, succeeded in 1186, and was sometimes, as his predecessor, styled bishop of Wexford. Perhaps there was some resolve at the time to change the see to that city. Albinus was abbot of Baltinglass. After the death of St. Lawrence, the see of Dublin was conferred on an Englishman, John Cumin, because Henry of England was at the time intent on transferring the dominion of the kingdom of Ireland to his son John; and as if to prepare the way for his reception,
none but an English ecclesiastic should be appointed to preside over the important see of Dublin. The person who was recommended was this John Cumin, a learned and eloquent ecclesiastic, and who had filled, for several years, some situation in the royal palace. Four years had elapsed from the period of the death of his sainted predecessor, until John had arrived in Dublin. In the meantime the coffers of Henry II must have been replenished by the spoils of the see, as he had immediately, on the decease of Lawrence, seized on and collected the episcopal revenues.

John Cumin, the first Englishman who ever sat in an Irish see, and representing that class of Britons who were so zealous of reform in the Irish church, resolved to signalize his episcopacy by some memorable act of pastoral care and solicitude. A provincial synod afforded him such a facility, and it was accordingly held about the middle of Lent, 1185, in the cathedral of Christ church. The decrees of which were of a disciplinary character, and most of them had been already sanctioned by long usage or ratified by positive enactments in former synods, of the Irish prelates. On the first day of meeting the archbishop himself preached on the sacraments, as is usually the case to open the business by a sermon. On the second day, Albinus O'Mulloy, then abbot of Baltinglass, delivered a powerful and impressive discourse on the subject of clerical continence; in the course of his observations the learned preacher dwelt on the unsullied character of the Irish priesthood, and in terms of grief and indignation inveighed most bitterly against the English and Welsh clergy who had
come over to Ireland: upbraided them with having polluted the altars of his country by their filthy and abominable crimes, and in tears of anguish assured them, that crying scandals of this sort were unheard in the Irish church, until aliens and adventurers had been authorized to come amongst them. Albinus, by his just censures, produced the desired efifect. Scarcely had he descended from his pulpit, when those English ecclesiastics began to recriminate and accuse each other, each one asserting more criminality in the other, and thus publicly exposing themselves to the contempt and scom of the Irish clergy. Numbers of them were convicted, and suspended by the archbishop, from ecclesiastical functions, and from the enjoyment of their benefices. Good and gracious God! why allow this profanation of a sanctuary so pure and unsullied?

Though impiety may, in its momentary career, tarnish the beauty of religion, it is not to he screened from public censure. Hence it is, that the inspired penmen in recording the crime, in bold relief, place before the reader the punishment thereof, in order to guard us against its dangerous and pernicious influence, — if then the scribes and pharisees sit in the chair of Moses, we are exhorted by the Redeemer himself not to imitate their vicious example.

God himself obeys with equal pi-omptitude, the voice of the bad as of the good priest, because the power is the same — the burden and the dignity similar. If some among the dispensers of God's mysteries have been dissolute, their excesses are more than recompensed by the virtues and merits of others who lead an exemplary life. In that special predilection which the Saviour of the world has shown for the virtue of continence — in its practice by the apostles from the period of their vocation,
the Church, moreover, guided by the experience of centuries, and too well aware of its utility, enforces this holy and salutary discipline, when her ministers voluntarily embrace it, — it is a virtue which throws a halo of glory, a charm of admiration around the faithful servant of the altar, ennobles his very movements in the sanctuary, sanctifies and renders more pleasing in the sight of God the oblation of the immaculate lamb — that angelic virtue which adorns and burnishes those functions
entrusted to the priesthood. Hence it is the right of religion and of those to whom its services are administered, that the sacrifice of religion be oifered with hands pure and clean : as the ambassadors of heaven on this earth, which we tread, they are as much as possible to represent those in the immediate employ of their heavenly Father, — it is that \irtue which endeared the virgin apostle to his incarnate master, and to whose virginal care was commended the virgin mother of a virgin God.

In past ages the most venerable in the church, because so exalted above human ideas, and so worthy of a divine origin, as it constitutes the true champion of the cross, the true soldier of Christ, to carry his standard amidst the conflicts of life, and by his victories over flesh and blood, extend tlie dominion of his heavenly employer; that virtue which gives to the minister of the altar that true and real liberty whereby he is emancipated, as if from worldly pursuits — disenthralls his affections from the transitory objects of life — renders him the father of the orphan, the protector of the oppressed, and the comforter of the poor and the indigent — renders him really useful to his people, and devoted to their wants and necessities — master of himself, of his time, of his talents, of those resources which a grateful flock are ever disposed to place in the hands of that pastor, whose desires are centered in their welfare, and whose actions evince zeal in the faithful discharge of his arduous but sweet labors ; armed with this staff, and his brow adorned with the garland of virginity, he becomes firm and inflexible, when vice is to be reproved and extirpated— calm and stem, when virtue is to be inculcated and enforced. Thus shall he be free, in this vale of tears, of reproacli, — full of hope in future reward, when about to enter on that "bourne," whence the traveller does not return.

On the 3d day of the synod, Gerald Barry, by order of the archbishop of Dublin, preached, or rather delivered a tirade against the Irish clergy and the whole nation. It seems that the facts which Albinus O'MuUoy laid at the doors of tlie English priests, were incontrovertible. In his demeaning display, Gerald exhibited his malignity, as well as his ignorance of the ecclesiastical antiquities, manners, and
customs of the Irish people. "With all his prejudices, the force of truth elicited the acknowledgment that the "clergy of Ireland were very commendable for religion ; among other virtues, which distinguish them, they excelled and were preeminent in the prerogative of continence, and likewise, said he, they attend regularly and vigilantly to the psalms and hours, to reading and prayer, and remaining within the precincts of their churches, do not absent themselves from the divine offices,
to the celebration of which they have been appointed. They also," continued Gerald, "pay great attention to abstinence and sparingness of food, so that the greatest part of them fast almost every day until dusk, and until they have completed all the canonical offices."

Tlie chastisement which St. Lawrence O'Toole had been obliged to inflict on the English clergy for their incontinence and scandalous deportment with no unsparing hand, was not calculated to check the evil; they still poured into Ireland, and eacli party, as they landed, seemed to vie and outrival the preceding one in open profligacy and debauchery. If such scandalous demeanor pervaded generally the clergy of England in the beginning of the sixteenth century, we can easily account for the
universal defection from the faith that took place, and for the little resistance to the schismatical proceedings of Henry VIII.

Tlie unsuccessful debut of Gerald Barry on this important occasion contributed to check the haughty and domineering temper of this sacerdotal reviler of a nation. Though anxious to decorate his brow with a mitre, he refused the vacant see of Ferns, which his patron, Prince John had offered, and soon after returned to his own country — mortified by the disgraceful conduct of his countrymen, and the public exposure of their crimes.

A strong hand being necessary to extirpate such an evil; and as several of the English ecclesiastics became located in the diocese of Ferns, it was the anxious wish of the native clergy and of Archbishop Cumin, to select an Irishman of zeal and firmness to preside over it. Albinus liaving already exhibited proof of his ability in grappling with such a difficulty, was chosen, and having been accordingly consecrated, commenced that salutary reform, by which the English priests were taught the practice of Irish discipline and Irish morality.

Having had to institute proceedings against William, earl of Pembroke and earl marshal of England, who seized on certain manors, which belonged to the see of Ferns from time immemorial, and which
were set apart for the maintenance of the poor, and who added them to his already extensive estates. Against such an usurpation of the property the bishop remonstrated; his suit was a failure, as no tribunal could be either able or willing to decide impartially. The earl, however, soon after regretted his misconduct, and strove to repair it by his patronage of charitable foundations. Albin, having governed the see thirty-six years, died A.D. 1222.

Saturday, 25 June 2016

Ferns Abbey (Walsh)

From Walsh's Ecclesiastical History of Ireland, 1891, c. lxv, p. 100 ff:

Ferns, an episcopal seat on the river Banne, about five miles north of Enniscorthy. St. Maidoc, or Aidanus, was the founder.

A.D. 601, King Brandubh was interred here.

A.D. 834, the Danes destroyed Ferns with fire.

A.D. 836, they repeated their barbarous conduct.

A.D. 838, another attack on Ferns by the Danes.

A.D. 868, died the Abbot Dermot.

A.D. 917, the Danes ravaged and plundered the abbey.

A.D. 944, died the Abbot Flathgus.

A.D. 975, the Abbot Conding died.

A.D. 1166, Diarmid Mac Murchad, king of Leinster, set fire to, and destroyed the town.

In atonement for this breach of humanity, this prince founded an abbey here, under the invocation of the Virgin Mary, for canons regular of St. Augustine, and endowed it with so much of the lands of Ballisisin and Ballilacussa, as would form the site of a village; Borin, Roshena and Kilbridy for two villages; and the lands of Ballisislan, in Fothert, near "Wexford, and those of Munemoth, in Ferneghenal; also a cell at Thamoling, being the chapel of St. Mary; the lands of Baligery with its fisheries, and his own chapelry; together with all the tithes and first fruits of the demesne of Perhukenselich, and a flagon of ale out of every brewing in Ferns; the cell of Finnachia, in Ferns
aforesaid, and the lands of Balliculum and Ballinafussin, with three acres adjoining the said cell. Witnesses: Christian, of Lismore, legate, Donat, bishop of Leighlin; Joseph, bishop of Ferns; Domnald, bishop of Ossory; Malachy, bishop of Kildare; Celestine, bishop, and Laurence, abbot of Glendaloch."

A.D. 1171, on the 1st of May, died impenitent, without sacraments or extreme unction, Dermot, the founder, and was interred here.

A.D. 1172, died the abbot Brighdean O'Cathan.

Dowyll was the last abbot. He surrendered in the thirty-first of Henry VIII. The possessions of this abbey in lands consisted of 590 acres, with the tithes and appurtenances thereof, all situate and lying
in this county.

November 20th, twenty-sixth of Queen Elizabeth, a lease of this abbey for the term of sixty years was granted to Thomas Masterson, at the annual rent of £16.

Monday, 29 February 2016

Latin Mass Pilgrimage to Craanford

The beautiful settlement of Craanford is steeped in history.  The ancient monasteries of Rossminogue and Clonmona are nearby.  At Rossminogue there is an ancient High Cross.  Clonamona is also the site of a megalithic monument, a stone 'pair'.

The despised Hunter Gowan, eighteenth and nineteenth century persecutor of the Faith and destroyer of Churches, lived nearby at Mount Nebo.  At the height of the 1798 Rising the old Church of Craanford was burned by the Yeomen.  The present Church dedicated to St. Patrick, was built in 1844 by Keatings of Clonamona who also built the Church in Monaseed and the Cathedral in Enniscorthy.

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Saint Aidan of Ferns (Brenan)

From An ecclesiastical history of Ireland: from the introduction of Christianity into that country, to the year 1829, by Michael John Brenan, Volume 1 (1840), from p. 149:

The See of Ferns was founded by St. Aidan or Maidoc about the year 600. Aidan was of an illustrious family in Connaught his Father Letna having been descended from Brian Prince of the Hy bruin sept in Breffny and his mother from the high and ancient race of Auli.(1.) When a youth Aidan was one of the hostages whom the people of Breffny had been obliged to give to Anmiracus King of Ireland and some time after his liberation he withdrew from his native country and retired to the establishment of St David at Menevia in Wales. Here his extraordinary sanctity soon rendered him celebrated. About the year 589 Aidan departed from Menevia and having landed in the now County of Wexford he erected a Church at a place called Ardlathran in the southern part of that county His next establishment was at Clonemore in the barony of Bantry and having been held in great reverence by Brandubh King of Leinster that Prince assigned him a site on which he erected his celebrated Monastery of Ferns about the year 600. At the request of Brandubh a numerous Synod was soon after convened in which it was decreed that Ferns should become an Episcopal See and be moreover raised to the dignity of Archbishopric of Leinster On this occasion Aidan was consecrated its first Bishop. (2.) Usher remarks that by this decree the Archiepiscopate of Leinster had been removed from Sletty but was afterwards transferred from Ferns to Kildare. (3.) It is at all events most certain that these so called Archbishops whether of Sletty or of Ferns were not strictly speaking Metropolitans nor were they invested with Archiepisoopal power or that jurisdiction provided by the Canon law. They enjoyed by courtesy and very often through the favour of princes a degree of honorary pre-eminence and for this reason we find the title passing in those days from one see to another. The reputation of St. Aidan was not confined to Ireland. His memory has been highly revered both in Wales and in other countries and several miracles have been attributed to him. He died on the 31st of January AD 632 and was buried at Ferns. (4.) St. Aidan was succeeded in the See of Ferns by St. Moling, a native of the territory of Hy Kinsellagh. Between the death of this Prelate and the incumbency of the learned Alban O Mulloy in the twelfth century the names of fifteen Bishops have been recorded while their acts like most of our other national documents have perished beneath the fury of the Danes or the still more unsparing rapacity of the English invaders.

(1.) AASS p. 216
(2.) Vita c. 28
(3.) Usher p. 965
(4.) Usher p. 966

Sunday, 24 January 2016

A Latin Mass in Annacurra

What has already been said of fair Annacurra can only be reiterated by those members and friends of St. Aidan's Catholic Heritage Association who had the grace to make a pilgrimage to the most northerly Parish of the Diocese of Ferns reaching northwards into County Wicklow, the Garden of Ireland.  We followed in the footsteps of St. Patrick, St. Brigid and St. Mogue.  St. Brigid, to whom the Parish Church is dedicated, also has two Holy Wells in her honour in the Parish.  Several monuments to the men of 1798 are to be found in the Parish, including the graves of brothers Philip and Patrick Leacy in the old graveyard at Preban, which some of the pilgrims visited.

Monday, 11 January 2016

Pilgrimage to St. Brigid's, Annacurra, Co. Wicklow

Your are cordially invited to join us for our first pilgrimage and Traditional Latin Mass of the new Year, the Year of Mercy, in St. Brigid's Parish Church, Annacurra, 3 km south of Aughrim, Co. Wicklow.  There is not, as Tom Moore's melody has it, in the wide world a valley so sweet as the vale of Avoca.  Set on the banks of the River Aughrim, a tributary of the Avoca River, Annacurra (or Annacurragh) possesses some of that sweetness in addition to charm of its own.  The lovely Church of St. Brigid celebrated its 150th year two years ago and this Saturday - Saturday, 23rd January, at 12 noon - it will host a Traditional Latin Mass for the first time in goodness knows how long.

Built to the design of Richard Pearse Jr., son of the noted Wexford Architect, the foundation stone for the Church was laid in 1859 and the opening ceremony took place on St. Patrick's Day, 1864.  The beautiful East Window depicting Saints Brigid, Patrick and Columba, was designed by Pugin and Ashlin, executed by McCann's of Middle Abbey Street, Dublin, and installed for the opening of the Church.  The bell was installed a year later and the organ in 1867.