Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Pilgrimage to Rome 2017 (3) - After Mass in the Minerva

The Sacristy of Santa Maria Sopra Minerva

The Chapel of Saint Catherine is located behind the Sacristy of the Basilica. The Sacristy itself is an amazing and historic space. It has housed at least two Papal Conclaves, those of 1431 and 1447, to elect Popes Eugene IV and Nicholas V respectively. It can be found behind a gate just to the left of the Gospel-side Transept of the Basilica but, as ever, our intrepid pilgrimages organizer obtained for us access to some of those places in Rome where very few and only seldom go. The decoration of the Sacristy is by Andrea Sacchi in 1600, including the Crucifixion in the niche at the far end of the Sacristy (behind which is the Chapel of Saint Catherine). The ceiling scene of St. Dominic in glory is attributed to Giuseppe Puglia. The fresco of the Roman painter G. B. Speranza is placed on the front door, dating from 1640, and represents two conclaves which took place here. The Barberini bees - a motif that will recur throughout our pilgrimage - appear in several places in the Sacristy. In this case, they are the emblem of Cardinal Antonio Barberini, Archbishop of Reims, known as Antonio the Younger, one of the Cardinals Nephew of Pope Urban VIII. The Barberini family was a great benefactor of the Dominican Order and funded the decoration of the sacristy. The vestment benches and presses are also 17th cent. and are of walnut.

Inside the Basilica of Santa Maria Sopra Minerva

The Basilica is too filled with historic and artistic gems to cover all but those that our group concentrated upon were the tomb of Saint Catherine of Siena under the High Altar (seen below with the tomb of Pope Clement VII Medici behind. Opposite it out of shot the tomb of Pope Leo X Medici, both Florentines with strong connections to the Dominican Order), next to it, the Capranica Family Chapel of the Holy Rosary, where we had Mass on a previous Pilgrimage, the Caraffa Family Chapel with the tomb of Pope Paul IV at the end of the Epistle-side Transept (opposite the Chapel of St. Dominic at the end of the Gospel-side Transept, built for Pope Benedict XIII, the Dominican Pope, and containing his tomb), and finally, just next to the Caraffa Chapel, the tomb of the redoubtable Durandus.

Outside the Basilica of Santa Maria Sopra Minerva

In the Piazza outside the Basilica is Bernini's famous Obelisk supported by an Elephant, erected here by Pope Alexander VII Chigi, the first member of the Sodality of Our Lady (of a total of 20) to be elected Pope and of whom we shall hear much throughout the pilgrimage. Opposite the Basilica is the Palace of the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy, or the Academy of Noble Ecclesiastics, the finishing school for Vatican diplomats.

Just around the corner is the discreet - but fascinating - shopfront of Ditta Annibale Gammarelli, Ecclesiastical tailors since 1798, who provided the vestments for our pilgrimage.

Just a few steps up the street is the Pontifical French Seminary and the Seminary Church of Santa Chiara. Across the tiny Piazza di Santa Chiara is the Palazzo di Santa Chiara. This was once a house of Dominican Tertiaries and the actual site of the death of Saint Catherine of Siena. As already mentioned, the room itself where she died was moved into place behind the Sacristy of the Minerva, and the space left by that removal has been replaced by an amazing little chapel of 'Santa Catarina in Transito' which remains open to the public despite the Palazzo now being a public theatre - where some of the pilgrims also attended a selection of operatic pieces one evening of the trip.

Pilgrimage to Rome 2017 (2) - Opening Mass in the Minerva

Meeting in the Vatican
Our pilgrimage to Rome works on several levels.  It is a visit to the tombs of the Apostles and the other Saints of Rome.  It is an occasion to spend time together in prayer as a group.  It is an opportunity to experience the sights, sounds and culture of Rome, to see with our own eyes our heritage as Catholics in living as well as in static form.  It is a journey to honour the See of Peter and Our Holy Father the Pope.  As a journey to experience the Catholic culture of Rome and to honour the Holy See, an important element of our pilgrimage is always to pay our respects to officials of the Holy See.  This year, a few of the pilgrims had the honour to begin our first day, just before Mass, with an audience with the Secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, Archbishop Arthur Roche.

Mass in the Minerva
The first Mass of the 2017 Catholic Heritage Association Pilgrimage to Rome took place in the Sacristy Chapel of the Basilica of Santa Maria Sopra Minerva, that is, the Basilica of Our Lady built over the ruins of the Temple of Minerva.  During our 2008 Pilgrimage we had the privilege of having Mass in the beautiful Capranica Chapel dedicated to the Holy Rosary (see here).  This year, continuing our quest 'boldly to go where few men have gone before,' we were granted an even greater privilege to have Mass in the small Chapel of Saint Catherine of Siena, which is the actual room in which Saint Catherine died, and which is to be found behind the wonderful Sacristy of the Basilica (see here), the site of at least two Papal Conclaves.

The Chapel was rebuilt on this site in 1637 on the initiative of Cardinal Antonio Barberini, using the original walls of the room in a nearby house where the Saint died in 1380.  The house itself is now the site of the Palazzo di Santa Chiara on the Via Santa Chiara and the space left by the room is now itself a Chapel (see here) called Santa Caterina da Siena in Transito.

The Cardinal also had the frescoes attributed to Antoniazzo Romano and his assistants placed in the Sacristy Chapel, which had originally had been in the left arm of the transept.  Over the Altar, the Crucifixion and the Saints, on the left wall, the Annunciation with Ss. Jerome and Onofrio, and on the right wall, the Resurrection with Ss. Lucy and Augustine.

The Altar was erected by Pope Benedict XIII, himself a Dominican who is buried in the Chapel of St. Dominic in the left hand transept of the Basilica, decorated by the Filippo Raguzzini on the instructions of the same Pope Benedict XIII.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Pilgrimage to Rome 2017 (1) - Opening Vespers and Benediction

The annual pilgrimage to Rome of the Catholic Heritage Association began this evening with Vespers of the Little Office of the Immaculate Conception and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament.  The Little Office of the Immaculate Conception was, as usual, the thread of prayer that joined together the various visits and ceremonies of the Pilgrimage.  The Hours of the Little Office were recited during the course of each day of the Pilgrimage.

We returned this year to the Istituto Maria Santissima Bambina, where we had stayed in 2003. The Istituo is one of the most spectacular and memorable places to stay in Rome. The Catholic Heritage Association always favours religious houses as the base for international pilgrimages and was pleased to have the opportunity to return to the Istituto. The House is run by the Sisters of Charity of the Infant Mary, founded in Milan by Saints Vincenza Gerosa and Bartolomea Capitanio, both members of the Sodality of Our Lady. It is a modern building in a part of the medieval Leonine fortifications surrounding the Vatican and is on Vatican Extraterritorial property. The views from the fourth floor terrace are legendary.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Titulars of Churches in the Diocese of Kildare and Leighlin

Interior of Carlow Cathedral c. 1910

In the Irish Ecclesiastical Calendar, today is the feast of the Dedication of the consecrated churches of Ireland except cathedrals, which have their own individual feasts. In any Diocese, the numbers of consecrated churches would have been relatively low. In Kildare and Leighlin, it appears that, certainly until the 1950s, only four churches in the Diocese had been consecrated: Carlow Cathedral, Edenderry, Naas and Newbridge. However, I propose to look at the whole range of dedications throughout the Diocese. Those churches listed with an asterisk have a secondary dedication. Parishes are listed in brackets.

Blessed Virgin Mary
Of the 137 churches in the Diocese of Kildare and Leighlin, it is unsurprising that more are dedicated to the Blessed Virgin under various titles than to anyone else, in fact, 37 Churches.

St. Mary is the most popular dedication with nine churches: Askinagap (Hacketstown), Ballyconnell (Clonmore), Bennykerry (Bennykerry), Broadford (Balyna), Clonaghadoo (Mountmellick), Edenderry (Edenderry), Raheen (Killeigh), Stratford (Baltinglass), Wolfhill (Ballyadams).

Next is the Assumption with six churches: Cathedral (Carlow), Paulstown (Paulstown), Rathangan* (Rathangan), The Heath, (Portlaoise), Tynock (Rathvilly), Vicarstown (Stradbally).

Then the Immaculate Conception with five churches: Allenwood (Allen), Ardattin (Tullow), Cappinan (Daingean) Knockananna (Hacketstown), Walsh Island (Clonbullogue).

There are five churches of Our Lady: Caragh* (Caragh), Killamote (Hacketstown), Naas* (Naas), Prosperous* (Caragh), Sallins* (Sallins).

There are three churches dedicated to the Holy Rosary: Abbeyleix (Abbeyliex), Lugacurren (Ballyadams), Tullow (Tullow).

There are two churches dedicated to the Holy Family: Askea (Askea), Kilshanroe (Carbury).

There are also churches dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mayo (Doonane); to Our Lady of the Wayside, Clonmore (Clonmore); Our Lady of Lourdes, Skeoghvosteen (Graiguenamanagh); the Nativity of Our Lady, Newtown (Kilcock); Our Lady of Victories, Kildangan (Monasterevin); Mary, Mother of God, Daingean (Daingean) and Duiske Abbey (Graiguenamanagh), being a former Cistercian Abbey, was dedicated to the Blessed Virgin. An icon of Our Lady of Duiske hangs in the Church there, which may well be the present dedication.

Of all the dedications to God, the Sacred Heart is the most popular with eight churches: Arles (Arles), Borris (Borris), Clonbullogue (Clonbullogue), Rath (Emo), Stradbally (Stradbally), The Hollow (Mountrath).

The Holy Trinity and the Holy Cross have both three dedications.

Holy Trinity: Allen (Allen), Derrinturren (Carbury), Goresbridge (Paulstown).

Holy Cross: Killeshin (Graiguecullen), Myshall (Myshall), Ratheniska (Portlaoise).

Christ the King: Cooleragh (Cooleragh)

Once again, it is no surprise that, in the Diocese of Kildare and Leighlin, that St. Brigid of Kildare, Muire na nGael, tops the list of dedications to saints.

Fifteen churches are dedicated to St. Brigid: Ballinakill (Ballinakill), Ballycomman (Daingean), Clane* (Clane), Clogherinkoe (Balyna), Clonegal (Clonegal), Croghan (Rhode), Curragh (Curragh Camp), Hacketstown (Hacketstown), Kildare (Kildare), Kill (Kill), Milltown (Allen), Rosenallis (Rosenallis), Shanahoe (Raheen), Suncroft (Suncroft), Talbotstown (Rathvilly).

The next most popular saint is St. Patrick with ten dedications: Ballymurphy (Borris) Ballyroan (Abbeyleix), Clane* (Clane), Johnstownbridge (Balyna), Killeigh (Killeigh), Mountmellick (Mountmellick), Newtown (Bagenalstown), Rathangan* (Rathangan), Rathoe (Ballon), Rathvilly (Rathvilly).

After that, St. Joseph, with six, narrowly beats two local saints, Laserian and Fintan, with five each.

St. Joseph: Ballinagar (Killeigh), Ballyadams (Ballyadams), Baltinglass (Baltinglass), Caragh* (Caragh), Prosperous* (Caragh), Tinryland (Tinryland).

St. Laserian: Ballinakellen (Bagenalstown), Drumphea (Myshall), Kildavin (Clonegal), Knock (Ballinakill), Leighlin (Leighlin).

St. Fintan: Ballinabranna (Leighlin), Ballyfin (ballyfin), Mountrath (Mountrath), Raheen (Raheen).

Saints Peter and Paul, either together or apart, have three, two and one dedication respectively.

Ss. Peter and Paul: Ballon (Ballon), Monasterevin (Monasterevin), Portlaoise (Portlaoise).

St. Peter: Rhode (Rhode), Two-Mile-House (Two-Mile-House).

St. Paul: Emo (Emo).

St. Michael has two dedications: Portarlington (Portarlington), Timahoe (Stradbally).

St. Anne has two dedications: Ardclough (Kill), Ballylinan (Arles).

The rest of the Saints (and Angels) have one didication each: Guardian Angels*, Sallins (Sallins); St. Conleth, Newbridge (Newbridge); St. Coca, Kilcock (Kilcock); St. Abban, Doonane (Doonane); St. Finian, Kilquiggan (Clonmore); St. Andrew, Bagenalstown (Bagenalstown); St. Benignus, Staplestown (Cooleragh); St. Brendan, Drummond (St. Mullins); St. Brochan, Bracknagh (Clonbullogue); St. Clare, Graiguecullen (Graiguecullen); St. Coleman, Kilclonfert (Daingean); St. David*, Naas (Naas); St. Fortchern, Rathanna (Borris); St. John the Baptist, Grange (Tullow); St. John the Evangelist, Killenard (Portarlington); St. Manman, Clonaslee (Clonaslee); St. Moling, Glynn (St. Mullins); St. Oliver, Grangecon (Baltinglass); The Irish Martyrs, Ballycane (Naas).

May the Saints of the Diocese and the Angels of the Churches of the Diocese pray for us!

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

St. Manman of Clonaslee

The village of Clonaslee, nestled in the Slieve Bloom Mountains of County Laois, was the site of two seventh century monasteries founded by St. Manman. One was Carrigeen, meaning hermitage of the rocks, and the second, almost two miles north of the village, is Kilmanman, meaning the Church of Manman.

Carrigeen, also know as Lanchoil or Lahoil, is said to have been the hermitage of the Saint. Kilmanman was the larger of the two foundations and is the site of considerable remains of a later fifteenth century Church. Nearby, there is a Holy Well called St. Manman's Well.

Information upon the life of St. Manman is so scarce that even Dr. Comerford in his Collections relating to the Dioceses of Kildare and Leighlin, Vol. 3, 1886, gives the mere fact of his existence and passes on to later times for which more material was available. Likewise, Canon O'Hanlon's History of Queen's County gives but passing information.

His name, at least in the form in which it is known today, does not appear on any of the ancient Irish Calendars but local tradition establishes his pattern day as 5th August. However, that his name survives and that his memory holds the respect that it does is a lesson to us to remember, however dimly, our holy Fathers in the Faith.

St. Manman of Clonaslee, pray for us!

Monday, October 16, 2017

St. Tighernach of Clones and Clogher - god-son of St. Brigid

Dr. Lanigan, in his work, An ecclesiastical history of Ireland, Chapter IX, relates of St. Tigernach, as follows:

"St. Maccarthen of Clogher, whose history I have been obliged to anticipate, died, as already stated, in the year 506; and, as some say, on the 24th of March. He was succeeded by St. Tigernach, who fixed his see or residence at Cluaneois (Clunes or Clones) in the county of Monaghan, still retaining government of the church of Clogher, for which reason he was surnamed Ferdachrioch, or the man of two districts. He is said to have been of a princely family, grandson, by his mother, of a king Echodius, and to have had St. Brigid for godmother, through whose recommendation he was raised to the episcopal dignity. He had received his clerical education, as we are told, in the monastery of Rosnat in Great Britain under the holy abbot Monennus, and, it seems founded that of Clones before he was appointed bishop."

Dr. Lanigan comments on the association of St. Brigid with St. Tigernach:

"If this narrative deserves credit, we must suppose that St. Brigid's standing as godmother for Tigernach was in her younger days, and, at least 30 years before A.D. 506. On this occasion it is observed that whoever was recommended for the episcopacy by St. Brigid, was immediately approved of and chosen by the clergy and people. (Compare with what has been said about Conlaeth of Kildare Chap. VIII, No. 10)"

Dr. Lanigan, in a passage that is a model of his scholarship and his prose, speculates upon the location of Rosnat Abbey:

"Where was that monastery of Rosnat? Neither the Monasticon Anglicanum, Stevens, Tanner, Nasmith, nor Camden have, as far as I could discover, a word about it, although it is often mentioned in the Acts of some Irish saints. In those of Tigernach, quoted by Colgan (ib.) it is observed that it was otherwise called Alba, or white. Colgan hence concludes that it was no other than the famous monastery of Bangor or Banchor near the river Dee a few miles from Chester, which must be carefully distinguished from the present episcopal town Bangor, which lies far to the West of where the monastery stood. (See Usher, p. 183.) His chief argument is that Ban, in Irish, signifies white, and so Ban-chor was the same as white choir. But, waving certain doubts concerning the said monastery having existed at that early period, it is to be recollected that Ban has not that signification in the British language, which is that to be looked to in this inquiry. I suspect that Rosnat or Alba was the celebrated see called Candida casa or White house, now Whitethorn. (See Not. 149, to Chap. 1.) The illustrious Ninia or Ninian had founded that see in the 5th century, and there can be no doubt of an ecclesiastical school having been established there. (See Usher, p. 661. seqq.) When we read of Nennio being the bishop, to whom some Irish students were sent, this, I believe, must be understood as originally meaning that they were sent to the school held in the see or Nennio or Ninia, who was dead before Tigernach or Finnian could have repaired thither. And in fact Finnian's master is called Mugentius, and what is very remarkable, the place Candida (AA. SS. p. 634). The master of Endeus of Arran, who is also said to have been at that school, is called not Nennio but Mansenus. Let me add that Candida casa lay very convenient for students from the North of Ireland; and it is worth observing, that of those, who are spoken of as having studied at Rosnat or Alba, scarcely one is to be found that was not a native of Ulster. There is a village and parish in Dumbartonshire, called Roseneath, anciently Rossnachioch, (Stat. Acct. of Scotland, Vol. IV. p. 71.) But there is no mention of a monastery having been there."

He goes on to quote from the Four Masters regarding the death of the Saint:

"An. 548 (549) St. Tigernac, bishop of Cluaineois, died on the 4th of April."

The Martyrology of Donegal gives his death as 4th April, 548, and gives something of his descent as follows:

"Bishop of Cluaoi-eois in Fera-Manach, or it is between Fera-Manach and Oirghialla Cluain-eois is. Tighernach is of the race of Cathaoir Mór, Monarch of Erinn, of the Leinstermen. Dearfraoich, daughter of Eochaidh, son of Criomhthann, king of Oirchiall, was his mother."

In the Life of St. Tighernach, quoted in Butler's Lives of the Irish Saints, it is stated that, while passing through Kildare, city of St. Brigid, with his foster-father, Cormac, who may well have been his maternal grandfather, the future saint was baptised by St. Conleth. Butler continues:

"From the foregoing narrative, Bollandus infers, that as Conlaid had been a bishop, when he baptized St. Tighernach, his elevation to the episcopal rank must have been accomplished previous to A.D. 480. For, St. Maccarthen died in the year 506; and, he was immediately succeeded in the See of Clogher by St. Tighernach. Supposing correctness in the foregoing account, it is conjectured, his baptism must have taken place, at least thirty years before the latter date, and during the younger days of his godmother, St. Brigid."

St. Tigernach of Clones and Clogher, pray for us!