Sunday, 22 November 2015

Pontifical Low Mass, Church Street, Dublin 7

On Saturday, 21st November, 2015, His Grace the Archbishop of Dublin honoured our Association by celebrating a Pontifical Low Mass for the feast of the Presentation in the Capuchin Church, Church of St. Mary of the Angels, Church Street, Dublin 7.  The choir of the Augustinian Church, John's Lane, lent great beauty to the ceremonies with their singing.  The Capuchin Community opened their doors and extended great hospitality to us for the use of the Church for Holy Mass, their refectory for refreshments afterwards, catered by the nearby Cinnemon Café.

Afterwards the Annual General Meeting of the Catholic Heritage Association of Ireland was held jointly with the first General Meeting of St. Laurence's Catholic Heritage Association.  Immediately following the election of our Committee, Judge Peter Smithwick introduced a talk by Lord Gill, retired Lord President of the Court of Session of Scotland.  Afterwards, Judge Smithwick made presentations to some of the members of the Assocation for distinguished service over the years.  The afternoon concluded with Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament given by Fr. Padraig, O.F.M.Cap.

















Wednesday, 18 November 2015

The Archiepiscopal See of Dublin (c. 750 - 1161)(Walsh)


From Walsh's History of the Irish Hierarchy, 1854, c. xvi, p. 106 ff:

St. Sedulius son of Luaith is called bishop and abbot of Dublin as those were synonymous terms. Many abbots distinguished by their merit were promoted to the episcopacy without having sees attached to their places of residence. Such was his neighbor and contemporary the abbot and bishop Ferfugill of Clondalkin. Offices perfectly distinct were thus vested in the same person as it was necessary that episcopal functions should be exercised within the precincts of monastic establishments too remote from a regularly fixed see.

Besides assistant bishops such as coadjutors there were in Ireland others of a more subordinate dignity. Of this latter description the annals of Ireland make mention. To minister more effectually to the spiritual wants of his flock who might have dwelt at a distance from the abode of the bishop it was sometimes deemed prudent to remedy such an inconvenience by selecting priests in the remote districts to whom was confided the care of the faithful and that such clergymen were invested with a sort of episcopal jurisdiction appears certain but whether dignified always with the holy order of the episcopate is a question as yet to be decided. Some maintain it as the more probable that they were not exalted to this dignity others allow that they were consecrated and that they could with the permission of the ordinary confer the orders of deaconship and the priesthood. Other writers hold the opinion that they were always and without exception invested with the order of the episcopacy.

In Ireland, the usage of conferring consecration on those ecclesiastics appears to have been generally adopted. In the early annals of the kingdom they are represented as persons belonging to the episcopal order such an ecclesiastic as we treat of is honored with the appellation of bishop and among the Irish as there was but one name for bishops and chorepiscopi it is often difficult to determine whether this class of ecclesiastics were the ordinaries of sees or the subordinates. If we find mention of bishops who discharged episcopal functions in different dioceses or provinces we are to suppose that they acted in the capacity of assistants as the discipline of the Church obliged the ordinary of each see to exercise the duties of his order within the limits of his own diocese.

Cormac was living in 890 When Dublin was besieged by Gregory king of Scotland and the inhabitants were reduced to extremity Cormac a man of singular virtues and of upright life was deputed to lay before the king of Scotland the distressed state of the city. The King absolutely refused to extend any hope until the city was surrendered to his discretion and on being given up he forthwith advanced on foot till he came to the bishop and falling down on his knees he reverently kissed the crucifix which the prelate bore and ratified the wishes of the bishop.

Donatus was the first amongst the Ostmen or Danes who was bishop of Dublin. By some he is called Dunan. He built by the aid of Sitricus the cathedral of the Holy Trinity in the heart of the city of Dublin about the year 1038 to which Sitric gave considerable landed possessions. Donatus lived to an advanced age died on the 6th of May 1074 and was buried in his own cathedral in the upper part of the chancel on the right.

Patrick called in the Annals of the Four Masters Giolla Patricianus was elected bishop of Dublin at the instance of Gotred king of the Isle of Man who conquered Dublin and the adjacent country. He was sent to England to receive consecration from Lanfranc archbishop of Canterbury with an epistle to the following effect. "To Lanfranc the venerable metropolitan of the Holy Church of Canterbury the clergy and people of Dublin tender their bounden obedience. It is known unto your fatherhood that the Church of Dublin the metropolis of Ireland is bereft of her pastor and destitute of her ruler. Wherefore we have elected a priest called Patrick a person whom we thoroughly know one noble both by birth and morals well imbued in apostolical and ecclesiastical discipline in faith a Catholic and in the interpretation of Scripture wary in the tenets of the Church well versed and whom we desire without delay to be ordained our bishop that under God he may rule over us orderly and profit us and that we under his government may exercise a spiritual warfare with security. Because the integrity of the ruler is the safety of the subject and where safety of obedience is there is the sound form of doctrine."

Patrick was consecrated and made unto Lanfranc promise of submission and obedience in all things pertaining to the Christian religion. Patrick was an Ostman and the Danes of the sea ports being more inclined to attribute their conversion to the Anglo Saxons than to the Irish and who moreover considered William the Conqueror and the Normans their countrymen did not deem it politic to have their bishops derive their sanction from the see of Armagh hence they applied to the English primate for the consecration of their bishops. Patrick governed the see about ten years and being sent to England by King Turlough on business to Lanfranc perished by shipwreck on the 10th of October 1084.

Donat O'Hanly succeeded by similar authority as his predecessor was consecrated by Lanfranc AD 1085. Having spent some time in the pursuit of useful learning in Ireland he passed over to England and became a Benedictine monk at Canterbury. With Lanfranc to whom he also made profession of obedience Donatus was a particular favorite he gave him several presents books and church ornaments for his cathedral. This prelate died of a plague in 1095 leaving a reputation among his countrymen for industry learning and sagacity.

Samuel O'Hanley, nephew of Donatus succeeded AD 1095 by similar authority; was also a Benedictine; obtained from Lanfranc vouchers of his consecration. Soon after his return to Ireland he expelled some monks from the cathedral of the Holy Trinity stripped the church of the books and ornaments which the archbishop of Canterbury had bestowed on it and commanded the cross to be carried before him Lanfranc laving heard of those doings remonstrated with the bishop of Dublin and desired Malchus, bishop of Waterford to expostulate with him. Samuel died on the 4th of July AD 1121.

Gregory the First, archbishop of Dublin, was elected in 1121 and went to England to receive consecration from the archbishop of Canterbury. He brought letters from the king in his favor and also from the clergy and people of Dublin in which it was notified that the bishops of Ireland, particularly the primate of Armagh, had taken great hatred towards them because they would not obey the orders of the said bishops but showed themselves always willing to live under the jurisdiction of the see of Canterbury. He was consecrated at Lambeth by Ralph, archbishop of Canterbury, and made the usual profession of obedience to him.

Having presided over the see of Dublin thirty one years the archiepiscopal dignity was conferred upon him at the council of Kells held under John Paparo legate from the Holy See in 1152. The distribution of sees has been already noticed in the life of St. Malachy of Armagh and the names of the bishops who attended are also enumerated. Besides the bishops there were three thousand ecclesiastics present at this synod though at this synod were men of acknowledged sanctity and ecclesiastics of unblemished character though the purity of the native priesthood of Ireland was above reproach a fact to which Gerald Barry reluctantly assents and one which is particularly avowed in the thirteenth canon of the council held by Archbishop Comyn in 1186 bearing testimony to the chastity for which the Irish clergy were always remarkable. Moore in his History of Ireland draws an inference from a canon of this synod enacted against marriages in the prohibited degrees of kindred unfavorable to the Irish clergy and that they assimilated themselves to many of the clergy on the Continent who disregarded the salutary discipline of celibacy. The conduct of the lay usurpers of the see of Armagh has left the imputation on this see alone and it is worthy of notice that the Irish annals do not record instances of profligacy among the priesthood of Ireland until the adventurers of England introduced their system of morals. The Archbishop Gregory died on the 8th of October AD 1161 having sat forty years. He was a wise man and well skilled in languages.

Sunday, 27 September 2015

The Archiepiscopal See of Dublin (- c. 750)(Walsh)


From Walsh's History of the Irish Hierarchy, 1854, c. xvi, p. 98 ff:

ARCHIEPISCOPAL SEE OF DUBLIN

Dublin was only an episcopal see until the pallium was first conferred on its prelate by John Paparo cardinal legate at the council of Kells in 1152 at that time the see of Cashel ranked before Dublin as St Malachy O'Moore sought the pallium for the sees of Armagh and Cashel only and in the distribution by the cardinal of the palliums to the four dioceses of Ireland which are now archbishopricks, the see of Dublin was the third in the series. Dublin is now reckoned as the second see of Ireland and its prelate is styled primate of Ireland in accordance with the directions of the holy see anxious as it was to terminate the controversy that so often arose between the primates of Armagh and archbishops of Dublin regarding the right of precedence as might be observed in the history of the prelates of Armagh. Dublin, the metropolis of Ireland, has two cathedrals, Christ Church and St Patrick's, a peculiarity in which Saragossa alone participates. Both have been forcibly seized by those intruders whom the persecutors of England have sent amongst the people of our country to plunder and spoliate while the descendants of the pious founders and the steadfast adherents of the ancient faith were obliged to worship their God in the most obscure lanes and alleys of the city. Christ Church was erected about the year 1038 and St. Patrick's in 1190 on the site of an old church which was said to have been erected by St. Patrick both cathedrals are situated within the city and liberties of Dublin.

To the see of Dublin was united that of Glendalough in the year 1214 on the death of William Piro the last recognized bishop the union of those sees was ratified by Pope Innocent III on the 25th of February 1215 and again Honorius III confirms the acts of his predecessors in this affair. A controversy having arisen between the chapter of St. Patrick's and Robert de Bedford the dean of Glendalough and afterwards bishop of Lismore the subject was referred by the Pope to Felix O'Ruadan, archbishop of Tuam, who by his decree pronounced in favor of the chapter of Glendalough and which the Pope HonoriusIII also confirmed. The archbishops of Dublin did not obtain quiet possession of the see of Glendalough until a surrender of it was made in the Cathedral of St Patrick by Dennis White who had been the bishop in opposition to the regal authority. Since his surrender Glendalough is become a desert the mountains which gird the valley cast a gloom over its scene contracting every prospect to the eye which looks on the venerable ruins of the sanctuary of St. Kevin its awful and melancholy appearance reminds the beholder that this spot was particularly adapted for a life of prayer and meditation. By the union of Glendalough with Dublin the far famed city memorable for its religious edifices has gone not only to decay but has become the receptacle of robbers and outlaws.

St. Patrick is said to have blessed Dublin and to have foretold its future greatness and prosperity. Saint Livinus, bishop of Dublin, was a native of Ireland aud according to some of royal extraction. He was born in the reign of Colman Rimhe who was king of Ireland in the beginning of the seventh century. Livinus is said to have been instructed by Benignus a priest and after the death of his master to have retired into a desert with three companions Foillan, Elias and Kilian, where he employed his time in transcribing books in order to procure sustenance for himself and the poor. He passed over into Britain and remained five years under the direction of Augustine who ordained him priest and having returned to his native country he was promoted to the dignity of bishop but his see is not known though he is accounted as bishop of Dublin. Urged by zeal for the conversion of those who knew not the true God he set out from Ireland with the former companions of his solitude. Arrived in Belgium having left the care of his Church in Ireland to the Archdeacon Sylvanus he was received with great kindness by Floribert abbot of two monasteries at Ghent one of which was called that of St. Bavo who was buried there and for whom Livinus had a great veneration and whose epitaph he also wrote at the request of Floribert. On the tomb of St. Bavo he celebrated daily the sacrifice of the mass during thirty days that he remained. Having performed those acts of charity and devotion he proceeded on his mission through Flanders and Brabant Berna and Craphraildis two sisters received him with great attention and he there restored the sight of Ingilbert the son of Craph aildis which was lost for thirteen years. He received from the people much opposition and vexation of which he complained in his epistle to Floribert and in which he declared his hope and foreknowledge of his suffering martyrdom. Soon after he was attacked by a multitude of Pagans at Escha near Hauthem one of whom was particularly conspicuous in torturing him Walbert extracted his tongue with nippers and threw it to the dogs but it was miraculously restored. Having cruelly beaten and tortured him he was decapitated on the 12th of November 656. His hostess Craphraildis and her son Brixius who was baptized by the Saint a few days before they also put to death. The remains of St Livinus and Brixius were deposited in one grave by his disciples at Hauthem and near them those of Craphraildis. The memory of Livinus is still greatly revered in Belgium.

The poetical epistle of Livinus as well as the epitaph of St Bavo do honor to the country of his birth. In the decree of Pope Benedict XTV dated the 1st of July 1747 express mention is made of Livinus as bishop of Dublin.

St. Wiro, a native of Ireland the son of Cuan the son of Lugid is said to have been of an ancient family in Corobaschin County of Clare and of which St. Senanus of Enniscathy was sprung. Wiro is said to have travelled to Rome and to have been there consecrated bishop on his return to have governed some see which he afterwards resigned that he might lead a more secluded life He repaired to Gaul where he was graciously received by Pepin Heristall who regarded him with veneration and who made his confession to him barefoot Pepin assigned him a dwelling at Mons Petri now Odilieberg in the diocese of Liege where he died on the 8th of May but the year of his decease is not known. According to Harris his death was in 650 but at this time Pepin was not vested with great power until 680. We may then place his death later than this year. He was buried in the oratory which had erected and in consequence of its collegiate church having transferred to Ruremond a part of the saint's remains were hither and another portion reverentially preserved at Utrecht. He called bishop of Dublin. It was usual with foreigners to assign to Dublin as it became the capital of Ireland some bishops who had to the Continent.

St Disibod was born in Ireland of a noble family and was remarkable for his genius and learning. He was ordained priest in the year of his age and soon after elected bishop and though Dublin is assigned as his see there is not sufficient authority to sustain the assertion. Having governed his see ten years he was driven from it by the insolence of the people and having resigned in 675 he abandoned his native country and associating with him three learned and devout men Gisualdus, Clement and Sallust travelled into Germany where he moved about preaching the Gospel for ten years at last he came to a high woody mountain which the owner of the country conferred upon him and there he settled and practised the life of a hermit many the Benedictine order flocked to him and on this mountain he erected a monastery which was called Mount Disibod. He lived thirty years in exercises of great austerity and there died worn out with age on the 8th of July in the eighty first year of his existence. Hildegardis a nun who was educated at Mount Disibod or Disenburg under the abbess Jutta wrote his life which was published by Surius. The year of his death is not known.

Gualafer or Gallagher is mentioned as bishop of Dublin of whom nothing is known except having baptized his successor St Rumold.

St. Rumold was the son of David an Irish prince and was heir to his father's principality. By Gualafir he was instructed in learning and virtue and through piety having taken a journey to Rome he abandoned his right to his inheritance. He passed first into Britain thence into Gaul preaching wherever he went the Gospel of Christ. It is said in his life written by Theodoric and published by Surius that before engaging on his pilgrimage that he was consecrated for the see of Dublin. He travelled over the Alps and reached Rome where he received the apostolic approbation of his labors. Having made some delay in Rome he left the city repassed into Gaul and came to Mechlin where Odo or Ado count of the place together with his wife received him with great kindness and prevailed on him to settle there. He assigned him a place called Ulmus from the numerous elm trees growing in it. Here he founded a monastery. Mechlin being raised into an episcopal see Rumoldus was made its first bishop.

The holy bishop planted the true faith everywhere about Mechlin with such zeal and earnestness that he is justly styled their apostle. At length two villains one of them thinking that he was possessed of money the other through revenge because the saint reprimanded him for living in adultery attacked him and having severely wounded him in the head put an end to his existence on the 24th of June 775 and in order to conceal their crime threw his body into a river and on its being discovered by a heavenly light Count Odo removed it and gave it an honorable interment in St. Stephen's church. His remains were afterwards translated to a church in Mechlin dedicated to his memory and there preserved in a splendid silver shrine. His festival is observed on the 3d of July as the day of his martyrdom took place on the day sacred to John the Baptist. A shrine constructed in 1369 for his relics cost 66,000 florins. In the wars of 1580 it was broken up and sold Norris when commanding the English troops rifled the cathedral of Mechlin destroyed the shrine and scattered the relics of St. Rumold but the relics were collected again deposited in a new shrine of far more elegant design and about one third the cost of the first. It is exhibited in the cathedral.

Monday, 14 September 2015

Sunday, 13 September 2015

Mass for the Holy Name of Mary

On 12th September, the monthly exercises of the Sodality of Our Lady took place in St. Joseph's Church, Berkeley Road, Dublin 7. A Latin Mass for the feast of the Holy Name of Mary was offered.


Thursday, 3 September 2015

Latin Mass Pilgrimage to Wicklow Town

St. Patrick's Church, is set strikingly on a hill overlooking the scenic and historic coastal town of Wicklow.  Although the area has been populated for thousands of years, the town itself was settled by the vikings about the year 800.  To that extent, it is older even than Dublin City.  The Irish name Cill Mhantáin, or Church of the toothless, is replaced by the Norse Vikló, or harbour of the meadow.
 
The town would have found itself in the Gaelic Diocese of Glendalough, which extended across the whole of what is now the Archdiocese of Dublin.  Viking Dublin did not have a Bishop until Donatus was consecrated in 1038.  At the Synod of Rathbreasail in 1118, Dublin is not mentioned.  At the Synod of Kells in 1152, the Diocese of Glendalough was divided, giving the northern portion of its territory to Dublin, which also received a Metropolitan pallium.  Gregory became the first Archbishop of Dublin and was succeeded by St. Laurence O'Toole.  In 1185, King John decreed the union of Glendalough to Dublin but it wasn't sanctioned by the Pope until 1216.
 
In the valley between the Catholic Church and Anglican church and at the medieval town gate lie the ruins of a Franciscan Abbey, built about the year 1265.  Only elements of the south transept and nave are visible today.
 
As already noted in the post on the pilgrimage to Bray, the facade of the Church is remarkably similar to that of the original facade of the Church of the Holy Redeemer, Bray, and to other Churches by W.H. Byrne.  It was completed about 1840 to an unknown architect's design, where there is a gap in Byrne's list of works.  Therefore, it may cautiously be attributed to him. 
 
Members and friends of St. Laurence's Catholic Heritage Association made a pilgrimage there on Saturday, 22nd August, including a Mass celebrated by a Priest of the Diocese.
 

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

A Timeline of St. Laurence O'Toole


1128 - Born in Castledermot, Co. Kildare
1154 - Became Abbot of Glendalough to succeed Abbot Dunlaing
1161 - First Native Irish Archbishop of Dublin
1162 - Consecrated Bishop by Galesius, Archbishop of Armagh
1163 - Established the Canons Regular of Arouasia at the Cathedral of the Most Holy Trinity
1166 - Established the Priory of All Hallows of the Canons Regular of Arouasia
1167 - Attended the Council of Athboy
1170 - Presided as Papal Legate at the Council of Clonfert
1171 - Visited Henry II in Normandy, violently attacked while processing to Mass
1172 - Attended the Synod of Cashel
1175 - Negotiated the Treaty of Windsor
1176 - Presided at the funeral of Strongbow
1178 - Synod of Dublin presided over by Cardinal Vivian as Papal Legate
1179 - Attended the Third Lateran Council under Pope Alexander III
1180 - Died at Eu in Normandy
1225 - Canonised by Pope Honorius III
1227 - The body of St. Laurence enshrined at Eu

Friday, 10 July 2015

Traditional Latin Mass in Bray, County Wicklow

This is the first occasion on which our Association has made a pilgrimage to Wicklow, the Garden of Ireland. On 4th July, we made a pilgrimage to Bray for a Traditional Latin Mass in the Church of the Holy Redeemer on the Main Street. Building upon the existing Chapel of c. 1824, our old friend Patrick Byrne enlarged the Church and added a tower and facade strikingly similar to St. Patrick's, Wicklow Town (c. 1844) and to Byrne's St. John's, Blackrock (c. 1845).  W.H. Byrne further enlarged the Chapel into the present envelope, a Romanesque Church with colonnaded transepts and an apsidal Sanctuary c. 1894-1898, for Most Reverend Nicholas Donnelly, D.D., P.P., V.G., then Parish Priest of Bray and Greystones, Bishop of Canae and Auxiliary Bishop of Dublin.  Presumably at the same time as the modernist facade was added (1965) the sanctuary was re-ordered and the organ erected in the apse.










Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Ad Multos Annos Your Eminence


To His Eminence, Raymond Leo, Cardinal Burke,  Cardinal Patron of the Sovereign Order of Malta, Prefect Emeritus of the Apostolic Signatura, Cardinal Deacon of S. Agata dei Goti, we wish a very happy birthday!

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

The Fall of Fort St. Elmo

The Fall of Fort St. Elmo

On this the 450th anniversary of the fall of Fort St. Elmo I am re-posting an article from 2009.

What these few knights, soldiers and civilians withstood for a horrifying month is nothing short of miraculous. Below is an excerpt of a talk given by Michael Davies in 2002 that was part of a conference given at the Dietrich von Hildebrand Institute 2002 Summer Symposia entitled “The 1st Through 8th Crusades; Military Orders; Catharist Crusade; and the Siege of Malta.” The full article can be read here, it describes some of what they went through during that month.

Mustapha finally acknowledged that St. Elmo could not be taken within that day and ordered the recall. St. Angelo's suddenly heard a burst of cheering from their brothers in St. Elmo. They had lost 200 men in the battle, in comparison to 2,000 Turks. But they knew the end was near, for there would be no more reinforcements.

St. Elmo's men readied themselves for a fight to the death. The two chaplains who had stayed with the defenders throughout the siege confessed the remaining knights and soldiers. Determined that the Mohammedans would not have the opportunity to mock or desecrate their holy relics, the knights and the chaplains hid the precious objects of the Faith beneath the stone floors of the chapel, and dragged the tapestries, pictures and wooden furniture outside and set them on fire
. They then tolled the bell of the small chapel to announce to their brethren in the nearby forts that they were ready for the end.

In the gray pre-dawn light of the 23rd of June, Piali's ships closed in for the kill. The galleys, pointing their lean bows at the ruined fort, opened up their bow chasers in unison with the first charge made by the entire Turkish army. To the astonishment of Mustapha and his council, Fort St. Elmo held for over an hour. Less than 100 men remained after that first onslaught, yet the Ottoman army was forced to draw back and re-form. The knights who were too wounded to stand placed themselves in chairs in the breach with swords in their hands.

There was something about the next attack that told the garrisons looking on from Birgu and Senglea that all was over. The white-robed troops poured down the slopes, hesitated like a curling roller above the wall, and then burst across the fort, spreading like an ocean over St. Elmo. One by one the defenders perished, some quickly and mercifully, others dying of wounds among the bodies of their friends.

The Italian Knight Francisco Lanfreducci, acting on orders received before the battle began, crossed to the wall opposite Bighi Bay and lit the signal fire. As the smoke curled up and eddied in the clear blue sky, La Valette knew that the heroic garrison and the fort they had defended to the end were lost.

It was now that Mustapha Pasha impatiently strode to view his conquest. A standard-bearer carrying the banner of Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent stepped through the breach into St. Elmo. Standing victorious on the ruins of St. Elmo's walls, with the flag of St. John in the dust at his feet, Mustapha gazed at the massive bulk of Fort St. Angelo on the horizon. “Allah!” he cried. “If so small a son has cost us so dear, what price shall we have to pay for so large a father?”

In an offensive act of cruelty, he ordered the bodies of the knights to be set apart from the common soldiers. Their heads were struck from their bodies and fixed on stakes overlooking Grand Harbor. The beheaded corpses were then stripped of their mail, nailed to crossbeams of wood in mockery of the crucifixion, and launched onto the waters of Grand Harbor that night.

It was the eve of the Feast of St. John, the patron saint of the Order. Despite the loss of St. Elmo, the Grand Master had given orders for the normal celebrations to take place. Bonfires were lit and church bells were rung throughout Birgu and Senglea. The next morning the headless bodies of the knights washed up at the base of Fort St. Angelo.

Image  THE CAPTURE OF FORT ST. ELMO by Mateo Perez d’Aleccio

Monday, 22 June 2015

The Last Day Before the Fall of St. Elmo

From an account of the Great Siege of Malta from the Malta Heritage Site. On the day before the fall of Fort St. Elmo the remaining 100 defenders, without ammunition, their leaders dead and themselves half dead from exhaustion and their own wounds prepared themselves for the final battle.

As the hours passed and no relief came, the survivors in Fort St Elmo realized that no help was going to come to them. With this bitter recognition, they resigned themselves to their fate and they started to comfort each other through these agonizing moments. They were determined to die in the service of Jesus Christ and although they were half dead from fatigue, they never rested but worked to improve their defences.
This was surely a dreadful time for our men and to make things worse, the enemy spent the whole night bombarding them, sounding the alarm and skirmishing. Clearly, they did so in order to break down the defenders so that by morning, they would be completely worn out.
As their end seemed to get closer by the hour, the last defenders of Fort St Elmo confessed to each other and implored Our Lord to have mercy on their souls for the sake of the blood that He had shed for their redemption.

Sunday, 7 June 2015

The Monthly Sodality of Our Lady Mass

Since 2003, the Sodality of Our Lady monthly Mass has been taking place in the Lady Chapel of Bl. John Henry Cardinal Newman's University Church on St. Stephen's Green in central Dublin.  The meeting on 1st Saturdays at 10.30 a.m., begins with the Rosary and other prayers in Latin, followed by a Traditional Latin Mass.  Members of St. Laurence's Catholic Heritage Association take a full part in the Sodality's activities, including organising the serving of the Masses.  The 'Virgin blue' ribbons worn by some of those serving our Masses are the traditional ribbons and medals of this Sodality.  The Sodality meeting in University Church was founded on 1st May, 1853.  At its highest point, over 800 such Sodalities of Our Lady were operating all over Ireland.  Today only a few remain, tenaciously preserving their traditions.


Friday, 5 June 2015

Defenders Repeat their Plea to Withdraw From St. Elmo

It has been a week since the bombardment of Fort St. Elmo began and nearly two weeks since Commander Eguaras sent the Spanish Captain Juan de la Cerda to inform La Vallette that the Fort could not be defended and seek his permission to withdraw. During this time the knights and the other defenders had fought bravely but the incessant bombardment that was only strengthening was having a demoralizing effect on them. Dracut's artillery was firing from multiple locations in such a way to prevent the troops in Fort St. Elmo from having any safe place of refuge.

The men met in the piazza to discuss their plight and this time agreed to send Captain Medrano to the Grand Master to again inform him of the desperate situation they faced and the fact that it would be soon impossible to defend the Fort. The failure of relief troops to appear as promised and the determined efforts of the enemy meant that time was running out before a full scale invasion. La Vallette realized that this was only too true but knew also that each hour that the attention of the Ottomans was on Fort St. Elmo it gave the other defenses of the Knights the time to strengthen themselves. He was unwilling to give away the Fort and encouraged Medrano to remind the defenders of their duty and to continue battling as they had always done. He promised to send more relief and recalled Fra Giovanni Vagnone and a hundred of his men from Mdina to reinforce the troops at St. Elmo.

History Channel Documentary on the Great Siege of Malta

Here is an excellent documentary video from the History Channel describing the Great Siege of Malta from a warriors perspective of the history, tactics, weapons used. One of the highlights was the description of the medical care of the wounded and how to treat specific injuries. Presented by US Army Special Forces Terry Scahppert.

Wednesday, 3 June 2015

The Arrival of Dragut at the Great Siege of Malta

On June 2nd, Admiral Dragut the legendary pirate and enemy of the Knights of St. John and all Christians in the Mediterranean arrived with his fleet at Malta. His appearance was undoubtedly a blow to the spirits of the knights who recognized the skill of their great adversary. As LaValette and Sir Oliver Starkey watched his arrival, Starkey muttered, "God help us." To which the Grand Master replied, "Yes, now the real battle begins."

Known as the "drawn sword of Islam" Dragut was to be equally feared on land and sea. A skilled tactician he immediately recognized the imprudent attack and siege of Fort St. Elmo but realized that once committed they could not change course. Until his arrival the knights had benefitted from the discord between the two Pasha's. Now they would regard his wisdom in making their decisions.

Ottoman Approach of Fort St. Elmo on May 27, 1565

Ottoman Approach of Fort St. Elmo on May 27, 1565

The Bombardment of Fort St. Elmo Begins

Fort St. Elmo was well placed to defend the Grand Harbor from attack by sea but its low lying position at the base of the penisula left it vulnerable to attack from Mt. Scibberas as the high ground at the top of the peninsula. As the commander of Ottoman naval forces, Piali Pasha wanted to secure his fleet in the Harbor he argued that Fort St. Elmo must be captured and the first point of attack. Mustafa Pasha opposed this plan but finally relented, assuming that it would only take a few days to destroy the fort. Mustafa began moving his cannons into position for the assault and the bombardment of Fort St. Elmo began on May 24th.

Initially St. Elmo was defended by a modest number of knights and several hundred soldiers and other Maltese citizens. But each night of the siege the wounded were evacuated and new knights were smuggled in to reinforce those who wereTo attack St. Elmo, the Turkish troops had to cross a moat under fire. The defenders had raised their drawbridges and broken down other bridges so the Turks had to construct portable bridges. Such massed attacks were costly in terms of casualties, but the Ottoman commanders had little regard for the lives of their men.

Fra Bartolomeo Faraone and Fra Adrien de la Riviere - The First Knights to Die During the Siege of Malta

On May 21st, two of the first heroes to die in the Siege of Malta were the Portuguese knight Fra Bartolomeo Faraone and the French knight Adrien de la Riviere.

After the initial arrival of the Turkish force on May 18th, the following day, the 19th, the Turks landed at Marsaxlokk and proceeded to the village of Zejtun and start robbing whatever crops and livestock they could find. They were met by a cavalry detachment, led by these two brave Knights, which had been dispatched by La Vallette to shadow the Turkish troop movements. Both were captured by the Turks and interrogated by Mustafa` Pasha` himself who wanted to know which was the weakest point in the local defence to attack Birgu. Finally after various methods of torture we employed without success molten silver was poured into their ears and they divulged that the weakest point in the knights defenses was at the Post of Castille. In fact the Post of Castille was the most strongly defended and it is a testament to the honor and bravery of these two knights who must have known that when the truth became known they would undoubtedly be put to death for their deception.

Trusting the information given up under severe torture, Mustafa Pasha sent a substantial force to attack Birgu. The advance troops outpaced the main body of soldiers and were met by a number of eager young knights who sallied forth from their fort much to the chagrin of the Grand Master watching from Fort St. Angelo. He later gave orders that no troops were to leave their positions without his express command. But on this first engagement the knights were victorious and what could have been a disaster for them instead became the first defeat for Mustafa's army and the loss of several hundred of his soldiers to twelve knights of St. John.

Mustafa Pasha was outraged at the trickery of Fra's Faraone and de la Riviere and he had them put to death. One account states that they were beheaded and another that they were bastinadoed to death. It would seem reasonable that they were first bastinadoed and finally beheaded.

*Bastinadoed is a form of corporal punishment where the feet are tied together and then the soles of the feet are whipped with a cane or similar object. This cause intense levels of pain.

The picture is of the Hornworks of the Post of Castille. Much work is being done to renovate the area including the removal of many structures added after the Siege such as those outside the wall at the bottom of the picture.

See also http://birgu.gov.mt/node/16

450th Anniversary of the Beginning of the Great Siege of Malta

On this day, May 18, 1565 the Ottoman Turkish Navy arrived at the island of Malta preparing to invade the island and secure a post from which to invade mainland Europe. The actual siege did not begin for a few days as the two Turkish leaders, the 4th Vizier Serdar Kizilahmedli Mustafa Pasha the leader of the land forces, and the supreme naval commander, Piyale Pasha debated over where to launch the attack. It was decided to attack Fort St. Elmo and secure the entrance to the harbor. Fort St. Elmo is the star shaped fort at the bottom of the picture.

Sunday, 24 May 2015

Come, O Holy Ghost


Come, Thou Holy Spirit, come!
And from Thy celestial home
Shed a ray of light divine!
Come, Thou Father of the poor!
Come, Thou Source of all our store!
Come, within our bosoms shine!

Thou, of comforters the best;
Thou, the soul's most welcome guest;
Sweet refreshment here below;
In our labor, rest most sweet;
Grateful coolness in the heat;
Solace in the midst of woe.

O most blessed Light divine,
Shine within these hearts of Thine,
And our inmost being fill!
Where thou art not, man hath naught,
Nothing good in deed or thought,
Nothing free from taint of ill.

Heal our wounds; our strength renew;
On our dryness pour Thy dew;
Wash the stains of guilt away:
Bend the stubborn heart and will;
Melt the frozen, warm the chill;
Guide the steps that go astray.

On the faithful, who adore
And confess Thee, evermore
In Thy sevenfold gifts descend;
Give them virtue's sure reward;
Give them Thy salvation, Lord;
Give them joys that never end.

Fr. Caswell, Cong. Orat.

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.
Amen.

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

Saturday, 25 April 2015

Latin Mass Pilgrimage to Blackrock

After a pilgrimage to probably the finest gothic Church in Ireland, St. Patrick's Cathedral in Armagh, the only way to balance it was to visit the first post-Emancipation (and thus effectively the first post-Reformation) Catholic Church in the Archdiocese of Dublin, St. John the Baptist's, Blackrock, Co. Dublin.

The Church was built in the last decade of the archiepiscopate of Dr. Murray (1823-1854) to the design of Patrick Byrne, better known for his classical Church designs in the Archdiocese.  The foundation stone was laid on the feast of St. John the Baptist's Nativity, 24th June, 1842, and completed and dedicated on 14th September, 1845.

The classical style was more 'Roman' and, since all the earlier gothic were in the hands of Anglicans, the classical style was used as a counterpoint by the emergent Catholic people of Dublin.  However, the gothic revival, albeit in a functional form, had, at last, reached Catholic Dublin.

Blackrock was Byrne's third in the Archdiocese and his first in the gothic style.  He followed St. John the Baptist's (1845) with St. James', James' Street (1844), completed in a much simplified form, and the Church of the Visitation, Fairview (1847), Ss. Alphonsus and Columba's, Ballybrack (1854), each in gothic.  The old St. Pappan's, Ballymun (1848) was also to Byrne's design in gothic.  He returned to the classical style for Our Lady, Refugium Peccatorum, Rathmines (1850) and the Three Patrons', Rathgar (1860).

The stained glass windows are remarkably eclectic.  William Wailes designed the windows of the sanctuary gable (1845).  Joshua Clarke designed the joyful and sorrowful mysteries windows in the organ loft (1898).  Harry Clarke produced windows in the nave representing Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Ss. Sebastian, Hubert and Francis, and the Crucifixion (1925).  Early & Co. produced windows depicting the life of St. Anne (c. 1930).

Our pilgrimage Mass was for the feast of St. Mark with a commemmoration of the Rogation Day. As you look at the reredos, to the left of Our Lady (center) is St. Peter and to his left is St. Mark.  We were made exceptionally welcome by Fr. Delany, Kay and the whole community, and were treated to tea in the Parish Center after Mass.








St. Mark's statue to the far left, then St. Peter, Our Lady, St. Paul and St. Luke