ST BRIGID’S FEAST DAY: On Saturday next February 1 we will celebrate the lovely Feast Day of St Brigid, and we can now look forward to the brighter evenings as the days lengthen by the proverbial ‘cock’s step’.
Actually very little is known about St. Brigid, fondly referred to as “Mary of the Gael” We are told, however, that she was born at Faughart near Dundalk in Co Louth around the year 451. According to this legend her father was a pagan chieftain of Leinster and her mother was a Christian slave who had been baptized by St. Patrick. Another legend maintains that her father Dubtach and her mother Brocseach, came from noble Leinster families, both apparently Christians!
Brigid founded many monasteries and convents throughout Ireland, but her major Christian Foundation was in Kildare. It seems most likely that her first convent was founded in Kildare, on a piece of ground given to her by the King of Leinster, and marked by a large oak tree, which gave its name to the place – Cill Dara, meaning Church of the Oak. This was to become the principal church of the Kingdom of Leinster.
Many miracles are attributed to St. Brigid and she earned a huge reputation for healing the sick – the blind man seeing, the dumb girl speaking etc.
There is a story told that while she was tending to a dying pagan chieftain she sat praying and plaiting rushes from the floor into a cross. She used this cross as an example while she explained the story of Christ to the man. This, it seems, is how the familiar St. Brigid’s Cross originated. These crosses are still to be found in many Irish Homes. Traditionally they are hung on the front and back doors of the houses to protect them from fire, storms and evil.
I myself have a St Brigid’s Cross, not made with rushes, but with pipe cleaners which is rather special to me. Some years ago I was visiting my son in America who at that time was working with a class of primary school children in Iowa City. Coming up to St Brigid’s Day he was charming them with stories of the Saint and decided to show them how to make St Brigid’s Crosses. Of course there wasn’t a rush in sight, but never one to be put down, he improvised with pipe cleaners and the children were delighted to learn how to make them. There are now some unique St. Brigid’s Crosses adorning some homes in Iowa City. That’s when they presented me with a St. Brigid’s Cross made with ‘BLUE’ pipe cleaners. I’m sure St. Brigid didn’t mind.
There are numerous holy wells associated with the Saint, not alone in Ireland but also in Britain. Even in the Druidic religion wells were often the sites of special veneration. One local St. Brigid’s Holy Well is located in Kilbreedy, Kilcornan, Co. Limerick.
My late husband, he being a country man, loved St. Brigid’s Day and no matter what the weather was like he welcomed this first day of Spring with great hope for good times to come. Well now the evenings are already lengthening so maybe we just need to have patience and hopefully the good bright days are coming .
ARDSCOIL RIS: The Parents’ Council of Ardscoil Ris extends a warm welcome to past Parents’ Council members to join them for a Social Occasion and Tour of the new school building on Sunday January 26, 2014. They look forward to meeting you to discuss stories of times past and view some memorabilia and photos on display. Venue: Ardscoil Ris, North Circular Road. Time: 3 pm to 4.30 pm. Enquiries 087-2848155 / 086-8184616 / 087-2841238.
CATHOLIC SCHOOLS WEEK: The theme for Catholic Schools Week 2014 is: “Catholic Schools – Centres of Faith and Learning’. CSW 2014 will begin on Sunday January 26, 2014 and end on February 2, 2014. The Diocesan launch of CSW will take place in the Woodlands Hotel, Adare on Monday January 27 at 6.30 pm. The keynote address will be given by Professor Bart McGetterick. All are welcome.
BIRTHDAY CELEBRATIONS: Our Community Centre was celebrating in style on Wednesday last, January 15. The occasion was to mark the birthday of a wonderful very popular lady. Margaret Manning originally from St Mary’s Park but now residing in Moyross, celebrated her ninety-eighth birthday.
She is involved with the Womens ‘Wednesday Club’ at the Community Centre, and wouldn’t miss her weekly visit for anything.
As the name suggests these ‘ready-for-anything’ women meet every Wednesday – have lunch, play bingo and organize a great sing-song. Any occasion is seized upon to celebrate and they did it in style on Wednesday for the birthday-girl. With the assistance of Linda, Brenda and the staff at the Community Centre, the dining hall was decorated with buntings and balloons and a special Birthday Cake was presented to Margaret. The sing-song, which is usually facilitated by Tom Hassett, was more energetic than usual and I wouldn’t be surprised if a spot of dancing ensued before the celebrations ended. I do know that Margaret thoroughly enjoyed the party. We offer her our very best wishes now for health and happiness.
TABLE QUIZ: The Original Charity Table Quiz this year is in aid of Milford Hospice and will take place in the Best Western Pery’s Hotel, Glentworth Street. This event always proves to be entertaining, amusing and full of fun so round up your friends and head for the Glentworth on Thursday February 6th for 8 pm. €10 per person – four people per table. Have a fun night out while supporting Milford Hospice.
BARRINGTON’S HOSPITAL RUN: Runners are signing up already for the fifth Annual Great Limerick Run which will take place on Sunday May 4.
Over eleven thousand runners took part in the event last year including one thousand five hundred children who participated in the ‘kids run for fun’ which was held in the grounds of Limerick University. Having three individual races – 5km, 10km and marathon - it is now the third largest running event in the country and already over one thousand people have registered to take part in this years event.
SPECIAL OLYMPICS: Volunteers are requested for the Special Olympics which will be held in Limerick from Thursday June12 to Sunday June 15, 2014. One thousand five hundred Special Olympic athletes from all over Ireland will participate in thirteen sports competitions over the three day Games.
A total of three thousand volunteers are needed to ensure the successful running of the event. Be part of something special in 2014 and help make these the best Games ever.
For more information or to register as a volunteer please go to – specialolympics.ie
SOCIAL SERVICES: The annual Diocesan Collection for the Limerick Social Services was held at all City Churches last weekend. Located in Henry Street, the Centre caters for a variety of social needs throughout the city and county. They offer parent and family support, teenage and parent programmes, services for older people, counselling, and a meeting place for voluntary organisations. They deserve our generous support.
JOURNEY TO THE HEART: A weekly Meditation programme takes place every Friday in the Pastoral Centre in the basement of the Augustinian Church, O’Connell Street. Those who have never practised this form of prayer and those who have already developed a regular practice are welcome to attend. Time – Fridays at 5 pm. Feel free to attend all or part of the sessions.
SCRIPTURE REFLECTION: Reflection on the Sunday Gospel with Patricia Cahill continues every Thursday morning at 11 am in the Augustinian Pastoral Centre (basement). All are welcome to attend.
SYMPATHY: We offer our sincere sympathy to the family of the late Nancy Williams on their recent bereavement. Nancy who was from Elton Court, Meelick was late of Hartigan Villas, Moyross. She is survived by her sons Anthony and Kevin, daughter Michelle, grandchildren, great-grandchild, sisters-in-law Marie, June, Joan, brother-in-law Frank, son-in-law Kevin, daughter-in-law Susan, brothers Jimmy, Patsy, Noel, sister Chrissie, relatives and friends. Removal took place from Crosses Funeral Home on Friday evening, with burial in Mount St Oliver cemetery on Saturday following requiem Mass in St. Lelia’s Church.