Sunday, July 17, 2016

Pádraig Ó Fiannachta RIP

This morning I once again attended the Irish language Mass in Our Lady of Dolours church, Glasnevin. During the Prayers of the Faithful, I was saddened to hear of the death of Monsignor Pádraig Ó Fiannachta, a scholar-priest who translated the Bible into Irish-- amongst many, many other achievements. (Click here for his obituary.)

The remarkable thing is that I am currently about two hundred pages into an eight hundred page biography of Monsignor Ó Fiannachta. (Written in Irish.) I hadn't even heard of him until perhaps a month ago, when I read an article he wrote, vividly and poetically describing the Advent penitential service in his church. 

He was several-times editor of An Sagart (The Priest), an Irish language magazine whose back issues I have been reading for some months, during my tea and lunch breaks. He also translated St. Augustine's Confessions into Irish. He was fluent in Welsh as well as Irish, and who knows how many other languages. (He visited the USSR in order to acquire some Russian, which he considered a beautiful language, as do I.) He travelled all over the world.

Even more remarkably, I was talking about him to my office mate two days ago, as we were both attending a library presentation in which he was mentioned (in his capacity as a publisher and editor). My office mate had actually met him, once, while in Donegal. He spoke very highly of him.

God rest his soul! His was a life that very strikingly exemplified the old motto, "Do chum glóire Dé agus onóir na hÉireann", "For the glory of God and the honour of Ireland."

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