Monday, November 6, 2023

Happy Feast of All Irish Saints!

Today is the Feast of All Irish Saints, a feast that was introduced by Pope Benedict XV in 1921. I wonder if the timing had anything to do with the War of Independence that was raging at the time?

I only learned about this feast in recent years.

There was an extraordinary dearth of Irish canonisations between the days of sainthood by acclimation, and when St. Oliver Plunkett was raised to the altars in 1975. Thankfully, things have picked up since...

Personally, I must admit, I have very little interest in most of the Irish saints. I'm mostly interested in modern saints. Ancient Irish saints are shrouded in a fog of legend, folklore, and supposition. All wonderful things in their own way, but I'd rather read about saints who are documented and in clearer focus. I find it easier to relate to them.

None of this means I don't appreciate the tradition of Irish sanctity. It's a shimmering horizon against which we live our faith lives, and I'm very grateful it's there. I am grateful for all the obscure saints who lend their names to our villages, churches and neighbourhoods, including St. Pappan who is (sort of) the local saint of Ballymun.

Saints of Ireland, pray for us!

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