The Presbytery, Abbeydorney. (066 7135146; 087 6807197)




15th May 2022, 5th Sunday of Easter.


Dear Parishioner,


I am writing this page on Saturday morning. Two hours


from now, I will be celebrating the First Communion Mass for the children


of Abbeydorney and Killahan Second Class. As I do on most Saturdays, I


listened to the first part of Countrywide, presented by Damian O’Reilly, on


RTE Radio 1, following the 8 a.m. News. He started the programme by put-


ting a question about the TV programme that is watched by a large number


of farmers during the month of May. I didn’t have the answer! It was the


Sunday Farming Forecast for the week ahead. So, there you have it – the


link between First Communion and silage making. Both are happening dur-


ing the month of May. When you read this ‘Dear Parishioner’, all the chil-


dren in our parish who were due to receive First Communion, will have


done so. Parents and family members, who were in attendance, together


with their extended families and those who have seen the Masses


livestreamed will have heard me appealing to the parents not to see First


Communion, as a once-off occasion but as the start of a journey with their


child – bringing their child to receive the Bread of Life on many occasions in


the future.


When I am preparing a homily for First Communion, I have to ask myself,


‘How do I connect with all those in front of me today?’ The age range is


from 8 to ? Well, there are the parents of the children, brothers and sisters


of the child receiving, grandparents, aunts and uncles etc. To do that effec-


tively, I would want the skill and charm of the late Gay Byrne! Those that I


hope will hear what I have to say (and maybe who will talk about it after-


wards) are the parents of the children. You may have thought I would be


directing my words at the children, as some priests will do! In trying to get


across to the parents that their task of spiritual parenting goes on side by


side with ‘ordinary parenting’ into their child’s teenage years, I am hoping


they will see me as offering encouragement to them as well as appealing to


them to give witness to their faith in what they say and do.


Do I think that those listening to me are in the mood for hearing a challeng-


ing message! Are their thoughts, maybe, more taken up with the festivities


that will follow the Mass? Parents don’t usually contact me to discuss


what I said but I leave the rest to the Holy Spirit. (Fr. Denis O’Mahony.




Loneliness (Carmel Wynne- Reality May 2022)
We All Experience Loneliness From Time To Time, But In Different Ways
The first Report on the Social Implications of COVID-19 in Ireland set out a
range of issues impacting the general population including a lack of social
interaction, mental health problems and loneliness. Cut off from our loved
ones, loneliness emerged as a key public health challenge for the Irish pop-
ulation during the pandemic. Loneliness is often assumed to be an issue
that predominantly affects the elderly but, according to Professor Roger
O’Sullivan from the Institute of Public Health, loneliness increased more
among 18-34-year-olds than for any other age group. In 2018, data from
Prof. O’Sullivan showed that 3 per cent in the 18-34 age group said they
were lonely all or most of the time. By November 2020, this figure had ris-
en to 28 per cent. Extreme loneliness increased for all, bar the over 70s,
who remained at 5 per cent – from 3 to 9 per cent among 35- to 44-year-
olds; from 3 to 15 per cent among 45- to 54-year-olds; and from 3 to 7 per
cent among 55- to 69-yearolds. It’s hardly surprising that more people
than ever reported feeling lonely during the past two years. The reasons
are obvious. Lockdown was incredibly difficult for everyone, but especial-
ly for people who were living alone, single-parent families and those who
were not allowed to visit their terminally ill loved ones in hospital.
There are no words to describe the emotional pain, suffering and sense of
abandonment that many lonely, socially isolated and terminally ill patients
had to endure alone. Window visits were of little consolation to family
members whose only wish was to sit by the bedside and hold the hand of a
loved one, in what might be their final days. We will never understand the
loneliness and sorrow of people who did not get to say their goodbyes in
person. Bereavement is always difficult, but for people who were de-
prived of the emotional support given and received at a traditional wake
and funeral, the grieving process will continue to be arduous and painful.
Subjective: No two people experience loneliness in the same way because
loneliness is subjective. It can and does affect everyone at some time in
their lives. Left unchecked, it can have as serious an impact on our health
as alcohol, smoking or obesity. Different people need different amounts
of social contacts. Some people can spend a lot of time alone and suffer
no loneliness. Others can feel lonely in a crowd.


Prof. O’Sullivan wisely said that “Not everyone who is lonely is socially iso-
lated and not everyone who is socially isolated is lonely.” There are good
reasons why so many of us put on weight – jokingly referred to as the
‘Covid stone’ – during lockdown. People who rate themselves as lonely are
more likely to sleep fitfully and this may cause them to feel tired the fol-
lowing day. Lonely people are more likely to eat unhealthily, drink more
and fail to exercise. A meta-analysis of nearly 150 studies showed that a
lack of social interaction had the same negative effects on risk of death as
smoking, alcohol, lack of exercise and obesity. Both alcohol and loneli-
ness increase the risk of mental health problems such as anxiety, stress
and depression. The most cited reasons for drinking are to ease boredom,
relax and unwind. In the face of the unprecedented stresses and anxieties
of an uncertain future, alcohol consumption increased for many who could
no longer socialise in pubs and restaurants. A couple of glasses of wine or
a few beers in the evening helped people cope with the loneliness. Some
believed alcohol helped them get a good night’s sleep. A study by
‘Drinkaware’ found that in the 30-day period leading up to April 24, 2020,
52 per cent of adults were drinking on a weekly basis and the frequency of
consumption of alcohol had also increased.
One of the most underreported and ignored health problems in Irish socie-
ty is the perceived isolation of lonely people who stay at home and assuage
their loneliness by lolling in front of the television with junk food, overeat-
ing and rationalising that an alcoholic drink will cheer them up. Technology
has changed the way we shop, work, socialise and maintain personal rela-
tionships with family, colleagues, classmates and friends. People wrongly
assume that social media should be an antidote to loneliness but there is
research that suggests that heavy users of social media are lonely people.
The jury is still out on whether social media generates loneliness or lonely
people use social media more.
The month of May is the pleasant time; its face is beautiful; the blackbird
sings his full song, the living wood is his holding, the cuckoos are singing
and ever singing; there is a welcome before the brightness of the summer.
(Lady Gregory in Reality Magazine, May 2022)
When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know
peace. (Jimi Hendrix in Reality Magazine, May 2022)
Seeing your Life through the Lens of the Gospel John Byrne OSA
1.Judas leaves and Jesus announces that the moment has come for God’s
power to be made manifest. This is unexpected at a moment of imminent
betrayal. Have there been times for you when the power of God was made
manifest in strange circumstances?
2.‘I shall not be with you much longer.’ Jesus announces a parting of the
ways. There are places we have to go in life where others cannot come
with us. There are places others have to go and we cannot accompany
them. When have you experienced this going on alone as necessary for a
fuller life for yourself, or for someone else?
3.Jesus proclaims love as the distinguishing characteristic of his followers.
Have there been times when reaching out to others has heightened your
sense of walking in the footsteps of Jesus.
4.Who are the individuals or communities whose love for one another and
for others has been a witness to you? Perhaps you have seen examples of
this during the Covid pandemic, or in the response to the plight of refugees
from Ukraine or from other countries in crisis.
Points to Ponder Intercom May 2022.
Loving those with whom we agree or are partial to is the easy part. Loving
the rest of those we come in contact with is a much harder proposition.
Reality is ... it’s easier to love those who are more loving and lovable. It is
said that John, in his old age, would remind those around him to love one
another. When questioned why he told them this so very often, his reply
would be, ‘Because it is what our Lord commanded. If it is all you do, then
it is enough.’ The way Jesus talks about loving each other is a precursor of
the spread of Christianity. As he loved and that love spread within his in-
ner circle, so too will love spread after he is gone when love is done in his
name. This act, to love others, is a distinguishing mark of the followers of
Christ then and will continue to be. Some would say that one of the weak-
nesses of the church today is the way many Christians do not embody this
commandment – or the others – commanding his followers to love their
neighbour. Jesus makes plain his call to the disciples. ‘Let me give you a
new command: Love one another. In the same way I loved you, you love
one another. This is how everyone will recognise that you are my disciples
– when they see the love you have for each other’. Jesus was bold and
clear then. How much clearer do we need Jesus to be for our own lives of
discipleship now?
(Karyn Wiseman in Intercom Magazine, May 2022








St. Johns' Church - Tralee - Window of Reconciliation










Tralee Tourism 1960's YouTube Tommy Collins Tralee






Fr Kevin McNamara, Rest in Peace December 2021


DEATH on Tuesday 21st December 2021, of Fr. Kevin Mc Namara of Killarney, Kerry / Cooraclare, Clare.  Son of the late Mary and Tom and survived by his sister Geraldine Condren,  his brother-in-law Dave, niece Niamh, nephew Caimin, his extended family, neighbours, the Bishop and Priests of the Diocese of Kerry, Conferees in the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart, his parishioners in Glenflesk and a wide circle of friends. Fr Kevin reposing in St. Agatha's Church, Glenflesk on Sunday 26th December 2021 from 10.00am to 12 noon and in the Church of the Assumption, Moyvane on Sunday evening from 2.00 pm to 4.00 pm. Requiem Mass on Monday, 27th December in St. Senan's Church, Cooraclare at 2.00 pm, burial afterwards in Dromelihy Cemetery




Bishop Ray Browne expressed the shock and sadness on the death of Fr Kevin:




There is widespread shock and sadness at the sudden death of Fr. Kevin McNamara, parish priest of Glenflesk. Currently he was parish priest of Glenflesk, having served previously in Kenmare, Killarney , Rathmore and Moyvane. Fr. Kevin was in hospital for a number of days, when Tuesday morning he suddenly took ill and died.  Fr Kevin was a man of huge energy and colour. We all regret his passing.  Rest in peace, Fr. Kevin.



Fr Kevin was born in 1955 in Cooraclare Village in Co. Clare. He was ordained as a Missionary of the Sacred Heart in 1981. He joined the diocese of Kerry in 2004 and spent a short while in Kenmare. Killarney was his next parish in July of that year. Rathmore followed in 2012 till 2015 when he moved to Moyvane. His current parish was Glenflesk. Fr. Kevin was a gifted writer and communicator. He put great work into his parish newsletters.





From: Sean Sheehy <frlistowel@gmail.com>


Date: Wed, 22 Sep 2021, 12:20


Subject: 26th Sunday B








Is there a Hell?




   In today’s world hell is rarely mentioned by the Church’s preachers. We hear it when people yell, “Give




‘em hell!” urging on a team or an individual to conquer the opposition. The word ‘hell’ means “the place of torment for the wicked after death.” In the Bible ‘Gehenna’ is used to describe Hell as the abode of the damned. When I was growing up most of the sermons in Church were labelled as “hellfire and brimstone.” But since Vatican II the focus has been on God’s love rather than on fear of spending eternity in hell. But we need to realize that God’s love doesn’t preclude the possibility of ending up in hell. The fact that we can say “Yes” to God’s love doesn’t preclude the fact that we can also say “No” to what He offers us. This abuse of human freedom to reject God’s love by disobeying His Commandments became a reality when Adam and Eve freely chose to follow Satan, thus dooming the human race to a painful eternity.




   God is love (1 Jn 4:8) and so He continues to love. That love became visible when His Word took on human flesh in the Person of Jesus Christ, God-become-man, conceived by the Holy Spirit in the womb of the Virgin Mary. Jesus began His public ministry proclaiming to the world: “This is the time of fulfilment. The reign of God is at hand! Reform your lives and believe in the Gospel.” (Mk 1:15)He came, as He said Himself, “to call sinners, not the self-righteous, to repentance.” (Mk 2:17) Jesus’ mission extended God’s love to every man and woman by calling them to avail of His mercy through repenting of their sins and seeking His forgiveness. He didn’t call the self-righteous because they believed they hadn’t sinned and didn’t need to seek forgiveness. Why did Jesus come to call sinners? Because He didn’t want anyone to go to Hell and be separated from God for all eternity. Jesus also knew that sin is the cause of all human miseries. God created everyone out of love for love and to love. He doesn’t want anyone to be lost to Him. This is why Jesus is the Shepherd who seeks out the lost sheep. This is why He founded His Church so He could continue to seek out the lost sheep through her ordained leaders and lay members.




   Hell matters to Jesus. It’s one of His central teachings which He handed on to His Apostles and through them to His Church under the leadership of her duly ordained bishops and priests. Hell mattered so much to Jesus that He advises us in the Gospel for this Sunday (Mk 9:47-48) to get rid of anything that might prevent us from entering Heaven. He stresses that whoever causes a believer to sin would be better off with “a great millstone tied around his neck and thrown into the sea.” (Mk 9:42) To further emphasize that Hell matters, Jesus advised: if your hand, foot, or eye is causing you to sin it is better to get rid of it than “be thrown into Gehenna where the worm dies not and the fire is never extinguished.” (Mk 9:48) He stressed that it’s better to enter God’s Kingdom maimed than to enter Hell with all your limbs.




   Jesus shows that Hell is real. What’s hell about Hell is the pain of separation from God and all those who love us. The pain of separation from God is like the pain a child experiences when a mother or father dies. It never goes away. Unlike the child’s pain, those in Hell caused their own pain. God gave them every opportunity in this world to repent and be forgiven but they refused to admit their sin, repent, and amend their lives. Heaven is filled with love and all that’s beautiful because of God’s presence. Hell is filled with hate and everything that’s ugly because Satan is present there. There’s no friendship, community, companionship, joy, or happiness in hell. This is why the Psalmist prayed so urgently: “From wanton sin especially, restrain your servant; let it not rule over me. Then shall I be blameless and innocent of serious sin.” (Ps 19:14)




   The greatest gift, next to Himself in the Holy Mass, is the gift of the Sacrament of Reconciliation which Jesus bestowed on His Church to be administered by her bishops and priests. Here God expresses His love in the form of mercy extended to all who repent and seek forgiveness. This is why Jesus said following His parables of the Lost Sheep and the Lost Coin: “I tell you there will be the same kind of joy before the angels of God over one repentant sinner.” (Lk 15:10) Sadly, today, fewer and fewer people who call themselves Christian benefit from this Sacrament. Why? Because they think they have no sin, even though the Holy Spirit warns us that, “If we say, ‘We are free of the guilt of sin,’ we deceive ourselves; the truth is not to be found in us. But if we acknowledge our sins, He who is just can be trusted to forgive our sins, and cleanse us from every wrong. If we say, ‘We have never sinned,’ we make Him a liar, and His word finds no place in us.” (1 Jn 1:8-10) Perhaps the main reason why so few people today participate in Jesus Church is because they believe they have no sin. If they think they haven’t sinned then they don’t need a divine Saviour with the power of forgiveness. If they don’t need a Saviour, they have no interest in Jesus’s presence in His Church and so see no need to thank and worship Him, especially on Sunday. The more people recognize their sinfulness and the reality of Hell the more they’ll embrace Jesus in His Church because only He can save them by the power of the Holy Spirit.




   Bishops, priests and deacons need to take a leaf out of Jesus’ book and start proclaiming the necessity for everyone to “reform your lives, and believe in the Gospel.” Jesus warned us that, “The gate that leads to damnation is wide, the road is clear, and many choose to travel it. But how narrow is the gate that leads to life, how rough the road, and how few there are who find it.” (Mt 7:13-14) Jesus, present in His Church, is that narrow gate. We reform our lives by recognizing how prone we are to sinning; how we need to repent in order to be forgiven and receive absolution in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. If we don't, we doom ourselves to Hell and the everlasting pain of a loveless existence through our own fault. Yes, Virginia, there is a Hell! (frsos)




WINDSOR TERRACE — April 29 marks the day Polish Catholics solemnly remember when nearly 2,000 of the country’s 10,000 diocesan priests perished during the Nazi German occupation in World War II. The day coincides with the 76th anniversary of the liberation of the concentration camp in Dachau, Germany.




“The number of Polish priests murdered there exceeded all other victims from the clergy of other European countries,” said Jan Żaryn, director of the Institute for the Heritage of National Thought in Poland.




The event’s formal title, Day of Martyrdom of the Polish Clergy, was instituted by Polish bishops in 2002. This year, a Mass will be celebrated by Bishop Grzegorz Suchodolski of Siedlce at St. Joseph’s Church in Kalisz, which is located more than 100 miles west of the country’s capital, Warsaw.




The city of Kalisz had a significant role with the priests who survived the camp. It’s said that the clergy entrusted themselves to St. Joseph and vowed that if they survived, they would make an annual pilgrimage to St. Joseph’s Church in Kalisz. After the camp was liberated by the U.S. Army on April 29, 1945, the surviving priests fulfilled their promise and made the pilgrimage. The last Polish priest who survived Dachau, Father Leon Stępniak, died in 2013.








Clergy Seating through the Centuries


Aug 15, 2014


Clergy Seating through the Centuries


By Daniel DeGreve




Online Edition


August 2014


Vol. XX, No. 5




Clergy Seating through the Centuries


Part II — The Enclosed Choir in the Medieval Cathedrals and Abbeys




by Daniel DeGreve




Part I of this exploration of the history and development of clergy seating in churches appeared in the June-July 2014 issue of AB








The above sketch shows a comparison of clergy seating layouts from various historical periods before Vatican II (sketch by Daniel DeGreve ©2014)




The ecclesial institutions of the medieval Church are sometimes maligned by contemporary-minded liturgists and church historians as having been exaggeratedly clerical in nature. Perhaps the most obvious artifact of this so-called clericalism is the fully enclosed choir or chancel, a relative few of which still exist in some of the celebrated cathedrals, abbeys, and collegiate churches of Europe that render the effect of a church within a church.




Such choirs are partitioned by monumental, richly carved stalls on either side in the antiphonal arrangement and, sometimes, along the short end opposite the altar to form a U-shape, and by the occasional surviving choir screen — which according to its particular function and provenance may go by the term pulpitum, jube, lettner, trascoro, tramezzo, or rood screen.




Yet, for a proper and accurate understanding of the transformation of the early basilica bema-choir and presbyterium into the lengthy eastern limbs of the late medieval great churches, it is helpful to keep in mind that as the liturgy evolved through the centuries while its essential form and purpose were maintained, so too did the accommodations that served it.




One of the pivotal contributions was made by the eighth-century Frankish bishop Saint Chrodegang of Metz, who developed a rule of communal life for the priests of his cathedral based on Augustine’s earlier rules for the same, and, in so doing, laid the foundation for the systematic erection of cathedral chapters during the Carolingian era — courtesy of the Council of Aachen in 816. The principal duty of the canon priests who belonged to these chapters was the daily celebration of the Office in the cathedral. Although the life of a canon was distinct from that of a monk, the introduction of canonical chapters did advance a more monastic paradigm for the layout of cathedrals; although some, like Canterbury in England and most of those in the British Isles, had been monastic from their foundation.  Similarly, the emergence of chapters attached to non-cathedral churches gave rise to the quasi-monastic collegiate churches of ascendant European towns and cities, especially in those of the Low Countries.




Another critical development that propelled the need for a compartmentalized choir was the growing popularity of pilgrimage during the Middle Ages. As the veneration of relics became more widespread throughout Europe, the large influxes of pilgrims crowding into shrine churches gave rise to choirs that provided more privacy for the monks or canons attached to them as they celebrated the Office. While privacy and protection from irreverence fed the pragmatic impetus for this spatial detachment from the nave, there was a corresponding liturgical symbology that tended toward the increased enhancement of the Solomonic attributes of a church as the Christian temple.




The invention of choir stalls was a gradual process that grew out of the use of subsellia and sedilia. The Rule of St. Chrodegang refers to the standing posture of the singers and other lesser members of the community, and, as late as the eleventh century, Saint Peter Damien wrote against seating: “Contra sedentes in choro.”1  However, this attitude weakened as choir service became longer and more elaborate. Sometimes the use of T-shaped crutches (reclintoria) by the elderly or infirm was permitted, and even the plan of St. Gall included choir seats with backs (formae or formulae), which were likely moveable appointments. However, by the eleventh century, fixed seats divided only by arms — stalli — had come into existence, and from that time they took on an increasingly architectural form that defined the choir space even more distinctly than it had been previously.2




By the fifteenth century, wooden choir stalls in universal use had high, richly paneled backs, and were fitted with elaborately carved seats, dividers, and canopies. Some of the finest figural ornament can be found on the misericords, customary brackets underneath the hinged seats that, when the seats were turned up, provided relief to standing clergy who were able to lean against them.  In Italy, highly detailed narrative scenes and figural decoration were executed on the backs of stalls with the use of intarsia, a method of inlay wood design.




While the senior clergy — whether they be monks, friars, or canons — occupied the high-backed stalls along the periphery of the choir enclosure, one or more rows of low-backed stalls or choir pews were placed on either side in front of them. These were used by chaplains, brothers, and lay clerks, including vicars choral, who were professional male singers introduced in the late Middle Ages for the purpose of singing the more complicated polyphonic liturgical music.  Each successive row was placed a step higher than the one in front of it, and was equipped with a book ledge and kneelers supported by the backs of the preceding row.  The front row of seats were sometimes provided with a continuous modesty panel topped by a ledge rail for the same purpose.  The end panels of these rails and seat dividers became situations for embellishment that came to include carved floral finials and the like.




The development of the choir stall was accompanied by the prevailing tendency to locate the bishop’s cathedra or abbot’s throne along the Gospel side of the choir rather than behind the altar in the apse, which O’Connell places as early as the ninth or tenth centuries on the Continent, and no later than the twelfth in England.3  In some places, such as Canterbury and Norwich, the ancient ceremonial cathedra remains to this day on its dais at the head of the apse, although a secondary bishop’s seat, conforming to a stall, was added to the medieval choir, which became the one normally used by prelates during choir service. Clerical offices were distinguished by the articulation of their respective stalls and their locational relationship to each other.  The bishop’s canopy was generally the largest and most elaborate, followed by that of the dean and/or provost. In some cases, a lay-person, generally a monarch or noble beneficiary, might also have an honorary stall for his use during state visits.




The presbyteries of cathedrals and abbeys came to be positioned in front of the high altar as they likely already had been all along in the much smaller ecclesiae rusticanae, or parish churches.  Yet, the distinction between the choir and presbyterium, or chancel, remained.




It is important to note that choir stalls were typically used by the clergy during choir service, not by the celebrant and his assistants during Mass.  The presbyterium was still set beyond the choir and its stalls, and occupied the area about the altar, generally raised a step above the choir and railed off from it.  The celebrant of the Mass and his assisting ministers would have sat in the presbyterium on seats, which will be described in greater detail in the following section.  The essential traits of this choir-presbyterium sanctuary arrangement can still be appreciated in some of the great Gothic cathedral choirs of Europe, such as at Amiens and Auch in France, and has been extensively retained within the Anglican tradition from large cathedrals to modest parish churches.




As mentioned above, in the great churches, the choir became more detached from the nave through monumental partitions, as can still be seen throughout England, Spain, Belgium, and parts of Germany, and through dramatic transitions of floor level, which is idiomatic of northern Italy.  The location of an altar in front of the partitioned or elevated choir for the analogous celebration of the Mass in the more immediate presence of the laity became common in cathedrals and collegiate churches.  Such altar arrangements still can be appreciated in various locales throughout Europe, such as in the monastic church of San Miniato al Monte in Florence and the former cathedral of Magdeburg.  These altars do not seem to have been equipped with any fixed clergy seating that has survived in modern times, but probably included moveable wooden sedilia.




Parish churches, which became identified as such by the eleventh century, functioned primarily on behalf of the laity, so that the choir, if included, was a relatively short space with only a few stalls. Nevertheless, the Office was dutifully sung by a small community of priests, or even by some individual rectors, and the choir/ chancel was usually separated by a screen not unlike cathedrals and abbeys. Squints, which were apertures cut through the thicknesses of walls, permitted views of the high altar where heavier screens were used, and allowed the laity to venerate the Host when it was elevated.4  The rood screens and choir stalls of these village churches can still be appreciated, such as those of the Church of St. Mary in Westwell, England and a host of late Gothic churches in Swabia and the Black Forest in Germany.5




Late Medieval and Tridentine Sedilia




Briefly mentioned in Part I of this article, sedilia (plural of sedile) were benches composed of multiple seats, usually three or sometimes five in number, which corresponded to the number of celebrating and assisting ministers during Mass. It was customary for the celebration of Mass in its solemn high form to include either two deacons or a deacon and subdeacon to assist the celebrant. The primitive sedilia of the first millennium was an undivided wooden or stone bench, usually fixed and always placed near the altar, and probably without much of a back and certainly no arms, so as not to compete with a cathedra.




A couple of the earliest surviving examples are from Sant Climent in Taüll, Spain (1200), and the monastery in Gradefes, also in Spain.6  As previously described, the sedilia came into common use during the Middle Ages, from cathedrals to simple parish churches, especially as the apsidal synthronon of the early basilicas tended toward eventual obsolescence in favor of an altar visually engaged to the apse wall in its stead.




As Christendom “cast off its old garments to cover itself in a white vesture of churches,” the design of sedilia took an innovatively architectural turn. By the second half of the twelfth century, sedilia began to be incorporated, quite literally, within the masonry structure of the Epistle side (pictured below this paragraph) wall of the presbyteries. Recessed and articulated with one or more arches, the pattern of wall sedilia often followed that of the blind arcading that lent visual relief to the heavy walls, and were complemented by the adjacent piscina niche, where the ritual ablution of the Eucharistic vessels was performed. Often the stone seats of recessed sedilia were separated by small columns or mullions supporting their capping arches, and were not uncommonly placed at a stepped profile analogous to the floor elevations — the one closest to the altar raised at the highest level and being reserved for the celebrant.  Otherwise, the seats were placed in alignment to each other, as seen in the ruins of Ardfert Cathedral in County Kerry, Ireland. In village parish churches, only a single sedile recessed in the wall might be provided.  In other cases, a single stone bench was made long enough for two or three persons. Whereas brightly painted, stenciled, or glazed tile designs often decorated the back surfaces of recessed sedilia, small stained-glass windows may also punctuate them, as can be found in France and England, such as at Dorchester Abbey in Oxfordshire. Small curtains sometimes were used at the back to keep away cold drafts from their occupants, and were color-coordinated with the vestments in liturgical season and occasion. As Gothic architecture flowered with increasing ornamental elegance, especially after the thirteenth century, the ceiling surfaces of some recessed sedilia became vaulted compartments detailed with delicate ribs and bosses, and intricately executed stone canopies — not unlike those of the wooden choir stalls.




At the Basilica of the Sacred Heart at the University of Notre Dame, the presider’s and assisants’ chairs are canted at an angle on the traditional Epistle side of the Sanctuary, a common solution seen today. (source:http://www.ndneighborhood.com/)




Recessed wall sedilia were employed throughout European locales, especially in the North and in Spain, with the notable exception of Italy, where the articulation of wall mass tended to be more planar than sculptural in design. There, freestanding sedilia with low backs were placed near the Epistle wall. The low back distinguished the sedilia from the cathedra, and also allowed for the long vestments donned at the altar. As a Classical architectural grammar of Italian persuasion gradually spread northward beyond the Alps, the sedilia tended to revert to a piece of wood furniture, even in locales where the recessed wall sedilia had been previously favored.  Similarly, faldstools continued to be used by prelates when not officiating in their own cathedral. 




The spirit of the Counter Reformation and the Council of Trent brought about an attitudinal shift regarding the size and prominence formerly assigned the choir and chancel.  Improving visibility of the high altar and the ritual of the Mass for the edification of the laity was the overriding priority and impetus for this transformation, and it was accompanied by a gradual diminishment of obligation to the communal profession of the Office by canons and the secular clergy in their churches.




Although Saint Charles Borromeo did not offer a preference for the position of choir stalls relative to the high altar in his book of instructions to the priests of his archdiocese regarding church layout, the second half of the sixteenth century onward witnessed the reordering of choirs throughout Italy.  The Italian solution, as it might be called, was to locate the choir stalls in the chancel completely behind the high altar in the curvature of the apse, as at the cathedral of Piacenza, or to allow them to surround the high altar, as at Borromeo’s own cathedral of Milan, where they begin well in front of the high altar and continue behind it.




Even in monastic churches, such as Andrea Palladio’s masterpiece of San Giorgio Maggiore in Venice, the Benedictine choir with its wooden stalls was placed in the apse behind the high altar, and visually partitioned by a handsome trabeated organ case.  One might see this ‘retro-choir’ (not in the British sense), whereby the function of the patristic bema-type choir was now wed to the apsidal presbyterium, as a natural answer in a tradition-laden part of Christendom that had tended to cling to ancient forms and semiotics all along.  It is even defensible that such arrangements had existed prior to the Counter Reformation, as has been elucidated in the research of Donal Cooper on the function of double-sided altarpieces in pre-Tridentine Franciscan choir enclosures in Umbria.7




High altars in Italy were moved forward to accommodate relocated choirs in pre-existing churches. Frequently, new large canvas altarpieces were still applied to the apse wall, although the altars themselves now stood some distance in front of them, as at the cathedral of Cremona.  The cathedra and its associated faldstools for lesser prelates might be kept on the Gospel side of the shortened chancel space in front of the altar, placed at one end of the horseshoe-shaped apsidal choir, or in the midst of the choir stalls, as at Spoleto and Orvieto.  Classical taste favored the use of brocaded testers over the cathedra to bolster its visual prominence when placed on the Gospel side, just as the wooden Gothic canopies of northern Europe had done.  The wooden bench-like sedilia for the celebrant and his assistants remained essentially unchanged in form although some with seat dividers do exist from the late sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.  Additionally, wooden stools known as scabella were provided for lesser ministers, such as acolytes and other servers, and were placed along the side walls of the sanctuary in proximity to the sedilia and high altar.




The Jesuit mother church of Il Gesu in Rome has been held up by historians as a poster-image of the ideal Tridentine church layout.  In describing it, we may temporarily dispense with the terms choir and chancel, and refer to the sanctuary instead.  The sanctuary of Il Gesu is relatively shallow and is separated only by a step or two and a low altar rail, which is a dematerialized version of the ancient cancelli. The high altar and tabernacle are unencumbered by choir stalls. Across Catholic Christendom, shallower sanctuaries and clearer sightlines of high altars ubiquitously prevailed in Tridentine layouts.




The Second Vatican Council and the Presider’s Chair




In 1955, seven years before the solemn opening of the Council, the Reverend J.B. O’Connell wrote the following on the sedilia in his book Church Building and Furnishing: The Church’s Way:




For the sacred ministers (celebrant, deacon and subdeacon, and sometimes an assistant priest) … the only seat appointed by the rubrics is a movable bench, long enough to seat three persons comfortably, with no divisions (making any distinction between its three occupants), without arms and un-canopied… This bench must be placed on the floor, not on a platform so that it is approached by steps. It may have a low back, over which the vestments of the ministers can hang, when they sit, to avoid crushing them. By a series of decrees, [the Sacred Congregation of Rites] has forbidden the use of armchairs, or separate chairs of a domestic pattern, by the sacred ministers, since the former are reserved for higher prelates, and the latter are unsuitable for liturgical use… The bench is placed, normally, on the Epistle side of the chancel facing the side steps of the high altar.8




O’Connell goes on to describe the tradition of covering the sedilia with a color-coordinated non-silk cloth according to the day, ritual, and/or Office. Yet the centuries-old side placement of the sedilia described above was generally discarded during the dramatic changes that were made according to the spirit of Vatican II less than 20 or 30 years after this preceding passage was published. Sacrosanctum Concilium never mandated any formula for seating, but the revisions to the General Instruction of the Roman Missal that were released following the Council did offer the ancient Roman model of the apsidal cathedra as an option for the celebrant.




The option of celebrating the Mass versus populi, or toward the people, necessitated the provision of freestanding altars without the visual impediments of retables, tall candlesticks, and altar crucifixes, which in turn freed up the space behind them for the cathedra or presider’s chair, as well as chairs of assisting ministers, including members of the newly re-established diaconate. The result, especially in cathedrals, was an arrangement not unlike the synthronon of old. While the sedilia itself was not specifically forbidden by the rubrics, its association with what became the extraordinary form of the Roman Rite and its antiphonal (sideways) orientation made it seem antiquated and unconducive to the engagement of the laity’s active participation. Hence, many bishops, pastors, and liturgists saw to their removal, relocation, repurposing, or outright disposal.




Practically speaking, and not necessarily in sight of the tradition thus covered here, there are occasions when placing the clergy seating behind the altar may be a viable programmatic and aesthetic response to a design problem, particularly when dealing with limited side space in a small chancel or seating in-the-round.  Generally, the best way to accomplish this is to place the seats off to the side and at a cant (angle), so as to not obstruct the visual axis between the altar and the tabernacle.




From an archaeological perspective, however, it is interesting to note that there seems to be a persisting sense amongst many modern liturgists that the presider’s chair — versus populi — is representative of a return to the liturgical patrimony of the early Church, or at least its spirit. In the latest edition of the General Instruction of the Roman Missal, the versus populi orientation of clergy seating continues to be viewed as a more compatible position for leading the assembly in prayer than the antiphonal orientation, which somewhat obscured the priest’s face from the laity, but fashioned an essentially uniform prayerful posture of celebrant and congregation toward the altar of Christ’s Sacrifice.  While seating of a domestic type — once prohibited according to the Sacred Congregation of Rites — is seen just about everywhere, and though some may think questioning its use is an insignificant matter, it will be fitting to close with these words taken from Pope Pius XII’s encyclical Mediator Dei:




62. …But it is neither wise nor laudable to reduce everything to antiquity by every possible device. Thus, to cite some instances, one would be straying from the straight path were he to wish the altar restored to its primitive table form; were he to want black excluded as a color for the liturgical vestments; were he to forbid the use of sacred images and statues in churches; were he to order the crucifix so designed that the divine Redeemer’s body shows no trace of His cruel sufferings; and lastly were he to disdain and reject polyphonic music or singing in parts, even where it conforms to regulations issued by the Holy See.




63. …Just as obviously unwise and mistaken is the zeal of one who in matters liturgical would go back to the rites and usage of antiquity, discarding the new patterns introduced by disposition of divine Providence to meet the changes of circumstances and situation.9




If ever there should be a movement to restore the sedilia to common use — and its traditional antiphonal position, which the author dares to say is the more critical of the two related issues — the defenders of the versus-populi poised presider’s chair may readily invoke the preceding passage as an injunction for dispelling reversion to a previous form and arrangement.




Yet, any examination of the Church’s heritage will demonstrate that divine Providence works through timeless means and methods — even occasional follies.






1. T. Poole.  “Choir (Architecture),” The Catholic Encyclopedia.  (New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1908).  www.newadvent.org




2. Ibid.




3. J.B. O’Connell.  Church Building and Furnishing:  The Church’s Way.  (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 1955), 93-94.




4. John Henry Parker.  A Concise Glossary of Architectural Terms.  (New York:  Crescent Books, 1989), 264-265.




5. Justin E.A. Kroesen.  Staging the Liturgy:  The Medieval Altarpiece in the Iberian Peninsula.  (Leuven, Belgium: Peeters, 2009), 162.




6. Ibid.




7. Donal Cooper.  “Franciscan Choir Enclosures and the Function of Double-Sided Altarpieces in Pre-Tridentine Umbria,” Journal of the Warburg & Courtald Institutes.  (2001), Vol. 64, 1-54.




8. J.B. O’Connell.  Church Building and Furnishing:  The Church’s Way.  (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 1955), 67-69.




9. Pope Pius XII – Mediator Dei. 1947 encyclical.(adoremus.org/MediatorDei.html )








Daniel P. DeGreve is an architect with David B. Meleca Architects LLC in Columbus, Ohio. He has contributed articles to both The Adoremus Bulletin and Sacred Architecture Journal. Specializing in traditional ecclesiastical architecture and furnishings in addition to urbanism, Daniel has led the design for several church restoration and renovation projects, including that of his native parish in Ohio.  He is presently involved in the design of additions and improvements to an 1837 Greek Revival church, which will incorporate a new clergy sedilia inspired by the patterns of Asher Benjamin.  Daniel holds a Master of Architectural Design & Urbanism from the University of Notre Dame (2009), and a Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Cincinnati (2002).












Continuing Tributes to Fr Tom Hickey.




Heartfelt sympathy to  his sister Maire ,brother Ben and the Hickey family on the unexpected passing of An tAthair Tomas. When he was assigned to Balloonagh as Chaplin we have good reason to be very grateful for it. He introduced us to a whole new world of  the arts and drama which broadened our horizons.  He was an accomplished actor and  mime artist . He  was held in the highest esteem as a director by professionals at home and abroad.  He was very generous with his talents and had an unerring ability  to identify  them in other people. 


Through the medium of Educational Drama his goal was to help individuals fulfill their potential. In keeping with his vocation he had a particular devotion to Religious Drama. His presentations were Stunning and Uplifting. Through this medium he reached out to people of other Faiths and none. For many years his tutorials and classes were appreciated and enjoyed by the  Radius community in Great Britain.


Whether he was directing a solo silent performance  a school Panto or one of his many epic productions  he dedicated all of his expertise to it. The results were awesome and magic. Often the ticket sales helped with the renovation of the Parish Church, local charities and   Emigrant services received a financial boost thanks to the involvement  of whole communities.


  Fr. Tom   Go raibh mile mile maith  agat .  Slan agus Beannacht.


Anne Liz and Tom Gallivan




Comhbhrón óm' chroí le muintir agus cáirde an tAthair Tomás. Bhuail mé leis don gcéad uair i 1980 nuair a bhí dráma á dhéanamh aige linne i mheán scoil Eoin Baiste i dTrá Lí. Níor dheineas faic ó thaobh na leabhair 's an staidéar fad a bhí an cleachtadh agus an dráma ar siúl ach bhaineas níos mó tairbhe ón méid a d'fhoghlaimíos ón Athair Tomás. Mhúscail sé suim agus grá ionam don drámaíocht agus na healaín rud a d'fhan liom ó shin. Sagart, aisteoir agus fear ana-dhaonna ab ea é.


Suaimhneas síoraí dá anam uasal.


Nuala Kelly, Ardfert






Maura deepest sympathy to you and your family on the passing of such a wonderful brother.


Grant, O my God, that Thy servant may consort with Thy chosen ones, Thy saints and Thy Messengers in heavenly places that the pen cannot tell nor the tongue recount.


Frances Moran




To all the many wonderful tributes posted here, we wish to add our own loving salute to our uncle, Fr. Tom HIckey. We grieve with our parents, Ben and Margaret, and extend heartfelt sympathy to our Auntie Maura and Family in Ireland. If only we could be with you right now!


     From belting out “Jug of Punch” on the Slea Head road to his annual visits to NJ, we have innumerable happy memories. Always kind, always easygoing and content, we knew our uncle was a special man. His wit, his erudition, his love of Irish culture and history all left a deep impression on us, and enriched us immeasurably.


     We will miss him! 


     AnnMarie, Ben, Maureen & Margaret Hickey, our spouses, children and grandchildren, with love.


      RIP, Uncle Tom!


Hickey Family, USA




My deepest sympathy to Maura, Ben and extended Hickey family on the passing of Fr. Tom. My classmate in Rosemount school. May he rest in peace.


Mary Ann Smyth McLoughlin




So very sad to hear of Fr. Hickey's passing. My sincere condolences to all the Hickey family at this time.


Im sure his legacy lives on in the hearts and minds of many of us who were fortunate enough to take to the stage under his expertise.


His talent as a stage director, patience, sense of humour and creativity gave many youngsters in Kerry the courage to 'tread the boards'. His love of the theatre was infectious.


I treasure the memories and the fun we had rehearsing and performing in school productions directed by Fr. Hickey.


Take a bow Fr. Tom, may you rest in peace.


Irene Kavanagh, Kinsale




Our deepest sympathies to The Hickey Family,  Bishop Ray and All the Priests of The Kerry Diocese at this very sad and difficult time of huge loss and grief on the death of Fr. Tom. His love and passion of all things drama and stage were infectious,   He has left an untouchable legacy. Thank you Fr. Tom . Wonderful fond memories , May you rest in peace dear Fr. Tom.


John and Catherine McGrath  née  O' Riordan Killorglin




Deepest sympathy on Fr. Tom’s passing to his sister Maura and family, his brother Ben and Family, Bishop Ray and all the priests of the Diocese.


My first of many happy memories of meeting Fr. Tom took place 55 years ago participating in Moyvane ,Wren Boys competition during Harvest Week In Listowel.    And afterwards on many other occasions with Siamsa.      Always gentle and smiling.


May Fr. Tom Rest In Peace.


Patricia Hanafin Nolan Tralee




Sincere sympathy to the Hickey family on the passing of Father Tom.


Such a lovely gentle kind man


I have lovely memories of a childhood drama that I was involved in and that he directed .


After  many  years I met him again last year and was so happy to have had a chat with him.


Rest in Peace Fr Tom


Liz Keane, Castleisland




More at   https://rip.ie/cb.php?dn=455571






PRAYER TO THE CREATOR On this International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination Lord, Father of our human family, you created all human beings equal in dignity: pour forth into our hearts a fraternal spirit and inspire in us a dream of renewed encounter, dialogue, justice and peace. Move us to create healthier societies and a more dignified world, a world without hunger, poverty, violence and war. May our hearts be open to all the peoples and nations of the earth. May we recognize the goodness and beauty that you have sown in each of us, and thus forge bonds of unity, common projects, and shared dreams. Amen.


from Pope Francis' encyclical, Fratelli Tutti, 4 October 2020



“There’s always been the practice in the Church to place ourselves under the patronage, under the beneficial, beneficent care of the Virgin,” he said. “And that was exactly what they were doing in 1849, and probably something that Catholics should still do today.”




“It’s this idea that the caring Mother of God will take care of us, and that helps us to get out of our own selves and our own fears.”






Mass for Fr D Leahy of Knockanure 14 Oct 1909




The subject' of my discourse, the late beloved pastor of the district, was born in March, 1867, ordained priest 1890, died August 21st, 1909. He was born in the parish of Knockanure, Kerry, Ireland, ': of truly Catholic and wealthy parents, and at an early age he was sent to the well-known classical school at Listowel, and from there to the great Missionary College at Carlow, where he read a distinguished course and was ordained priest in June, 1890. Soon after he left for Australia, and was appointed by the late Dr. Lanigan, then Bishop of the Diocese of Goulburn, to assist the Very Rev. Father Butler at Cootamundra,




28 Nov 1940 The Catholic Press (NSW : 1895 - 1942)


Thursday 28 November 1940.




War, Redmond, Craig Missions.


The death has occurred in Ireland of the Very Rev. Canon P. J. Fitzgerald, P.P., V.F., Listowel, Ireland, who had been for a number of years attached to the Archdiocese of Melbourne. He was for a time at St. Mary's, Geelong, and will be remembered by many in Australia. Canon Fitzgerald, who had been ill for some months, was born at Kilmoyley, Ardfert, County Kerry, 69 years ago, was educated at St. Brendan's Seminary, Killarney, . and at Maynooth, where he was ordained. Having served as curate in some Kerry parishes, he was appointed Administrator at Killarney, and later P.P. of Castletownbere. He became P.P. of Listowel in June, 1935. He was brother to Dr Maurice Fitzgerald, Dublin, and of Mrs. Lawlor, ex National Teacher.— R.I.P.




Catholic Press 2 June 1938


Rev. Father L J. Barry, one of the Mill Hill Fathers who came specially to assist at the Newcastle Missionary and Eucharistic Congress, is returning to his missionary outpost at Sarawak, Borneo, being anxious to continue his activities among the Dyaks in that little known island territory. For 50 years the Church did not make much progress among the tribes of the Dyaks, but to-day there are 12 missions with 24 priests, carrying on the divine work of saving souls, while the Franciscan Sisters of St. Joseph, founded by Cardinal Vaughan in England, are doing heroic work in the schools attached to each missionary centre. To-day there are about 6500 Catholics in Sarawak under the wise leadership of the Very Rev. Father A. 'W. Hopfgar, Prefect Apostolic. Father Barry left Sydney by the Dutch liner Nieuw Zeeland on Monday, 23rd ult. 23 May 1938.


Very Rev. Father Maurice Byrne, parish priest of Wangaratta (Vic), will celebrate the golden jubilee of his ordination to the priesthood on June 24. Born in County Kerry, Ireland, he was educated at St. Michael 'b College, Listowel, and All Hallows College, Dublin, where lie was ordained on Juno 24, 1888. To mark this great occasion a Solemn High Mass will be celebrated at Wangaratta on June 21. The celebrant will be Rev. Father J. Egan, with Rev. Father Armstrong as deacon, and Rev. Father Bowman as sub-deacon. Rev. Father Lehane will act as master of ceremonies, and the occasional sermon will be preached by Rev. Dr. Flynn.




26 Feb 1931 Freeman’s Journal


Formerly parish priest at Warrackna beal, Rev. Timothy P, Lynch passed to his eternal reward, aged 62 years, at East Malvern (Vic.) on Thursday night, 12th Feb. 1931. Father Lynch, who, because of failing health, retired twelve months - ago, was a native of Kilgarvan, County Kerry, Ireland. He was educated at, St. Michael's College, Listowel, and pursued his studies at All Hallows, where he was ordained. Coming to Australia in 1892, Father Lynch became attached to the Ballarat diocese. He was stationed at Casterton first, and was subsequently Administrator at Koroit. He was, later, appointed parish priest at Portland, and in 1905 was given charge of the Warracknabeal parish. Rev. P. Lynch, Bungaree, is a nephew, and Mr. P. B. Lynch, Parkville, Mr. John Lynch, Ireland, and Mr. Jeremiah Lynch, San Francisco, are brothers. Rev. Sister Philomena, of the Presentation Convent, Killarney, - Mrs. O'Carroll and ''Mrs., ' Walsh, Ireland, are sisters.






Freeman’s Journal 17 April 1924


A zealous and devoted pioneer, priest in the archdiocese of Melbourne, the Rev. Father D. B. Nelan, P.P., died on Tues Say night of last week at St. Monica's Presbytery, Essendon. For some time he had been seriously indisposed, and his death therefore was not unexpected. By his parishioners he was held in the greatest affection, and his demise is keenly regretted throughout his extensive parish. Deceased was one of a family of six to enter the religious life — four priests and two nuns. His brother priests, who predeceased the pastor of Essendon, were the Very Rev. Dean Nelan (Colac), Rev. Father John Nelan, and Rev. Father Daniel Nelan. Sister Mary Brendan (Convent of Mercy, Gee long) and Mother Austin (Presentation Convent, Elsternwick) are his sisters. The Sisters of Charity were in constant attendance on the deceased, and Sister Brendan was at her brother's bedside before he died. The Rev. Father R. Collins, P.P., of South Melbourne, a lifelong friend, was with Father Nelan for the greater part of Tuesday. Father Nelan, who was close on 72 years of age, had given forty-five years of his life to the sacred ministry. Born in Ballybunion, North Kerry, Ireland, deceased studied in a classical school at Listowel, and completed his ecclesiastical studies in All Hallows College, where he was ordained in 1879. He was a classmate of his Grace the Most Rev. Dr. P. Delany, Archbishop of Hobart, and the Very Rev. Father T. Lynch, P.P., of St. Kilda. Arriving in Victoria soon after his ordination, Father Nelan's first appointment was to North Melbourne, then known as Hotham. Father Nelan's curacy ended at Kyneton, and he was afterwards ap pointed by Archbishop Goold as parish priest of Keilor. With the growth of population, Essendon supplanted Keilor as the chief centre, and Father Nelan eventually removed to Essendon, where he was parish priest for thirty-nine years. His Grace the Archbishop of Melbourne (the Most Rev. Dr. Mannix) pre sided at the Requiem in St. Monica's, Essendon, on Thursday. Among the 100 priests present was the Right Rev. Dr. John Barry (Bishop-Elect of Goulburn. The various Orders of Sisters and the Christian Brothers were represented, as likewise parish organisations. The Archbishop gave the Final Absolution at the catafalque. The funeral, headed by the children of the parish schools, proceeded to the Melbourne General Cemetery. R.I.P.


Catholic Schools Week




The Legion of Mary is a lay catholic organisation whose members are giving service to the Church on a voluntary basis in almost every country.








Sneem Churches (Co. Kerry)




To-day it is Sneem, requested by a reader.  A history of the village and church.  I am quoting directly here from the 2005 publication The Diocese of Kerry formerly Ardfert: Working in the Fields of God, edited by Fr. Kieran O’Shea:




      “The Catholic Parish of Sneem comprises the eastern portion of the medieval parish of Kilcrohane.  It extends from Derreensillagh in the west to the Blackwater River (An Doinn) about 20km to the east, with the mountain range to the north and the Kenmare River to the south.  The name of Baile an Bhogaigh (Ballybog) was applied in former centuries to that part of the parish east of the pass of Béal na Méine on the main road, about 5km from the western boundary.  This name derives from the dominantly boggy nature of the terrain prior to draining commenced by Nathaniel Bland in the later 18th century, who initiated the settlement first called Blandford, and later Sneem (from the Sneem river), Sneem (A tSnaidhm, ‘the knot’) derives its name from the many loops in the river above the village.




            Subsequent to this development Sneem became a separate parish in 1784.  Lord Dunraven, owner of nearby Garnish Island, had the present church built in 1865.




St. Patrick’s Church, Tahilla




           The eastern end of the parish has its church at Tahilla.  The date of a church ruin in the nearby graveyard of Baile na hEaglaise (townland of the church) in the townland of Ankail is unknows, bu the name might indicate a post 12th century date.  There may have been an early Christian foundation here, as the site was also as a ‘cill’. The names of ten other ecclesiastical sites contain the elements, ‘cill’, ‘cillin’ or ‘ceallúnach’, which allows them, together with an unnamed small burial place, to be assigned to the early Christian period.




      An additional place of worship was provided at the western end of the parish in Glanlough, with the conversion of a school to a church there in 1960.  It is worth noting that a plaque in Sneem church commemorates the Sisters of the Presentation Order who served here from 1878 to 1891, before moving on to Western Australia.




         Sneem is one of the most attractive tourist villages in Ireland exhibiting a number of fine piece of sculpture on its green, one commemorating the most distinguished resident in recent time, Cearbhail Ó Dálaigh, former President of Ireland, who retired to Sneem and was buried there in 1978.”




Kieran O’Shea, The Diocese of Kerry Formerly Ardfert, Working in the Fields of God, (Strasbourg 2005),p. 122.






FROM BISHOP RAY -Turn to Our Lady, Queen of Peace for strength and peace. With Covid-19 many people will find this May upsetting and distressing. Prayer to Our Lady each day can be a source of calm, hope and resilience. She will bring your prayer to the ear of the Lord Jesus. When Our Lady appeared in Knock in August 1879 poverty and disease was common in Ireland. In the years since, Knock has always been a place of comfort and hope for Irish people in need. Lourdes has always been a special place of peace and hope for the sick. The sick, the bereaved and the troubled have always turned to Our Lady. Pope Francis issued a letter to the world for the month of May. He writes: “I want to encourage everyone to rediscover the beauty of praying the Rosary at home in the month of May. . . . I keep all of you in my prayers, especially those suffering most greatly, and I ask you, please, to pray for me. I thank you, and with great affection, I send you my blessing”. Some people like to join with others praying the Rosary. An Irish radio station, Radio Maria, prays the Rosary each night at 9pm. Pope Francis has also written a prayer that he asks us to pray at the end of the Rosary and he himself will pray it too during the month of May ‘in spiritual union with all of you’. O Mary, You shine continuously on our journey as a sign of salvation and hope. We entrust ourselves to you, Health of the Sick, who, at the foot of the cross, were united with Jesus’ suffering, and persevered in your faith.“Protectress of the Roman people”, you know our needs, and we know that you will provide, so that, as at Cana in Galilee, joy and celebration may return after this time of trial. Help us, Mother of Divine Love, to conform ourselves to the will of the Father and to do what Jesus tells us. For he took upon himself our suffering, and burdened himself with our sorrows to bring us, through the cross, to the joy of the Resurrection. Amen. We fly to your protection, O Holy Mother of God; Do not despise our petitions in our necessities, but deliver us always from every danger, O Glorious and Blessed Virgin.







There are fears that cripple us –


Of being let down, of losing the capacity to trust,


of how children will turn out, of death, illness and old age.


Of losing a job or never getting one, of failure in a college course,


of not being loved or liked.


Fear is like a red light stopping us moving forward


and it’s crippling if it gets us stuck like a light never changing to green.


Jesus answers us simply …”be not afraid”, because he is always with us.


We have the security of a constant companion.


Lord, help us to trust in your loving presence today and every day.   AMEN.






Abstaining from meat or some other food;


Abstaining from alcoholic drink or smoking;


Making a special effort at involvement in family prayer;


Making a special effort to participate in Mass on Fridays;


Visiting the Blessed Sacrament;


Making the Stations of the Cross;


Fasting from all food for a longer period than usual and perhaps giving what is saved to the needy; Helping the poor, sick, old or lonely.           



Listowel Parish








Year       2015       2016       2017       2018       2019


Baptisms              70           69           64           69           71


Confirmation     81           75           86           67           71


Marriages            17           16           22           14           19


Funerals               71           48           57           87           75






Slow Me Down Lord




Slow me down Lord


Ease the pounding of my heart


by the quieting of my mind.


Steady my hurried pace


with a vision of the eternal march of time.


Give me amid the confusion of the day,


the calmness of the eternal hills.


Break the tension of my nerves and muscles


with the soothing music of the singing streams


that live in my memory.


Help me to know the magical restoring power of sleep.


Teach me the art of taking MINUTE vacations,


Of slowing down to look at a flower,


to chat with a friend,


to pat a dog,


to read a few lines of a good book.


Slow me down Lord


and inspire me to send my roots


deep into the soil of life's enduring values.


Saint Colette


Saint of the Day for February 7


(January 13, 1381 – March 6, 1447)








Saint Colette’s Story




Colette did not seek the limelight, but in doing God’s will she certainly attracted a lot of attention. Colette was born in Corbie, France. At 21, she began to follow the Third Order Rule and became an anchoress, a woman walled into a room whose only opening was a window into a church.




After four years of prayer and penance in this cell, she left it. With the approval and encouragement of the pope, she joined the Poor Clares and reintroduced the primitive Rule of St. Clare in the 17 monasteries she established. Her sisters were known for their poverty—they rejected any fixed income—and for their perpetual fast. Colette’s reform movement spread to other countries and is still thriving today. Colette was canonized in 1807.


Becoming a Catholic did not make me pro-life; becoming a mother did. Motherhood unmasked the illusion of my own autonomy. The illusion that an unborn human being is not a human being. The illusion that maleness and femaleness are incidental to human existence, rather than a powerful and purposeful reality that tethers us to the created order. Catholicism, which swept in soon after I became a mother, provided me with words to name these recognitions—and, more importantly, permission to accept them, even though it meant transgressing, and ultimately abandoning, this central dogma of feminist orthodoxy.




poem from St John of the Cross:






you want


the Virgin will come walking down the road


pregnant with the holy,


and say,


‘I need shelter for the night, please take me inside your heart,


my time is so close.’


Then, under the roof of your soul, you will witness the sublime


intimacy, the divine, the Christ


taking birth




as she grasps your hand for help, for each of us


is the midwife of God, each of us.


Yet there, under the dome of your being does creation


come into existence eternally, through your womb, dear pilgrim—


the sacred womb in your soul,


as God grasps our arms for help; for each of us is


His beloved servant


never far.


If you want, the Virgin will come walking


down the street pregnant


with Light and sing ...


One of the miracles documented by Matar at the end of December, when he spoke to CNA, was that of a 45-year-old Italian woman. Suffering from a neurological disease, she was hospitalized after it was discovered she had tried to commit suicide by consuming acid.




In the hospital, the doctors discovered that the damage to her esophagus and intestines was so extensive, “the last way possible to cure her was believing in God and praying,” Matar commented.




The woman’s parents began to pray, inviting others to pray with them. A religious sister of the Maronite rite heard about the prayer request and gave them holy oil from St. Charbel. After they spread the oil on the suffering woman’s stomach, chest, and head, she was cured.




This was just one of seven miracles archived in December, Matar said, calling


each one “a phenomenon.”




“St. Charbel is a tool to reach God,” he said.




The Shrine of St. Charbel is composed of the Monastery of St. Maron, where the saint lived for 19 years with great devotion to prayer, manual labor, and contemplative silence; and the nearby hermitage where he lived a rigorous asceticism and profound union with God for the last 23 years of his life.




At the monastery, pilgrims can visit a church built in 1840, a small museum with artifacts and relics from the saint, and the site of his first grave. St. Charbel’s tomb, since 1952, is located inside a special cave-like chapel built into the property.




Even while he was alive, Charbel’s superiors observed God’s “supernatural power” at work in his life, and even some Muslims knew him as a wonder-worker.




Deeply devoted to God’s Eucharistic presence, he suffered a stroke while celebrating the Divine Liturgy of the Maronite Catholic Church on December 16, 1898, dying on Christmas Eve of that year. He was canonized in 1977 by St. Pope Paul VI.


Taken from Catholic News Agency 2019


Two martyrs are mentioned in connection with Listowel. Thaddeus Clancy of  Co. Limerick was arrested, speared and beheaded on September 15 1584, on refusing to renounce his religion. His head was taken to Listowel and exposed to the mockery of the heretics.


In 1691 Fr. Gerald Fitzgibbon, OP,  superior of Kilmallock was captured by Williamite forces near Listowel and summarily executed.


Source: The late Fr. Kieran O'Shea.


Video: Did USA Founding Fathers Plagiarize Thomas Aquinas? with Timothy Gordon


By Dr. Taylor Marshall




Were the Founding Father plagiarizing Thomas Aquinas?




Timothy Gordan, author of Catholic Republic: Why America Will Perish Without Rome, sits down with Dr Taylor Marshall to discuss Natural Law, Catholicism in Founding Fathers, Federalist Papers, and Right of Revolt in Thomas Aquinas.




Listen to the podcast below or (better) watch the Youtube video version:






Dr Marshall






The post Video: Did USA Founding Fathers Plagiarize Thomas Aquinas? with Timothy Gordon appeared first on Taylor Marshall.


Native of Listowel; Catholic Press 22 Aug 1929


Dean Kennelly,' who was parish- priest of Colac for 13 years, has proved himself a great organiser. The parish was in. a backward state when he went there, but he at - once set about building a hall and a new school .Then he added a wing to St. Joseph's College, purchased land for a church at Becac, and remodelled the old church for a school. As Colac had no sports -ground, he offered £100 towards making an oval, but as he obtained no outside support, he secured a fine piece of 'land and erected a sports ground, which is widely used. Other ventures were tennis courts, grounds for hockey and basketball, the renovating and re-furnishing of St. Mary's Church; All of these works have run into an -outlay of considerably more than £20,000, and, as the. Dean said in the church during Mass on a recent Sunday morning, everything is free of debt in Colac, there is a credit balance at Pirron Yalloak, and but little debt left on the £6000 Beeac ' church. It is also understood a nice little nest-egg is in the; 'bank for a big -church at Colac. Out of a carnival he raised £2000 for the local football association. His public spirit was recognised by the whole community when he recently returned from a trip to the old land.


Abbeyfeale Priests and Sisters, Taken from J. M. Feheney, Good Seed Fertile Soil.


Brothers; James Mathew Barrett, 1881-1952; Pat Luke Barrett 1898-1919; Tim Justin Cahill 1872- 1942 and his brother Pat Hilarian Cahill 1897- 1958; Dan Christopher Colbert 1885-1956; William Andrew Colbert, 1871-1950; Richard Collins 1863- 1931; Tom Edward Collins; Francis Clement McCarthy 1930- 2016; Thomas Baptist Moloney 1842- 1910; Michael Hilarian Murphy 1908- 1970; John Luke O’Connor, 1875-1913; Daniel Eligius Roche 1901- 1966;




Priests; John Browne1916-1990; Con Collins 1927- 2013; Dan Collins 1912-1999; Michael Collins 1918- 2010; Pat Collins 1902-1976; Tim Cotter (Bishop) 1916- 1988; James Cotter 1889- 1954; Michael Lawrence Curtin 1925- 1992; Con Daly 1904-1953; Dan Daly 1909-2005; John Joseph Danaher 1927- 2008; Seam Danaher 1917- 1985; Stephen Danaher 1839 1918 (Athea); Jer Downey 1913- 1997; John Enright 1886- 1966; Michael Enright 1871- 1931; Pat Enright 1867- 1917; Pat Firzgerald (Glin) 1905- 1957; Garrett Galvin 1900- 1987; Maurice Galvin 1904- 1984; Michael Galvin 1888- 1974; Tim Galvin 1897- 1975; Con Greaney 1903- 1947; Tom Greaney 1916- 1988; Dan Hackett 1903- 1992; Dan P Harnett 1906 1987; Fr. Dan Harnett 1910 -1983; John Harnett 1873-1946; Pat Harnett 1914 1994; Peter S Harnett 1914- 1985; Richard Harnett 1879- 1959; Richard Harnett 1920- 1984; John Healy 1916- 1975; Tom Lane,1902- 1997; William Lane 1926- 2013; Michael Langford 1896- 1936; Pat Leahy 1914- 2009; Tim Leahy 1929- 2008; John Leen 1881- 1902; James Leen (Bishop) 1888 1949; Dan Leen 1882- 1941; Edward Leen 1885- 1944; Dermot McCarthy 1919- 1993; John McCarthy 1939- 1883;Dan McEnery 1898 1998; Denis McEnery 1912- 1998; Pat McEnery 1901- 1987; Tom McEnery 1903- 1983; John Moloney 1875- 1957; Michael Moloney 1913-1984; Humphry Moynihan 1892- 1967; John Mullane (Athea) 1897- 1982; Dan Murphy 1899- 1990; Michael Murphy 1906- 1967; Sean Murphy1922- 1998; Tim J Murphy 1911- 1992; John O’Callaghan 1896-1963; Tom O’Callaghan 1898 – 1963; Con O’Connell 1910-1995; Denis O’Connell 1925- 2012; James O’Connell 1908- 1947; Michael O’Connell, 1911- 1994; John O’Connor 1835-1919;  John C O’Connor 1916- 1976; Morgan O’Connor,  died 1977; John J O’Donnell, 1901-1937; William O’Donnell 1896-1977; James O’Donoghue 1921-1999; Tom O’Donoghue, 1901-1981; William O’Neill 1915- 1999; Tom O’Rourke, 1906-1985; Vincent O’Rourke 1906- 1934; Dan O’Sullivan 1889-1921; John O’Sullivan 1906-1950; Christopher J Roche1903-1998; Jerry Roche Athea 1941- 2009; Tom Roche 1905- 1986; Con Woulfe 1919-2006; Maurice Woulfe 1912- 1989; Michael Woulfe 1922- 1995; Richard Woulfe 1919 2003;








Abbeyfeale Sisters


Sr. Mary Begley 1912-2007; Sr. Catherine P Broderick 1854-1931;Sr. Catherine Teresa Broderick 1870-1919; Sr. Elizabeth Joseph Broderick; Sr. Margaret Benignus Broderick 1857; Sr. Mary Cecilia Broderick 1855- 1935; Sr. Mary Ita Broderick 1920 -1976; Augstins Cahill 1875 1962; Bridget Angela Connolly 1870- 1933;Catherine Benedicta Cotter 1933-2012; Eileen Martina Cotter 1897- 1994; Helen Augustine Cotter 1918- 1995; Margaret Denise Cotter 1895-1994; Teresa Josephine Cotter 1914- 2011; Elizabeth Antoninus Culhane 1889- 1910; Ellen Canice Culhane 1896- 1995; Margaret Canice Culhane (Glin); Margaret Concepta Culhane1892-1988; Mary Ursula Culhane 1882-1956; Anne de Pazzi Curtin 1850- 1937; Catherine Joseph Curtin 1867-1954;Elizabeth Curtin 1899- 1922; Ellen Gonzaga Curtin 1857 1929; Hanora Augustine Curtin 1855- 1929; Joan Brendan Curtin 1864- 1911;Kathleen peter Curtin 1892-1982; Sheila Borgia Curtin 1923- 2012. Mary Fidelma Danaher (Athea) 1918- 2007; Bridget Gregory Dillon 1917- 2002; Ellen Immaculata Doody; Mary St Vincent Doody 1922- 2010; Una Elfrida Downey 1918- 2005; Kathleen Dunne 1899-1970; Teresa Peter Enright died 1998; Alice Dorothy Fitzgerald (Loughill) 1872-1945; Hannah Anna Fitzgerald 1914- 2000 (Athea); Margaret Ethna Fitzgerald 1915- 2014 (Athea); Mary Anabilis Fitzgerald 1906- 1984; Bridget Magdalene Flynn 1920- 2008; Bridget Nicholas Greany 1907-1976;Bridget Kieran Harnett 1978; Catherine Joseph Harnett 1888- 1914; Catherine Magdalen Harnett 1922- 2014; Ellen Lorenza Harnett 1922- 1994; Madge Celsus Harnett 1876- 1942;Mary Annunciata Harnett 1931- 2015; Mary Gerard Harnett 1919- 2002; Nora Veronica Harnett 1875- 1956; Mary Agnes Magdalene Harnett 1872- 1941; Bridget Anthony Leahy, 1880- 1957; Catherine Seraphina Leahy 1882- 1964;Ellen Leahy 1914- 1993; Hannah Paschal Leahy 1911-208; Ita Leahy 2015; Johanna Bonaventure Leahy 1916- 2006 (Athea); Mary Josephine Leahy 1909-2009; Mary Stanislaus McCarthy, 1900-1980; Teresa Margaret McCarthy, 1911- 2009; Enda McElligott  1898- 1953; Margaret Fintan McEnery 1916- 2003; Mary Rosary McEnery 1906- 1984; Bridget Consilio Moloney 1916 -1987; Margaret Moloney 1886-1960; Catherine Anthony Mulvihill (Athea) 1915- 2005; Bridget Berchmans Murphy 1916- 2015; Margaret Juliana Murphy 1916- 2009; Anna Maria Vianney O’Connor died 1996; Ann Patricia O’Connor 1911- 2011; Bridget Mary Biga O’Connor, 1901- 1979; Hannah Vianne O’Connor 1939- 1970; Carmel O’Donnell 1903-1981; Katie Barbara O’Donoghue 1884-1957; Eileen Benedict O’Riordan 1914-1993; Nora Carmel Sheehy 1910-1970; Elizabeth Baptista Ward 1895- 1980; Hanora Ida Woulfe 1915- 2015; Johanna Agatha Woulfe 1914- 1997;


a ‘Jumper’ is someone who changed from R.C. to Protestant- usually as a result of hunger and proselytising. He or she ‘jumped ship!’ Or took the soup and became known as a ‘Souper.’




Dingle was noted as a Colony of Soupers/Jumpers.




Brosna also had a colony (though some were ‘economically’ inspired and did it for gain. Others did it to stay alive, which was o.k. in 1847 or thereabouts. Many went back to their old faith when their bellies were full again.




Fealebridge on the Kerry-Limerick border (near the creamery on the old main road) had its small colony. There was a proselytising Minister, the Revd. ‘Ned’ Norman there, and he had a church in the middle of no-where. (It is reduced to rubble now- with some fine cut limestone).


Glin Parish Newsletter. Posted on 22/01/2016    by glinnews

Synod Sports Conference: Limerick is a city and county in love with and passionately interested in Sport.  One of our themes for the Synod is ‘Building Community’ and sporting organisations have much to teach us in this regard.  This one-day conference will be a mix of keynote speakers and workshops.


Keynote Address One: ‘Building Community – Lessons from the World of Sport’.  Michael “Mickey” Harte is the current and most successful Gaelic Football manager of the Tyrone senior inter-county team.  He has led Tyrone to three All-Ireland titles, four Ulster titles, one National League, and eight Dr. McKenna Cups to date.  Harte has been very forthcoming with his Christian views.


Keynote Address Two: ‘The Fellowship of Sport’. Gerard Hartmann is a native of Limerick City, who over the past twenty two years, has developed a reputation for treating many of the world’s elite sport stars.  Gerard has treated 61 Olympic medal winners, 47 World Champions including World Record holder.  He has worked with a record seven winners of the London Marathon including world record holders Paula Radcliffe and Khalid Khannouchi.  In this input Ger will elaborate on the concept that sport connects people and communities giving identity, purpose and unity.


Venue: Mary Immaculate College. Date: Wednesday 24th February. Time: 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.


Synod Culture Event:


This evening of culture will incorporate elements of poetry, music, Gaeilge and local history marking the tercentenary of the birth of Tadhg Gaelach Ó Suilleabháin.


The poet Tadhg “Gaelach” O’Suilleabháin was born in Tournafulla in 1715. Most of his well-known poems were of a religious nature and he wrote these poems while he was living in Dungarvan, Co. Waterford. Tadhg also lived in East Cork for a while. From about 1760 on, his life changed and he became a pilgrim and it was at this time that Tadhg began to write his religious poems. He died in Waterford Cathedral in 1795 and after his death, the first edition of his poetry was published in Limerick. The evening will be hosted by Neilus de Róiste.

The key note address will be given by Salvador Ryan with poetry readings by Canon Micheál Liston and music by a variety of local musicians.

Iomainn á chanadh Gile mo Chroí do- chroí-se


Mo Ghrá-sa mo Dhia


Dr. Salvador Ryan is Professor of Ecclesiastical History in St Patrick’s College, Maynooth since 2008. Alongside Bishop Brendan Leahy he has co-edited two volumes of Treasures of Irish Christianity.


Date: Friday 29 January. Venue: Devon Inn Hotel Time: 7.30p.m.


DEATH: Monsignor Edmond Whyte, of Rathea was instrumental in building up several Catholic churches across South Florida, died after a 10-year battle with cancer, served in the Archdiocese of Miami. Msgr. Edmond Whyte: Born Jan. 29, 1938; ordained June 6, 1964; died Jan. 23, 2016.

DEATH took place recently of Fr. James Noonan, a Kiltegan priest from Loughill. Fr James was ordained in 1962, and worked in Nigeria and Ireland. 

Death has taken place of Fr. Kevin Gaffey California / Carhoona,Tarbert.