Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Irish Juventutem Chapter Celebrates FIJ Anniversary

Our thanks to Mr Peter O’Riordan for sending us this account of a Mass recently organized by the Juventutem chapter of Cork, Ireland.

On May 24th, Juventutem Corcaigh (Cork) celebrated a Missa cantata at Kilcrea Friary, Ovens, Co. Cork, Ireland, in conjunction with celebrations held by Juventutem chapters around the world to mark the 15th anniversary of the foundation of Fœderatio Internationalis Juventutem (FIJ).

Kilcrea Friary is located near Ovens, Co. Cork, in an isolated area south of the river Bride. The name Kilcrea means the Church of Cré, a woman who founded a hermitage here before the time of the Franciscians. The friary is a fine example of an Irish Franciscian monastery, and much of it survives in good condition. The church features a fine, slender tower, which was used as a belfry.

The Mass was celebrated by Fr Damien Lynch CC Inniscarra, with the permission of Fr Liam Ó hIcí, the parish priest of Ovens, and we wish to express out deepest gratitude to both. Once permission had been obtained and the celebrant secured, preparations could being in earnest. The event was weather dependent; as can be seen from photographs, it just about held for the duration of the open air Mass.

Firstly, the matter of a suitable altar had to be contended with; Juventutem Corcaigh member Peter O’Riordan set about the task of designing, constructing and dressing the altar, all of which was completed in a timely fashion without the loss of any members - Deo gratias!

Fr Patrick MacCarthy, the parish priest of Ss Peter & Paul’s in Cork, which hosts the annual Fota Liturgical Conference, very kindly supplied many of the accoutrements necessary for a Missa cantata. Joe McGinty, stalwart server at Ss Peter & Paul’s, acted as MC for the mass, carefully navigating unusual obstacles such as gravestones and kerbings.

May 24th is the feast of Our Lady Help of Christians; although this feast is not observed in Ireland, Fr Damien celebrated it as a Votive mass given the occasion. This day is the 13th anniversary of Juventutem’s foundation at Berne, Switzerland in 2006; it was also the first anniversary of a referendum which led to the deletion of the 8th amendment from the Irish constitution. As such the setting in which the Mass took place was rather fitting. Until very recently Ireland was regarded as a ‘Catholic’ country. However, the result of the aforementioned referendum has shown clearly that this is no longer the case.

However, I believe that the small group of faithful that gathered in the ruins of Kilrea Friary to celebrate mass according to the Usus Antiquior represents something significant. Matthew Lavelle, Patrick Williams and Bertrand Thiebault established Juventutem Corcaigh three years ago; since then, the chapter has grown significantly. The aim of the FIJ is to promulgate a Catholic network fostering the sanctification of youth worldwide according to the Roman traditions of the Church. As was sung in the processional hymn on the night, “Christus vincit! Christus regnat! Christus imperat!” Despite the challenges presented by contemporary Irish society, we in Juventutem Corcaigh and those who attend our events have found that “neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor might, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

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