There’s something happening out in Straffan, or maybe more accurately in St. Brigid’s.
As I am sure you are aware, we are in the happy position in our faith community, sometimes called a parish, that we have not one but two patron saints, and if that wasn’t remarkable enough, the two said patrons are also our two national patrons. Yes, we are doubly blessed in Brigid and Patrick. Yes there’s no doubt there’s something happening out in St Brigid’s in Straffan. I suppose there’s a few levels to what I am talking about. There is the immediate, the ongoing and then there’s a third dynamic or movement which I know I will struggle to articulate.
The immediate is specific and has it’s own drama. On Thursday February 1st, the Feast Day of Brigid, we will begin our Brigid 1500 celebrations with a special celebration of the Eucharist at 9am. The Mass has been consistently celebrated for hundreds of years in this part of our parish.
Imagine the changing face of our history through the ages, as people and priests gathered to observe the instruction of the Lord, Do this in Memory of Me.
Over these four days next Thursday-Sunday we will remember and give God thanks for Brigid.
It is not an accident that 1500 years on Brigid is literally the talk of the country, and of course in a heightened way here in Kildare. So much has been said and written about Brigid and the ensuing entanglement makes it difficult to separate the facts from considerable fiction. That said what is undeniable is that Brigid was larger than life. Way ahead of her time, her feminity far from being a constriction was both lauded and celebrated. Her strength of personality and the prophetic nature of her ministry brought her both censure and admiration. There are three things that I particularly cherish about Brigid.
I love her courage, her prophetic vision and how she emerges, in her time, and indeed since, as an appropriate advocate of peace. Could it be in an increasingly troubled world that Brigid of Kildare emerges as a beacon of reconciliation? I think there’s lots here to be explored but I am going to park much of it for exploration another day. For now I am going to concentrate on Brigid and the Irish Church. In my reflection in my preparation for Brigid’s Day I was repeatedly surprised at how the Saint was presented in my prayer as a saint for our time. I was amazed at her freshness, her relevance. I cannot help but wonder how she would respond to some of the key troubles of our Church?
What would Brigid make of our loss of faith? Our so called lack of vocations?
What would Brigid make of our mediocrity? What would she make of leadership without the prophetic
voice? I am not so sure there would be an epic homily. Could it be that the answer she would give to our ills might be found in her passion, her inclusion of all, her visionary stance on the role of women and men, her courageous leadership? In this time of a beleaguered Church it is interesting to observe where the green shoots are appearing. Yes, there’s something happening out in Straffan.
What’s happening? By way of example there’s faith, young people, sacred music and hospitality.
The Faith Community in St Brigid’s is punchy. The family Mass and the First Communion Mass are innovative and provide young people with a welcome and a place to contribute, to claim their place in the Church.
The music adapts easily to the changing face of the liturgy and yet always manages to exude a warm nourishing sense of God’s love for us. There’s few who actually attend the hospitality in St Brigid’s who still think it’s just a cup of tea and a few treats. Most recognise at there’s more to it. The fellowship is obvious.
Perhaps what is less obvious is that we are building Church. We are engaged in gospel work. Yes as we celebrate the momentous occasion of Brigid 1500 I am so glad as the resident pastor to note that it’s not all history. It’s warm. It’s alive. The Spirit of God dances.
Yes, for the record, it’s good to note there’s something happening out in Straffan.
Fraternally, JoeMcD 28.01.24