The world nationally and internationally annually recalls joyful and tragic historical events. Celebration and remembrance are important moments in life. Examples of such events are Armistice Day, Nine-Eleven, 1916 commemoration of the Easter Rising, International Holocaust Day, International Workers Day, Bloomsday.
Families also remember and celebrate events in life such as birthdays, anniversaries, the sacraments and achievements. How will people recall the pandemic?
The Church also celebrates the Liturgical Year, which begins annually on the First Sunday of Advent. Every year, the Church publishes a Liturgical Calendar, which highlights the Liturgical seasons and marks each day as being so important in the spiritual life. The Church marks its Feast Days, Holy Days and days dedicated to different occasions and causes to remember for example, Catholic Schools Week, Day of Prayer for Temperance, Day of Prayer for Vocations, World Communications Day, World Day of Migrants and Refugees and others.
Pope Francis regularly writes about the holiness of the lives of the young saints. In his Apostolic Exhortation, Christus Vivit, Christ is Alive (2019), the Pope writes of ‘the young saints who devoted their lives to Christ.’ He describes them ‘as precious reflections of the young Christ’ whose ‘radiant witness encourages us and awakens us from our lethargy.’ (CV, no. 49). He urges God’s people to ‘renew her spiritual ardour and her apostolic vigour’ by pointing to the lives of these young saints. (CV, no.50).
Today the Church celebrates the feast of St Brigid, born in Faughart, Dundalk in 454 and died in Kildare about 525. People identify her as Mary of the Gael. St Brigid was an Irish nun who founded a monastery for women in Kildare. With St Conleth, she also founded a monastery for men. She was renowned for her goodness and her love of God. In Lisbon, the Church dedicated a chapel to her. God’s people also venerate St Brigid in St Patrick’s Cathedral in New York. Many schools and churches in Ireland are dedicated to St Brigid.
We celebrate St Brigid’s life each year by recalling legends associated with her. Her stories are appealing and inspiring. They show clearly, how St Brigid inculcated the Gospel values in her life through her openness, generosity, respect and her desire to share the Good News. People make St Brigid’s crosses from rushes or straws, have them blessed and hang them in their houses. There is a story told about St Brigid’s cross and the dying chieftain. Brigid spoke to the chieftain who was dying about God and he asked to be baptised. Other stories relate to St Brigid’s Cloak, and St Brigid’s Well and another tells of her power of healing.
These stories, though they may not be historically true, relate to the Word of God proclaimed at Mass for the feast of St Brigid. Today the first reading proclaimed at Mass is from the Book of Job (Job 31: 16-20, 24-25, 31-32). Job helped persons in need, persons who were hungry, naked and homeless. Brigid spent her life doing acts of kindness and caring for others. She did this for her love for Christ.
The Gospel proclaimed at Mass today from Luke (Lk 6:32-38) quotes Jesus teaching on love. He teaches that to love is to have a compassionate, non-judgemental, forgiving and generous nature. St Brigid shows these qualities in her life. We pray for these qualities in our lives also.
Families who accompany their children in faith today can read about the life of St Brigid, the legends associated with her, sing a song and engage with the interactive activities etc. They are available from the Grow in Love/ I nGrá Dé online resources including the Grow in Love/ I nGrá Dé e-leabhar that are accessible on the VERITAS website accessed at:
Find: The legends about St Brigid in Grow in Love/ I nGrá Dé e- book, (Senior Infants/P2, Second Class/P4, Fourth Class/P6, Sixth Class/P8)
Art: Draw a St Brigid’s Cross-or use straws or rushes to make one. Look at the video on the website www.growinlove.ie for instructions.
Search: Search on the web or newspaper for the tower on the Hill of Allen, Co Kildare that is lit up to celebrate St Brigid’s Day
Paidir chuig Naomh Bríd
A Bhríd, a Mhuire na nGael,
A Bhríd, leathnaigh orm do bhrat,
Is coinningh faoi do threarmann mé
Go bhfaighinn bás i gcairdeas Dé.
Sr Anne Neylon