St Kevin, abbot,
‘Let us adore the Lord, for it is he who made us.’(Invitatory antiphon)
Today, the Church celebrates the feast of St Kevin. One can only imagine what it must be like this morning in this hallowed place of Glendalough. God is alive in the beauty of nature, bird-song, the sun, the mist and rain, scent of summer flowers and hedgerows, the colour, the stirring of so much life; all reflected in the memory of St Kevin and those who lived in early Christian Ireland. These are all signs of hope and the living God.
Today, the Church remembers St Kevin as a hermit who came from Kilnamanagh, to settle in Glendalough (the Glen of Two Lakes), Co Wicklow. This is a renowned place of retreat and a huge tourist attraction as well as a place of pilgrimage. From earliest times people began to flock to Glendalough to see where Kevin lived. Being a hermit, each day Kevin went to and fro to the face of a cliff high above the Upper Lake, pulling his rope ladder up behind him so he wouldn’t be disturbed. Today, this is called St Kevin’s bed.
Many young men wanted to live like Kevin so he built a large hut where he prayed with the men. In time this building became a monastery, and included a school, a chapel and a house for people who were sick. The place grew so crowded that Kevin settled twelve miles away in a place called Cnoc Rua.
During the Viking era, AD 800 to 1000, a round tower was built in the monastery grounds as a protection for the people against raids on the community.
In Ireland as part of our sacred tradition, pilgrimages hold a significant place. Pilgrims annually visit St Kevin’s, Glendalough, the Marian Shrine at Knock, St Patrick’s Purgatory, Lough Derg. There are also pilgrimages to local wells, shrines and other sacred places where pilgrims seek silence to pray and reflect.
This year, because of Covid-19, many pilgrimages to these places are cancelled. However, with technological advances, creativity and the determination of organisers, it has been possible to organise virtual pilgrimages. One such virtual pilgrimage is to Lough Derg, Sanctuary of St Patrick, Co Donegal. Pilgrims are invited to participate from 27-29 June, 2020 in a virtual pilgrimage ‘from wherever they are’. They will be accompanied on pilgrimage by the Prior and members of the Lough Derg Pastoral team. Details are available on the website.
Today’s readings (2 Tim 1:1-3) and the Gospel (Mk 12:18-27), will be proclaimed via the webcam or may be read in the New Testament.
In the reading from Paul to Timothy (2 Tim 1:1-3), we hear St Paul’s words to Timothy, ‘I invite you to fan into a flame the gift of God you have received.’ This is how St Kevin responded to God’s call as he accepted God’s gift to fan the flame of faith and prayer in his life which lives on in Glendalough.
In the Gospel on this occasion the Sadducees, came to Jesus to challenge him about the resurrection. They did not believe in life after death. The resurrection, Jesus explained, points not something a person lives after death but ‘a transformation and raising up of our whole person’ after he/she dies. This is God’s work. It is impossible for us to understand or perceive the ‘new heavens and the new earth’ as recorded in Sacred Scripture (Is 65:17; Rev 21:1-4).
When he speaks to the Sadducees, Jesus recalls the story of Moses and the event at the burning bush. God revealed Godself there as God of the living, not of the dead.
ST KEVIN AND THE GROW AND LOVE RELIGIOUS EDUCATION PROGRAMME FOR CATHOLIC PRIMARY SCHOOLS
Children through the Grow in Love programme and in their history, are introduced to life in early Christian Ireland. They explore the strong sense of the natural world to be a source of revelation of the power and beauty of God as Creator. Through praying Psalms 104 and 148, they come to praise and lovingly thank God for the world in which they live. God’s work of Creation continues and God’s people are co-creators with God.
Children grow in awareness and gratitude of the gifts and talents that God gives them. Therefore, they are encouraged by the words of St Paul, ‘to fan into a flame the gift of God.’
Children will also be familiar with the story of Moses at the burning bush where God revealed Godself to him (Ex 3:1-6). God called Moses and told him not to come near and to take off his shoes for he was standing on holy ground. God said, ‘I Am who Am’.
From the life of St Kevin the children explore the simplicity of a hermit’s life and how he prayed and praised God for the beauty of the work of his Creation. God called St Kevin to this way of life and Kevin responded faithfully in love. Children explore life in a monastery and spending life outdoors.
A lesson on St Kevin is available with accompanying resources in Grow in Love, Third Class/ P5 to help the children understand the stories, legends, the environment and life of St Kevin. Check out the website for the e-book, the poster and icon of St Kevin, the videos and also helpful resources for adults. This content of this lesson can be integrated with Laudato Si’.
READ from Grow in Love /I nGrá Dé
‘God Calls Moses’ (Ex 3:1-16)
SING from Grow in Love: ‘Celtic Blessing’, ‘When Creation was Begun’, ‘A Mhuire Mháthair’, ‘Christ Be beside Me’, ‘Use What You’re Given’, ‘Take off your Shoes’., ‘Care for the Earth’.
Pray from Grow in Love/I nGrá Dé
SIGN OF THE CROSS
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
COMHARTHA NA CROISE
In ainm an Athar, agus an Mhic agus an Spioraid Naoimh. Áiméan.
GLÓIR DON ATHAIR
Glóir don Athair,
Agus don Mhac,
Agus don Spiorad Naomh,
Mar abhí ó thús,
Mar atá anois
Agus mar a bhéas go brách,
Le saol na saol. Áiméan.
Críost I mo dhiaidh.
Críost ar mo lámh dheas.
Críost ar mo lámh chlé.
Críost I mo chuideachta is cuma cá dtéim.
Críost mar chara agam, anois go buan. Áiméan.
‘Show us your mercy, O Lord; remember your holy covenant.’(Benedictus antiphon).
‘The Almighty has done great things for me; holy is his name.’ (Magnificat antiphon).
‘To you I lift up my eyes, to you whose throne is in heaven.’(Psalm 122:1).
‘Popular piety enables us to see how the faith, once received, becomes embodied in a culture and is constantly passed on… In the Exhortation Evangelii Nuntiandi, Pope Paul VI gave a decisive impulse in this area… he stated that popular piety “manifests a thirst for God which only the poor and the simple can know” and that “it makes people capable of generosity and sacrifice even to the point of heroism, when it is a question of bearing witness to belief” (Evangelii Gaudium, no. 123).
St Kevin, pray for us.
Sr Anne Neylon