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Irish places of Pilgrimage
Characteristics of Pilgrimage v Pilgrimage is a particular type of journey v On pilgrimages, groups of people unite in a common faith and travel together to a holy place or shrine v “Going on pilgrimage without change of heart brings no reward from God” v It was the hope and the dream by leaving home and travelling to a special place one might return somehow changed and renewed v Pilgrims frequently travelled together in groups to give each other support and protection v Today people continue to go on pilgrimage to be at one with themselves and with God
Modern Pilgrimage World Youth Day 2011 was held in Madrid Find out where the World Youth Day 2013 will be held Did anyone from your parish go to Madrid?
Irish places of Pilgrimage There are many Irish places of pilgrimage: • Lough Derg • Glendalough • Croagh Patrick • Faughart • Knock • St Brigid’s well in Kildare Many people who travel to pilgrimage sites go to pray for special intentions or to give thanks to God for His love or healing. How many of these do we find in the Archdiocese of Dublin?
Pilgrimage Sites Name a pilgrimage site in Ireland which is associated with: ØMary ________ ØPenance through fasting ______ ØPenance through climbing in bare feet ________ ØPlace of prayer on feast of St Brigid __________ ØSt Kevin __________ ØSt Laurence O’Toole _______
Where were pilgrim sites located in Ireland? • In rural settings • At monasteries • In desolate places to escape distractions and become closer to God the Creator Such religious life emphasised solitude, pilgrimage, mission, sacred locations and tough penitential acts.
Let us consider two important pilgrim sites within the Archdiocese: Kildare (Cill Dara) means the Cell or Church of the Oak. Here, in the late 5 th century, St. Brigid built her Abbey on a hill beside a great oak tree. It is important to remember that the Irish/Celts believed in a goddess Brighid long before she became a Saint and this area was sacred to her. Glendalough (Gleann dá Locha) refers to the valley of the two lakes. In the early 6 th century, Saint Kevin settled in this picturesque pilgrim site in Wicklow. Even today, it remains the best-preserved ‘monastic city’ in Ireland. It includes a round tower and seven churches. TO DO: Find placenames in your area containing the word ‘Kil’ or ‘Cill’? Does the origin of this placename go back to Celtic Christian times? (It may be useful to check with your local librarian or interview a local historian to assist you. )
Some characteristics of Celtic Christian Sites: • High Crosses • Holy Wells • Holy Trees • Round Towers • Fire Temple
Parishes of the Archdiocese of Dublin
High Cross (also called Standing Cross) v. These freestanding crosses were found outdoors v. They were probably made of wood initially v. Later they were made of stone & richly decorated v. The cross features a stone ring around the intersection, forming a Celtic cross v. This style of cross is only found in Ireland, Scotland parts of Britain v. Such crosses were erected outside churches, monasteries, at land boundaries or crossroads v Some may have been used as preaching crosses
High Cross The second tallest high cross in Ireland is found in the Dublin Archdiocese, in Moone, Co. Kildare. The theme of the cross is ‘the Help of God’-how God came to humanity’s assistance in their hour of need. Scenes carved on the stone cross include: Daniel in the lion’s pit, the sacrifice of Issac. It is in three parts: Ø the three children in the fiery furnace Ø the miracle of the loaves and fish Ø the flight into Egypt TO DO: Research Where is the tallest High Cross in Ireland located? Create an album of other Celtic crosses. Design your own Celtic cross use as theme of your design ‘Jesus the Teacher’. (Tip: consider the Parables Jesus told; the stories about Jesus’ ministry). Visit the exhibit on the High Crosses of Ireland at Collins’ Barracks.
Holy Wells Did you know? . . . For centuries, people revered the deities of wells. In Christianity, Christ uses water to heal. Water is used in Baptism. The Saints blessed the waters of wells and used them for Baptism. Pilgrims traditionally put water from the holy well on afflicted body parts. Many Saints founded a local church beside this source of water. St. Columba is reputed to have blessed over 300 wells. The Wayside well (beside St Brigid’s Well) is a small and ancient source of water. People visit here to collect water in bottles because of its reputed healing properties. St. Brigid’s Well is a large and ornate well and the site contains a statue of St. Brigid. There are 5 prayer stones in a line. It is a custom to pause at each stone and to reflect upon an aspect of Brigid/Brighid. First stone: Brigid, a woman of the land Second stone: Brigid, the peacemaker Third stone: Brigid, the friend of the poor Fourth stone: Brigid, the hearthwoman Fifth stone: Brigid, woman of contemplation. Behind the fifth stone is a round well that you encircle 3 times to achieve harmony within yourself and within the universe. Bible search: Baptism of Jesus Matthew 3: 1 -17 Woman at the Well John 4: 7 -43
Holy Trees v Holy Trees are often called ‘rag’ trees or ‘cloutie’ trees v Pilgrims often left rags or items attached to the branches of a nearby tree v They may have been in remembrance of healings received v Some believe that, while the items remain on the branches, the prayers are still effective Have you seen the rag trees at Kildare and Glendalough?
Round Towers Round towers began to be built about the same time as the high crosses. There remains some confusion as to the real purpose of these towers. They may have been: • used for ringing bells • status symbols • landmarks to guide pilgrims • used in liturgies or ceremonies • watchtowers, storehouses and places of refuge. TO DO: The round tower at Glendalough is 30 metres high. Can you construct a scaled model of this tower? Make a 3 D model of the pilgrim site at Glendalough. Place it in your Sacred Space on the Feast of St Kevin.
The Fire Temple (Kildare) The Fire Temple is located at the rear of the Cathedral in Kildare. In Pre-Christian times, the Priestesses of the goddess Brigid kept her flame eternally lit. In Christian times, the religious Sisters of St. Brigid continued this tradition. The light was extinguished during the Reformation. On 1 February 2006, the flame was permanently housed in a large glass enclosed vessel in the town centre of the Market Square. TO DO: v Bible Search: Genesis 28: 10 -22 (Jacob’s Stone) v Can you name the seven sacraments of the church? v Choose 2 sacraments and list the symbols associated with these sacraments
Who went on pilgrimages? † The majority of people in Celtic times were not literate. They relied on the symbolism in pictures and architecture † They cherished stories about the lives of the Saints and the relics of these Saints † Pilgrim sites associated with these Saints were visited on Saints’ feast day † Pilgrims often fasted, sought cures for illnesses prayed to and honoured their favourite Saints † The Celtic people were a restless people and had an innate tendency to explore the unknown † Unsurprisingly, the trend of ‘white martyrdom’ developed amongst monks. This was where monks would leave possessions, family and friends in order to travel the wilderness forever in the service of God. The three most important Saints of Ireland were St. Patrick, St. Brigid and St. Colmcille (Columba). TO DO: Interview someone who has gone on a pilgrimage recently. Why did they go? What did they do? is on t i o , g ay d to o e l T ib s s po ided in e u a g rimag gh. pilg dalou n Gle
Celtic Prayer Here is a Celtic Circling Prayer: Circle me, Lord Keep peace within, Keep harm without Circle me, God Keep love within, keep hate without. Compose your own Circling Prayer.
ÌActivity 1 Draw a little shamrock to show the places associated with St Patrick. ÌActivity 2 Draw a little St Brigid’s Cross to show the places associated with St Brigid. ÌActivity 3 Draw a little round tower to show the places associated with St Kevin.
THE MONASTIC WAY OF LIFE IN THE 21 ST CENTURY Glenstal Abbey, Co Limerick A recent interview in the Irish Times Weekend Review January 15 th 2011 was conducted with Mark Patrick Hederman, Abbot of Glenstal, in Murroe, Co Limerick. He has spent 50 of his 66 years in Glenstal as student, teacher, headmaster and head of building works. The Benedictine monks live in Glenstal Abbey and the monastery is situated in an Anglo-Norman Castle. There are twenty monks in the community. They live according to the Rule of St Benedict and in following this rule find their balance in life between work, prayer and leisure. The Abbey is located in well-kept grounds and is a haven for wild life and natural habitats.
More about Glenstal Abbey. . . Glenstal Abbey is a very busy place. It is a hive of industry and monks are encouraged to use their gifts and talents. The monks run a boarding school for boys. People come to the Abbey in search of silence and solitude. They can stay in the guest house located on the grounds which accommodates fifteen guests. There is also an icon chapel situated in the Abbey, which houses Russian and Greek Orthodox devotional paintings. People are welcome to join the monks in prayer and for Mass. The monks gather for Mass each day in the beautiful chapel and they also pray in the chapel four times a day.
Activity: Log on the website for Glenstal Abbey. The Abbot sees a great need for the way of life in Glenstal today. The monks are in tune with the signs of our times and in recent years they have written many books and produced CDs. The Glenstal Book of Prayer is one of the most popular publications. The Abbot Mark Hederman speaks of future plans for the Abbey. There are plans to build God pods where people can come and enjoy an atmosphere of peace and solitude. Plans are also underway to develop a farm where children can come to interact with animals and engage in workshops. Can you find Co. Limerick on the map?
Pilgrim Sites outside Ireland tes? Can yo u na ple as me peo socia ese si h t i ted w