Naomh Bhríde, that is, Holy Brigid, is the patroness of all we are about in Wexford, and it is to her, the "Mary of the Gaels," that we pray in intercession as we walk this journey of collaboration with the Church of the Annunciation, Clonard Parish, in Wexford Town.
Wexford is a town that, in many ways, is typical of much that is taking place in Ireland at present: extraordinarily high unemployment,(about 14%), a lot of lost family businesses, a Church that is beleaguered by scandal and neglect, low morale and few vocations.
But a good and wise friend of mine, Jerry Galipeau, once said something succinct that has become a clarion call for much of our work: "People gotta sing, and people gotta pray!"
And in many ways, truer words were never spoken for our fellow Christians in Ireland. They still have a deep devotion to the Eucharist (Michele and I were at a daily mass this morning at 10AM; hundreds were there). They still mourn their dead and rejoice when young ones are brought into the faith. They still bring their needs to God, daily.
And they are learning to sing: at the Vigil Mass last Saturday, I was astounded to hear the assembly singing the Where Charity and Love Mass setting – only the third time they've done it – and singing it better than most of our American vigil mass congregations.
There is much good work going on here, and more to write later this week!