This week, is a busy one when it comes to devotional practices for Catholics.
Wednesday 1st February is the Feast day of St. Brigid – the Secondary Patron (next to St. Patrick) of Ireland. Her feast been growing in popularity in recent years, and Louth has a number of connections with this great saint. You can read more about St. Brigid here
There will be Mass (as usual) on The Church of Our Lady of The Nativity, Fieldstown, at 9.30am, and St. Brigid’s Crosses (made be volunteers) will be blessed at the Mass, and available for a suggested donation of €3.
Thursday 2nd February is Candlemass day – The Feast of the Presentation of The Lord. Today’s feast is celebrated in our Church forty days after Christmas, marking the day that Mary and Joseph would have brought Jesus into the Temple.
Under Mosaic law found in the Old Testament Book of Leviticus, a Jewish woman who gave birth to a child was considered unclean (see 12:1-8). The mother of a newborn could not routinely go out into public and had to avoid all things sacred, including the Temple. If her child was a male, this exclusion lasted for 40 days. At the end of the days the woman presented herself at the Temple to be purified. If the baby was her firstborn male child, the infant was brought along to the Temple to be dedicated to the Lord. The law in Exodus specifies that the first male child belongs to God (see 13:2-16)
“Candlemass” is also a traditional name given to today’s feast because as early as the fifth century, the custom of celebrating this feast with lighted candles developed. The Gospel of Luke explains that the old prophet Simeon and the prophetess Anna were at the Temple that day (see 2:22-38). They, like many others, had spent their lifetime waiting, longing for a Messiah, and the Holy Spirit had revealed to Simeon that he would not die until he had seen the Savior. The lit candles symbolized Simeon’s prophecy that Jesus would be “a light for revelation to the Gentiles.”
Mass & the blessing of Candles will take place at 9.30am in The Church of The Immaculate Conception, Tenure. Candles will be available in both Churches after Mass for a suggested donation of €1.
Friday 3rd February is the Feast day of St. Blaise. He was a physician who eventually was ordained a bishop in the 4th Century and he worked hard to encourage the spiritual and physical health of his followers. His protection of those with throat ailments comes from a story of a woman whose son had a fish bone lodged in his throat. The woman brought her son to St Blaise who instantly healed him just as the boy was on the point of death.
After being made a bishop, a new persecution of Christians began and Blaise received a message from God to go into the hills and hide to escape persecution. He hid in the caves and during his time there, he developed a connection to wild animals. Many of them were sick whom he cured as he did with the boy.
One day, a group of men hunting in the mountains discovered the cave St Blaise was hiding in. He was instantly recognised as a bishop and taken hostage. The men took him back for a trial and, on the way, they passed a wolf who had stolen a pig which belonged to a poor woman. Having built a connection with wild animals, Blaise was able to talk the wolf into releasing the pig. This bought him some time when he was starved by his captor for the woman grateful for Blaise’s help sneaked food into the prison.
He refused to denounce his faith and upheld it, even when he was cruelly beaten. Eventually, Blaise was sentenced to death by the governor.
On his feast day, traditionally two blessed candles are crossed over and pressed against either side of one’s throat as a blessing is said;
Through the intercession of St. Blaise,
Bishop and Martyr, may you be delivered
from all ailments of the throat and from
every other evil + Amen.
Throats will be blessed at the following times in Tenure; 8.45am – 9.15am; 1pm and after 7pm Mass
and in Fieldstown from 6.15pm-6.45pm