Cardinal Seán Brady to celebrate his first Mass in his titular Church of Saints Cyricus and Julitta in Rome

10 Jan 2008


10th January 2008

Cardinal Brady to celebrate his first Mass in his titular Church of Saints Cyricus and Julitta in Rome

Church in Ireland to focus in a special way on vocation in 2008 – Cardinal Seán Brady

On his creation as Cardinal on 24 November 2007, the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, assigned to the Archbishop of Armagh, Cardinal Seán Brady, the titular Church of Saints Cyricus and Julitta in Rome. Cardinal Brady will celebrate his first Mass in this Church on Wednesday 16 January 2008 at 6:00 pm local time.

Cardinal Brady said, “I am delighted to have been assigned the Church of Saints Cyricus and Julitta by the Holy Father. At one time the Irish College was also based in the same parish as this Church. An interesting feature is that the Church contains the tombs of some Irish College students, including Andrew Plunkett a student of the diocese of Meath and cousin of St Oliver Plunkett. Today, Irish seminarian students and postgraduate priests pass by this church as they make their way from places like the Irish College, and from San Clemente, to Roman universities.

“The proximity of this Church to the Irish College brings to mind the beautiful gift of vocation. Happily, in 2008, the Church in Ireland will focus, in a special way, on the vocation of all Christians. For the 12 months between Vocations Sunday on 13 April next to Vocations Sunday on 3 May 2009, various projects and initiatives will be organised to highlight the special dignity of each of the specific vocations: married and family life; ordained priesthood; religious life; and, the single life. More details on this exciting ‘Year of Vocation’ will be announced shortly.”

Cardinal Brady continued, “I am particularly pleased that the Church is at the heart of classical Rome – within sight of the Roman Forum, the Coliseum the Arch of Titus, and the Mamertine Prison – as it will be a constant reminder to me of the enjoyable time that I spent as a teacher of Latin and the history of Roman art and architecture in St Patrick’s College, Cavan.

“Finally, I thank the Holy Father for bestowing this honour upon me. May I appeal to everyone of goodwill to remember me in their prayers as I undertake my new responsibilities as Cardinal.”


Notes for Editors

  • Cardinal Seán Brady, taking possession of the title of the Church of Saints Cyricus and Julitta in Rome, will begin with a liturgy of welcome delivered by the Rector of the Church, Fr Antonio Votta. This is followed by a Mass which will be celebrated by Cardinal Brady and concelebrated by Monsignor Liam Bergin and Fr Albert McDonnell, Rector and Vice Rector respectively of the Irish College in Rome. Also concelebrating the Mass will be representatives of Irish religious houses in Rome e.g. Franciscans, Dominicans, Augustinians, Pallotines and Irish priests living and studying in Rome. During the Mass a Papal Declaration conveying the title of the Church to Cardinal Brady will be read by the Church Rector, Fr Votta. The Mass will also be attended by the local community, Irish people living in Rome and friends of the Cardinal. The Church of the Saints Cyricus and Julitta is located at:
          Chiesa dei Santi Quirico e Giulitta,
          Via Tor Dei Conti 31
          Fori Imperiali
  • Saints Cyricus and Julitta were martyrs. The story is that Julitta, a widow of Iconium, took her three year old son, Cyricus, to Tarsus, the native city of St Paul, to escape persecution. Here, however, she was recognised and accused, suffered with her child a series of tortures, which, however, rebounded in some way against the persecutors whom Cyricus attacked. Eventually, Julitta and her son were executed and their relics were saved by other Christians. Cyricus, a child martyr of immense popularity, is believed to have come from Antioch.
  • The connection with France was strong, partly because of some relics brought back from Antioch. Charlemagne, in a dream, was saved from death by wild boar on a hunt, by the appearance of a child who promised to save him from death if he would give him clothes to cover him. The Bishop of Nevers interpreted this to mean that he wanted the Emperor to repair the roof of the Cathedral, dedicated to San Cyr. Hence Cyricus is represented in iconography as the child riding on a wild boar. He is the patron saint of children and his feast day is 16 June.
  • St Patrick, St Malachy and St Oliver Plunkett are the Patron Saints of the Archdiocese of Armagh.
  • The theme for the Year of Vocation is ‘You will be My Witnesses’ (Acts 1:8). The Year of Vocation is an initiative of the Catholic Church in Ireland seeking to promote the universal call of Baptism to witness, love and service.
    During this ‘Year of Vocation’ special focus will be placed on the vocation of all Christians as expressed by witness, love and service and as lived out in the specific call of: marriage; ordained priesthood; religious life and single life. 
  • ‘You will be My Witnesses’ is also the theme for this year’s World Youth Day in Sydney which will include the first visit of His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI to Australia. It is the largest youth event in the world and will be held in Sydney from 15-20 July 2008. Organised by the Catholic Church, World Youth Day gathers young people from around the world to build bridges of friendship and hope between continents, peoples and cultures. Through the WYD08 experience, young people will make a pilgrimage in faith, meet, and experience the love of God. See

Further information:

Martin Long Director of Communications (086 172 7678)
Kathy Tynan Communications Officer (086 817 5674)