Visit of relics of St John Vianney concludes today

29 Apr 2010

29 April 2010

Visit of relics of St John Vianney concludes today

The visit to Ireland of the relics of St John Vianney concludes today with the return of the relics to the Shrine of Ars in France. Over the last four days the relics have been venerated by thousands of people throughout Ireland.  The relics were brought from the Shrine in Ars by Bishop Guy-Marie Bagnard, Bishop of Belley-Ars (near Lyon) and Fr Patrick Giraud, as part of the Irish Bishops’ Conference celebration of the Year for Priests which was inaugurated by Pope Benedict XVI in June 2009. 

Commenting on the visit Fr Gearóid Dullea, co-ordinator of the visit on behalf of the Irish Bishops’ Conference said: “My hope for the visit of the relics to Ireland was that it would be an occasion of prayer, a moment of grace, a reason to celebrate and a call to renewal, especially in these challenging times.

“St John Vianney was a humble and sincere priest who carried out his ministry in an age of spiritual decline. He lived a life of penance and prayer, transforming his parish and making it a centre of pilgrimage and healing. During this Year for Priests the visit of the relics to Ireland offers us an opportunity for reflection and renewal in the priesthood in Ireland.

“Having travelled around Ireland with the relics these past few days, I was delighted by the response to the visit of the relics by priests and people, who took time out of their busy lives to pray, to reflect and to be part of the celebration of the Eucharist on the occasion of the visit of the relics of St John Vianney.”

The following is a summary of the visit of relics:

Sunday 25 April 2010: Cork theme Vocations to the Priesthood
More than 1200 people and 70 priests attended the welcome Mass for the relics in St Francis Church in Liberty Street in Cork. Bishop Bagnard exposed the relics at a ceremony of welcome at 5pm which was followed by veneration of the relics. Bishop John Buckley, Bishop of Cork and Ross presided at the welcome Mass at 6pm assisted by Archbishop Coveney, Bishop Bagnard and over 70 concelebrants. Fr Caoimhín Ó Laoide OFM Provincial preached the homily.  Dominican novices from St Mary’s Pope’s Quay played a special role in the Mass.

Prayers and Eucharistic Adoration followed the Mass from 8-9pm, with special involvement from Youth 2000 and St Joseph’s Young Priests Society, during which time the relics made a private visit to the Poor Clare Monastery, College Road. Relics returned to St Francis Church for an all-night vigil which concluded with Mass at 6am. There was a constant presence of visitors throughout the night and at the final Mass at 6am.

Monday 26 April 2010: Dublin theme Social Outreach of St John Vianney
More than 1000 people attended the Mass for the welcome of the relics in the Church of St John Vianney, Ardlea Road, Artane, Dublin. The main celebrant and homilist was Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, joined by Bishop Bagnard and 25 concelebrants.  A stream of people attended the church for veneration of the relics throughout the afternoon. From 4-5pm Fr Ciarán O’Carroll, Vicar for Evangelisation led a Holy Hour with testimonies given by Crosscare, the archdiocesan agency for social services. Music was provided by the Dublin Diocesan Liturgy Office. Relics were available for veneration until 5.30pm.

The relics arrived in Maynooth for a private visit beginning with Vespers at 7.30pm and a homily given by Rev Prof Brendan Leahy. Seminarians maintained an all-night vigil until Mass the following morning.

Tuesday 27 April 2010: Knock theme The Sacrament of Reconciliation
Relics arrived in Knock at 12pm. Bishop Philip Boyce, Bishop of Raphoe led the ceremony of welcome in the Apparition Chapel joined by 250 people. Relics then transferred to Knock Basilica where they were available for veneration until Mass at 3pm. The main celebrant and homilist was Bishop Boyce, joined by Bishops Bagnard, Colm O’Reilly, John Kirby and Brendan Kelly plus 105 priests. Over 3000 people were present at Mass. At 5pm Fr Michael Drumm gave a lecture on the Sacrament of Reconciliation in the conference centre of Knock House Hotel attended by around 80 people. From 8-9pm there was a Holy Hour in the Blessed Sacrament Chapel attended by 300 people with relics available for veneration until 9.30pm.

Wednesday 28 April 2010: Armagh theme Eucharist and Pastoral Leadership

Relics visited the Carmelite convent briefly in Knock before departing for Armagh. Mass at 12.30. Main celebrant and homilist was Cardinal Seán Brady, Archbishop of Armagh and he was joined by Bishops Gerard Clifford, Seamus Hegarty, Leo O’Reilly, and Anthony Farquhar.  St Patrick’s Cathedral, Armagh was full to capacity. After Mass the pupils from the local primary school performed a special dramatic presentation for the Year for Priests. Relics were available for veneration all day in the Cathedral. There was a constant stream of visitors throughout the afternoon. Confessions were heard continuously by about 7-10 priests throughout the afternoon up until the evening Mass at 7.30pm.  The main celebrant was Bishop Gerard Clifford and he was joined by Bishop Donal McKeown, Auxiliary Bishop of Down and Connor and 25 concelebrants. Mgr Raymond Murray preached. The relics departed Armagh after the Mass.

Further information on St John Vianney and the visit of the relics, including a selection of photographs, is available on a special feature on the visit on


Further information:
Martin Long, Director of Communications 086 172 7678
Brenda Drumm, Communications Officer 087 310 4444