Bishop Clifford to lead celebrations for the Feast of St Oliver Plunkett

29 Jun 2012

Bishop Clifford to lead celebrations for the Feast of Saint Oliver Plunkett

•    Bishop Gerard Clifford to lead the annual Archdiocese of Armagh celebrations for the Feast of Saint Oliver Plunkett
•    Father Tony Mullins to preach homily for Saint Oliver Plunkett Mass

Bishop Gerard Clifford, Auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Armagh, and Monsignor James Carroll VF, Parish Priest of Saint Peter’s, Drogheda, will lead the 2012 Festival of Saint Oliver Plunkett in Drogheda, County Louth this Sunday 1 July.  The 2012 procession, culminating in the celebration of the festival Mass, will commemorate the 92nd anniversary of the beatification of Saint Oliver Plunkett by Pope Benedict XV on 23 May 1920 and the 37th anniversary of his canonisation by Pope Paul VI on 12 October 1975.  Father Tony Mullins, Diocesan Administrator for the Diocese of Limerick, will be this year’s homilist at the 4:00pm Mass in Saint Peter’s Church, West Street, Drogheda, the Memorial Church for Saint Oliver Plunkett.

One of the features of the day will be the colourful ‘Procession of the Relics’ of Saint Oliver Plunkett, leaving Our Lady of Lourdes Church at 3.00pm, accompanied by the Drogheda Lourdes Brass Band, the Knights of Columbanus, members of other Orders and pilgrim groups. The colour party will also be drawn from the local scouting troop and representatives of local Catholic organisations. The procession will involve carrying the relics of Saint Oliver Plunkett over the mile-long route between the two churches (Our Lady of Lourdes and Saint Peter’s) in Drogheda town.

Background to the Festival Day of St Oliver Plunkett
•    Music at the 4:00pm festival Mass will be performed by Saint Peter’s Male Voice Choir directed by Mr Edward Holly.
•    Each year thousands of pilgrims visit Saint Oliver Plunkett’s shrine in Saint Peter’s Church, Drogheda, Archdiocese of Armagh, to venerate his relics and to learn about the saint’s life story. Pilgrims pray for the sick and troubled, for family and friends. They fittingly turn to Saint Oliver, who was martyred for his faith in a time of political, religious and social turmoil, to pray for his intercession concerning conflict areas at home and abroad.
•    Saint Oliver Plunkett, a former Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland, was martyred in Tyburn, England, in 1681. He was canonised as a martyr by Pope Paul VI in 1975.
•    The Patron saints of the Archdiocese of Armagh are: Saint Patrick, Saint Malachy and Saint Oliver Plunkett.
•    Saint Oliver was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Meath in 1654.  Each year celebrations of the life of Saint Oliver also take place at his birthplace in the Diocese of Meath. This celebration was held in front of the old ruined Church at Loughcrew, Oldcastle, Co Meath, the birth place of Saint Oliver Plunkett.

For media contact: Monsignor James Carroll 00 353 (0) 41 9838537; Catholic Communications Office, Maynooth: 00353 1 5053017 and Brenda Drumm 00353 (0) 87 3104444.