Cardinal Brady to lead celebrations for the Feast of Saint Oliver Plunkett

05 Jul 2013

Cardinal Brady to lead celebrations for the Feast of Saint Oliver Plunkett

  • Apostolic Nuncio Archbishop Charles J Brown to preach homily for the Saint Oliver Plunkett Mass
  • For the first time the procession will depart from the Diocese of Meath and conclude in the Archdiocese of Armagh

Cardinal Seán Brady, Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland, will lead the annual Festival of Saint Oliver Plunkett in Drogheda, Co Louth, this Sunday 7 July.  The 2013 procession, culminating in the celebration of the festival Mass, will commemorate the 93rd anniversary of the beatification of Saint Oliver by Pope Benedict XV on 23 May 1920, and the 38th anniversary of his canonisation by Pope Paul VI on 12 October 1975.

His Excellency the Apostolic Nuncio, Archbishop Charles J Brown, will be this year’s homilist at the 4:00pm Mass in Saint Peter’s Church, West Street, Drogheda, which is the Memorial Church for Saint Oliver.  Archbishop Eamon Martin, Coadjutor Archbishop of Armagh, and Bishop Michael Smith, Bishop of Meath, will concelebrate this Mass as will the Archdiocese of Armagh’s most recently ordained priest Fr Paul Murphy, who was ordained on 30 June.  Father Murphy celebrated his first Mass on 1 July, the Feast of Saint Oliver Plunkett.

One of the features of this year’s festival will be the colourful ‘Procession of the Relics’ of Saint Oliver Plunkett.  In an historic first, the relics will process from the Diocese of Meath across the River Boyne into the Archdiocese of Armagh.  The procession will leave the Holy Family Church, Ballsgrove (south of the River Boyne) at 3.00pm and proceed three kilometres to the National Shrine of Saint Oliver Plunkett in Saint Peter’s Church, after which Mass will begin.  The procession of the relics will be accompanied by the Kingscourt 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.


Background to the Festival Day of Saint 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 to venerate his relics and to learn about the saint’s extraordinary life of service and inspiring ministry.  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 for this faith 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 his life and ministry also take place in the Diocese of Meath 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 Parish Priest of Saint Peter’s Parish, Drogheda; the Catholic Communications Office, Maynooth on either 00353 1 5053017 or Martin Long 00353 (0) 861727678.