The Church in Ireland has a new Mass formulary for St Brigid, one of the Secondary Patrons of Ireland, whose feast is today. Here is the Collect:
origin and reward of all charity,
you called Saint Brigid to teach the new commandment of love
through her life of hospitality and her care of the needy;
give to your people, by her intercession,
a generous spirit, so that, with hearts made pure,
we may show your love to all.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Brigidine Blessing at the end of a nuptial Mass.
(It’s amazing the number of people, even priests, who mispronounce ‘nuptial as ‘nupjewal’. But then President Eisenhower, as many others still do, used to pronounce ‘nuclear’ as ‘nookyular’!)
Last year while preparing with the couple a wedding ceremony that was celebrated almost entirely in Irish and in Hiligaynon, the language of the region of the Philippines where I‘m presently living, I discovered a beautiful Brigidine Blessing for the end of the nuptial Mass in Leabhar Aifrinn an Pharóiste, ‘The Parish Mass Book’, an Irish language liturgical resource book published by Veritas, Dublin. I don’t have an English text so the translation is my own.
Coincidentally, a variation of St Brigid’s name is ‘Bride’ and in Scotland she’s usually called ‘St Bride’. We have place names in Ireland known as ‘Bridewell’ which would indicate an ancient well in the saint’s honour. There is a police station in Dublin known as ‘The Bridewell’ and I think there’s one in Cork too.
During the blessing at the end of the nuptial Mass the priest holds the St Brigid’s Cross in his right hand. He makes the Sign of the Cross with it over the couple and over the people. Then he gives the St Brigid’s Cross to the bride. According to ancient custom the bride places the Cross on the wall of the house every St Brigid's Day.
Here is the text of the blessings:
Priest: Síocháin an Athar libh,
Síocháin Chríost libh,
Síocháin an Spioraid libh,
Gach lá agus gach oíche.
People: Gach lá agus gach oíche. Amen
(The peace of the Father be with you,
The peace of Christ be with you.
The peace of the Spirit be with you,
Every day and night. Amen.
People: Every day and night. Amen.)
Priest: Coimirce and Athar oraibh,
Coimirce Chríost oraibh,
Coimirce and Spioraid oraibh,
Gach lá agus oíche de bhur saol. Amen.
People: Gach lá agus oíche de bhur saol. Amen.
(The protection of the Father be on you,
The protection of Christ be on you,
The protection of the Spirit be on you,
Every day and night of your lives. Amen.
Every day and night of your lives. Amen.)
Priest: Beannacht an Athar oraibh,
Beannacht Chríost oraibh,
Beannacht an Spioraid oraibh,
Go coróin na beatha síoraí. Amen.
People: Go coróin na beatha síoraí. Amen.
(The blessing of the Father on you,
The blessing of Christ on you,
The blessing of the Spirit on you,
To the crown of eternal life. Amen.
To the crown of eternal life. Amen.)
Priest: Bail ó Dhia oraibh ó Shamhain go Lá ‘le Bríde,
ó Lá le ‘Bríde go Bealtiane,
ó Bhealtaine go Lúnasa,
ó Lúnasa go Samhain;
is go mbeannaí Dia uilechumhactach sibh,
Athair, Mac + agus Spiorad Naomh.
(May God prosper you from Hallowe’en to St Brigid’s Day,
from St Brigid’s Day to May,
from May to August
and from August to Hallowe’en,
and may almighty God bless you, the Father, Son + Holy Spirit.
Priest: Go dté sibh slán faoi shíocháin Chríost.
People: Buíochas le Dia.
(Priest: May you go safely under the peace of Christ.
The last part of the blessing refers to the four pre-Christian festivals, Imbolc, Bealtaine, Lúnasa and Samhain that marked the beginning of spring, summer, autumn and winter. St Brigid’s Day, 1 February, replaces Imbolc, but Bealtaine is the Irish name for May, Lúnasa for August and Samhain for November. In Ireland the four seasons are reckoned from the first of February, of May, of August and of November. It is really impossible to translate that last part of the blessing into English. To some extent St Brigid’s Day and Hallowe’en are Imbolc and Samhain ‘baptized’. A popular title in Ireland and some other places for the Virgin Mary in May is ‘Queen of the May’. That, to some extent, ‘baptizes’ Bealtaine. The Solemnity of the Assumption on 15 August is sometimes referred to in Irish as ‘Lá Fhéile Mhuire Mhóir’, ‘The Great Feast of Mary’. That too, in a sense, ‘Christianizes’ Lúnasa.