17 March 2010

A St Patrick's Day greeting from the Philippines

The Hill of Tara is where the High Kings of Ireland lived. You can see it directly from the front door of St Columban's, Dalgan Park, Navan, where Irish Columban priests were formed from 1941 onwards. My maternal grandmother grew up in this area.

St Patrick, whose place of birth we do not know, wasn't Irish but probably grew up in Wales. He was kidnapped at the age of 16 and taken to Ireland to take care of animals. He escaped six years later and returned as a missionary bishop. He died in Ireland in 461. He is patron saint of Ireland and of Nigeria.

The UST Singers, from the University of Sto Tomas, Manila, sing an Old Irish Blessing. The university is the oldest existing in Asia.


Dóchas Linn Naomh Pádraig (a traditional hymn in honour of St Patrick, with my English translation).

Dóchas linn Naomh Pádraig, Aspal mór na hÉireann,

Bring hope to us, St Patrick, great Apostle of Ireland,

Ainm oirearc gléigeal, solas mór an tsaoil é.

Illustrious, glorious name, he is the great light of the world.

D'fhill le soiscéal grá dúinn d'ainneoin blianta i ngéibheann.

He came back to us with the gospel of love, despite years of captivity.

Grá mór Mhac na páirte, d'fhuascail cách ón daorbhruid.

Great love of the Son, freed all from oppression.

'Sé a chloigh na draoithe,

He who defeated the druids

Croíthe dúra gan aon mhaith.

Hard of heart and no good.

D'ísligh dream an díomais

Brought down the arrogant

Trí neart Dé ár dtréan-fhlaith.

Through the strength of God our powerful lord

Sléibhte, gleannta, máighe,'s bailte mór’ na hÉireann:

Hill, valleys, plains, large towns of Ireland

Ghlan sé iad go deo dúinn, míle glóir dár naomh dhil.

He cleaned them for ever, a thousand praises to our dear saint

Iarr’maid ort, a Phádraig, guí orainn na Gaela,

We ask you, Patrick, pray for us Irish,

Dia linn lá 'gus oíche 's Pádraig Aspal Éireann.

God and St Patrick Apostle of Ireland be with us day and night.


Crux Fidelis said...

Beannachtaí na Féile Pádraig!

In primary school we were always taught that St Patrick was brought up in Scotland - somewhere around Dumbarton (Dun Bhreatunn) to be more precise. Hence the nearby Kilpatrick Hills and the village of Old Kilpatrick. Of course, I went to school near Glasgow.

Fr Seán Coyle said...

Yes, we also learned in Dublin that Dumbarton was one of the possible places of his birth.

I spent a week in Paisley on Peregrinatio pro Christo with the Legion of Mary during the summer of 1986 and I was assigned to Glasgow after Easter of 2002, expecting to be there for the last 2 1/2 years of a four-year assignment in Britain. I was only there a fortnight when asked to return to the Philippines. So I spent only five months there. In the summer of 1997 while on home leave I did short supplies in Barra and in South Uist, beautiful places. I had no problem with Mass in Gaelic, though I kept my Irish pronunciation and didn't attempt to preach in the language.

Fr Seán Coyle said...

My Peregrinatio experience, in St Fergus's parish, was during the summer of 1965, not 1986! I was still in the seminary.

Crux Fidelis said...

Father, I'm from Paisley - St Mirin's Cathedral parish (named after another export from Bangor). Do you remember who the priests were in St Fergus' back then? I would have been an altar boy at St Mirin's in 1965.

Crux Fidelis said...


Fr Seán Coyle said...

I remember a Father Reen, from Kerry, I think. Maybe his name was Denis. Two of us Columban seminarians stayed with a wonderful woman, Mrs Elizabeth Moffatt, a widow who has since gone to her award.

We spent hours each day visiting people in their homes and generally got a warm welcome. I don't recall anyone slamming their door on us. I remember meeting on Protestant who told me that he was a Celtic supporter.

By the same token, while doing a mission appeal in a Glasgow parish in the summer of 2002 I saw a boy of about 11 or 12 wearing a Rangers shirt at Mass. I used to 'wind-up' a Scottish priest here in the Philippines when Ally McCoist was in his heyday by reminding him that Ally had scored yet again. He couldn't accept that a Rangers player could be so good!

Crux Fidelis said...

The name Reen rings a bell but I didn't know him. St Fergus' parish (Ferguslie Park) has always been an area of what is called nowadays "social deprivation". Back then many of the problems were caused by drink but nowadays it's drugs.

Crux Fidelis said...

Funnily enough, in this month's "Africa" magazine (the Kiltegan Fathers) there's an account by Cardinal O'Brien of a visit he made to Kenya. Accompanying the article there's a photo of His Eminence with a group of Kenyan kids one of whom is sporting a Rangers shirt. I've emailed a friend who is a Kiltegan priest warning him that I'll withdraw my subscription and report them to the CDF if there's any repetition!