20 April 2013

'Our span is seventy years . . .' Turning 70 today



On this date in 1943 my mother, born Mary Collins, delivered me to her husband and my father, John Coyle. It was Tuesday of Holy Week the last time Easter fell on its latest possible date, 25 April.  A few days later - it must have been Holy Saturday - I was baptised in St Joseph's Church, Berkeley Road, Dublin, just across the road from the small nursing home where I was born. Though my parents were living at the time on the south side of the River Liffey that runs through Dublin they had the good sense to let me be born north of the river and we moved to the north side three years later. So, like my father, and my mother for most of her life, I am a genuinely certified Northsider!


The next time that Eastert will fall on 25 April is 2038. If God spares me, I will then be 95 + five days. 

And if God spares him, so too will noted conductor, Sir John Eliot Gardiner, born in Dorset, England, on the same day. So I 'invited' him to do a 'gig' on our joint 70th Birthday. Handel's delightful Arrival of the Queen of Sheba is a great favourite of mine and quite suitable for a birthday celebration. And Handel has connections with my native city, Dublin, as hisMessiah was first performed there.

The Bells of St Paul's Cathedral, London

I remember reading that on 20 April 1943 Prime Minister Winston Churchill of the United Kingdom announced in the House of Commons in London that church bells could be rung again in the UK. Their ringing had been forbidden for security reasons earlier in World War II. However, there was no such ban in the part of Ireland that I'm from as we were no longer in the United Kingdom. 

Main studio of EWTN, Irondale, Alabama, USA

Turning 90 today is Mother Angelica, Mother Mary Angelica of the Annunciation PCPA, born  Rita Antoinette Rizzo, who founded EWTN, which now broadcasts around the world. May God continue to bless her and the work she began, with great vision and trust in God.

Servant of God, Fr Emil Kapaun (20 April 1916 - 23 May 1951

I've posted a number of times about Fr Emil Kapaun, who was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor on 11 April by President Obama. I featured this great priest most recently inSunday Reflections for last Sunday. Easter was very late the year he was born and he arrived in the world on Holy Thursday.


I am also blessed to share my birthday with St Rose of Lima, who was born in 1586 and died on 24 August 1617.

The year my father was born, 1913, Easter was very early, 23 March. He was born on Thursday of Easter Week. He loved a 'good tune', especially from Italian Grand Opera. I grew up with the radio and the only station in the Republic of Ireland during my childhood was Radio Éireann. Every Wednesday at lunch time I used to listen to the first part of Hospitals' Requests before going back to school. Very often there was a request for Va' pensiero, from Giuseppe Verdi's opera Nabucco. The announcers usually used an English title for it, Go thoughts on Golden Wings or The Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves. Though my Dad was never home for lunch on working days he was very familiar with it and it certainly came into his 'good tune' category.

So my co-70th Birthday celebrant Sir John Eliot Gardiner agreed to conduct it for the occasion.



Please join me in praying with gratitude to God for my parents, John Coyle and Mary Collins, and for the repose of their souls. Without their cooperation with our loving Father this blog would not have been possible. And remember too their parents, Nicholas Coyle and Jane Hoare, both from Rush, County Dublin, a village by the sea north of the city where my paternal ancestors first arrived before 1800, and William Patrick Collins, from Dublin city, and Annie Dowd, born in Navan, County Meath, down the road from the Columban seminary where I spent seven happy years.


Collect from the Mass for Giving Thanks to God (B)

O God, the Father of every gift, 
we confess that all we have and are comes down from you; 
teach us to recognise the effects of your boundless care 
and to love you with a sincere heart and with all our strength.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, 
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, 
one God, for ever and ever.

Our life is over like a sigh.
Our span is seventy years 
or eighty for those who are strong (Psalm 89[90], Grail translation, used in the Breviary).

4 comments:

Ruth Ann Pilney said...

It's still the 19th on this part of the planet as I write this comment. I sincerely wish you a happy birthday and many blessings! I'm delighted that you were born, because I enjoy reading your posts.

Fr Seán Coyle said...

Thank you, Ruth Ann. This afternoon there was a celebration organized by friends. It wasn't a total surprise but the venue and some elements of it were, eg, greetings by video from Atlanta and from Wales. Filipinos love to celebrate birthdays and have a deep gratitude to God for the gift of life.

Jackie Parkes said...

Happy Birthday Fr Sean from all the family!

Gerard Dunne OP said...

Sean....belated birthday greetings to you. You're a great inspiration. Keep up the great work! Gerard OP