Patrician Year (1961): Missalette for Pontifical High Mass at Croke Park, 25th June

click above to read in full (pdf)

CLICK HERE to watch newsreel of the Mass.

CLICK HERE to listen to William Nelson presenting a silver trowel to His Eminence the Papal Legate. (“…a petition to Mary, the Mother of God, for her continued assistance in our struggle against atheistic communism…”)

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Posted on March 28, 2011, in Archbishop John Charles McQuaid, Blessed Virgin Mary, Communism, Irish History, John XXIII, Liturgy, Mass, Patrician Year (1961), St. Patrick, TV. Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. I was on duty that day outside Croke Park as a member of the Congress Volunteer Corps, a group of Fifth and Sixth Year students from Catholic boys’ schools in Dublin. I had just finished my Leaving Cert in nearby O’Connell Schools. You can see members of the CVC in the video. The uniform was simple: dark trousers and white shirt, which we provided ourselves, a beret – yellow for those without any special jobs and other colours for those with specific responsibilities – epaulettes and a stick. The stick wasn’t to beat anyone with but could be helpful in crowd control, indicating a line. One of the members of the CVC was the now Archbishop Diarmuid Martin.

    One thing I remember vividly was the 90,000 raising the roof with Credo III. I also felt an outsider, ( I don’t mean because I was outside the stadium) as I had never been taught it in 14 years in Catholic schools. The singing raised the hairs on the back of my neck.

    The CVC, organised by the late Monsignor Tom Fehily, was formally disbanded by Taoiseach Sean Lemass outside Dublin Airport after Cardinal Agagianian flew back to Rome. However, it was soon to become the Archbishop’s Volunteer Corps that was to be involved in various projects in the Archdiocese of Dublin. It was later opened to girls. I’ve an idea that the AVC is no more but am not sure.

    Some of us went on the Dublin Diocesan Pilgrimage to Beauraing, Belgium, that August, a wonderful experience. We were subsidised by the Archdiocese and paid only £5, which even in those days was a great bargain. We did ceremonial duty in Beauraing. The present Archbishop of Dublin was in the group that travelled.

  2. Thanks for the fascinating comments Father.

  3. I was there too, only I had a red beret, as I was a “minder”, aide de camp Fr Tom Fehilly called it, for Cardinal Paolo Marella. It was a seriously cool gig for a 16-year-old, riding around in the front of a big Austin Princess limo, opening doors for the cardinal and making sure nobody, not even a reverend mother, got to put milk in his inevitable cup of tea. I saw up close John Charles McQuaid and Eamon de Valera who was totally blind by then. John Charles had three great cars, a Citroen Light 15 (Maigret had one) a Hudson Fluid Drive limo with eight cylinders I think, and a beautiful Citroen DS. I even got to sit in the back of Dev’s 1947 or 8 blue Rolls Royce ZJ 5000 while it was parked in the yard in Dublin Castle. Great times, but I don’t recall any religious epiphany moments. Says more about me than anything else I reckon.

  4. Keiran, a fascinating contribution — thanks!

  5. Kieran, I remember you as a slightly precocious young lad. I was already then a mature 18! If I remember correctly, Cardinal Marella celebrated Mass in the Church of the Most Precious Blood, West Cabra, now joined up with Christ the King, Cabra and St Peter’s, Phibsboro, which wasn’t a parish in those days, under a pastoral team. I was at that Mass. I lived not far away in Aughrim St Parish.

  6. Thank you Fr Coyle. I think the day of the mass in Cabra was also the day when Cardinal Marella visited Cappagh hospital, then housing child polio victims. There had been a major polio outbreak in Ireland in 1956, just five years earlier. On crutches, legs in irons, away from their families (some of whom feared infection spreading to further members) , it was an awful sight to behold. I remember they clustered around the cardinal trying to touch his robes. One little fellow got left behind, he was just not fast enough on the crutches to reach the cardinal. I saw the look on his face as he realised that yet again he had not made it, he would not get close enough, he had come up short again. The phrase heartbreak is overused, but it applied then. We overstayed and were late for our next appointment, but this kid never made contact with Cardinal Marella as most of the others had done . As the chauffeur wrestled the wheel of the limo along the narrow lanes aback toward Finglas, towards our next appointment, there was absolute and awful silence within the car, everyone stilled by the horror of what we had seen. I don’t want to make cheap shots but the hand of a merciful God was impossible to discern on that sunny day in Cappagh hospital. I had been reminded of that little boy’s disappointed face recently when I read of the death of the Earl of Dunraven who also contracted polio at that time. I’ve no reason to think he spent any time in Cappagh.

  7. Thanks, Kieran. I remember the late Fr Peter Lemass, who was PP in Sean McDermott Street when John Paul II visited Ireland, writing about what happened o or rather didn’t happen – when the Pope was driven through the parish. The parishioners hoped he would stop, even though he wasn’t scheduled to do so. However, the powers-that-be didn’t allow this to happen and, like the poor kid in Cappagh, they were disappointed while at the reception he had to attend some were meeting John Paul for the second or third time. Father Peter meant no criticism of the Pope in what he wrote, since a visitor like him simply cannot know the local situation.

    I came across a truly inspiring video today – and this is not unrelated to your story – about the work of Fr Liam Hayes SVD in Argentina: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5lLo2kMir-E&feature=player_embedded . You can find it in context on my blog: http://bangortobobbio.blogspot.com/2011/04/newly-re-elected-irish-senator-and.html

    I had a belated birthday celebration today – the day itself fell on Wednesday of Holy Week – and I was delighted when about 12 of my friends from Holy Family Home were there. These are girls, most of whom have suffered abuse. Most of their companions are at home for a holiday at the moment but these, for various good reasons, had to stay. So little, but especially personal attention, can bring so much joy into the life of someone. On the other hand, as you experienced in Cappagh, so little can also cause great heartbreak, even when no one intends it.

  8. I was a friend of Fr Peter Lemass in Ballyfermot and lost contact completely after that. Please could you tell me anything you can about his illness and passing? He has long been on my mind and I am keen to know more about what happened to him after I knew him. Best wishes Bruno Nua nuabruno@gmail.com

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