Among the Cloud of Irish Witnesses


October 11
Canice, bishop. Ossory diocese. 6th century

Canice (Kenneth) was a friend and companion of St Columba. Adomnán mentions him in his Life of Columcille. The son of a bard from county Derry, he later founded many monasteries in Ireland. Wales and Scotland cherish their link with him also. His foundation at Aghaboe in Leix became the principal monastery in Ossory diocese. A lonely figure, he copied the scriptures and became known as the preacher who loved the countryside and animal life.

Pray on his day for the earth's conservation and for all those who care with compassion for animals increase our thanksgiving for the dedicated life of St Canice. S.

Lord, how various are your works,
in wisdom you have made them all
and the earth is full of your creatures:
Grant that, as we praise you for the life and preaching of Canice
among the hills and rivers of Kilkenny,
so we may after his example learn to regard the heritage
we have in this beautiful land as a trust
to preserve and hand on for those who come after us,
for your glory endures for ever;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

October 12
Móibhí. Teacher. 545.

Móibhí's name has a special association with Glasnevin, Dublin. Here he founded a monastery. Among his pupils was the great St Columba. Today the College of St Móibhí (Coláiste Móibhí) prepares candidate-teachers for entrance to the Church of Ireland College of Education.

On his day, prayer is offered for all those engaged in teaching both in primary and secondary schools.
Intercession is made for all whose vocation for teaching is developing.
We pray for those in university and college life who have the responsibility of teaching those in training for the teaching profession. S.

Almighty God,
your apostle commanded Timothy to choose and instruct those
who would in turn be able to teach others.
We thank you for the life and example of your servant Móibhí, teacher of Columba, and pray that those called to be teachers of the faith today may be enabled to inspire those who will also teach those who come after them; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

October 16
Gall, missionary Down diocese. 630

St Gall came from Leinster to Bangor in county Down to be trained in the monastery there by Comgall. He set off for Europe as a missionary with St Columbanus and others in 589. Although he did not found the St Gall monastery in Switzerland which bears his name and is a famous reminder of his Christian evangelising, his gentle life of holiness made a deep impression both in France and Switzerland.

We pray for the missionary tradition of the Church; for all those who in their lives and by their deaths have glorified God in many continents, including Europe.
We pray too for the European Economic Community and Ireland's part in its life and work.
We remember scholars, librarians, researchers who study and conserve ancient scriptural manuscripts and the records of the Christian church.
We pray for the library of the Representative Church body, its archivist and assistant and all who read and study there. S.

Almighty and everlasting God,
with whom your weak ones go forth as the mighty:
We thank you for your servant Saint Gall
who went boldly in your Name as missionary
to barbarian invaders of Europe in his day
and commended the gospel through his gentle life of holiness;
may your church ever respond
to the commission to spread the gospel
and draw inspiration from the saints of old;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

October 27
Otteran, abbot. Waterford diocese. 563

Otteran, an abbot from Meath, was one of the companions who sailed with Columba from Lough Foyle. He died soon after the landing on Iona. His burying-place, the Realig Odhrain, later became also the burying-place for kings of Dalriada, Scotland and Norway. Scandinavian links with Iona explain the special place Otteran has as Patron of the see of Waterford which was founded by the Danes.

We pray for all who travel, especially for emergency services which serve travellers and lighthouse keepers, the Life Boat service and helicopter rescue crews.
We pray for Waterford, for the witness of the Cathedral of the Blessed Trinity (the "Christ Church" of the Danes) founded in the 10th century by Reginald the Viking.
We give thanks for all who went from the port of Waterford to found new homes in America, Australia and New Zealand.

God of the whole world:
your servant Otteran died far from home
and his place of burial became that of kings as well,
help us to know that wherever you take us
it is there that we are to help others;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

November 3
Malachy, bishop. Armagh and Down dioceses. 1148

To Malachy is due the restoration, re-organisation and re-unification of the Church in Ireland after the ravages of the Norsemen. In his time the dioceses of Ireland were first organized as we know them. Under his leadership the arrival of the Anglo-Normans was less of a disaster than it might have been. He co-operated with John de Courcy in the assimilation of the Norman influence in Ulster, including the re-formation of the Abbey of Down under the Benedictine order. He also undertook the rebuilding of the Cathedral of Armagh and gained the recognition of Armagh as the Primatial See.

We pray for all the dioceses of the Church of Ireland, and all who maintain the organization of the Church in them.
We pray for the Archbishop of Armagh, with his leadership responsibilities as Primate of all Ireland.
We pray for the continuing witness of the cathedrals of Armagh and Down.

you called Malachy to be a re-builder
and restorer of the Irish Church:
Look upon your Church in this land today,
correct what is amiss and supply what is lacking;
that we may more and more bring forth fruit to your glory;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

November 14
Laurence O'Toole. Dublin and Glendalough dioceses. 1180

He was made abbot of the monastery in Glendalough at the age of 25. Then in 1162 he was chosen by the clergy and laity of Dublin to be their first archbishop. In the days of Strongbow with whom St Laurence worked to restore Christ Church cathedral in stone, there were many political problems and clashing interests. St Laurence has been described as "self-effacing and self-denying" as he prayed and worked for the settling of differences at Eu in Normandy.

We pray for the united diocese of Dublin and Glendalough, for the archbishop, clergy and people.
We pray for the worship and witness of the cathedral of the Holy Trinity "Christ Church", on the hill of Dublin's city.
We pray for those who work for peace and reconciliation where there is strife and conflict. S.

Almighty God,
in Christ Jesus you were reconciling the world to yourself
and entrusted to your Church the ministry of reconciliation:
As we recall the self-effacing
and self-denying ministry of Laurence O'Toole
among the clashing interests of Church and State
in Dublin in his day,
we pray that in our time your church and all its members
may be committed to the same ministry of reconciliation
of men and women to you and to one another;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

November 23
Columbanus, abbot. Down diocese. 615

From Leinster, Columbanus went to Bangor where he spent many years in monastic life there with St Comgall. Then, about the year 590, he set out with 12 companions for France (Gaul). He is counted as the most important of the Irish Missionaries who went out "into voluntary exile" to evangelise the European continent. Travelling through France, Germany and Switzerland, he finally settled at Bobbio in north Italy. His rule was a strict one and was largely superseded by the rule of St Benedict later in. Bobbio's monastery, which he founded is famous for its library and insular (Irish style) biblical manuscripts.

Pray for the missionary work of the Church, for leaders and pioneers, for teachers and administrators.
Let us pray for all who are training for the sacred ministry of the church, their witness and their life of discipline. S.

Father God,
we give thanks that from Bangor you sent out
a great band of missionary pilgrims with Columbanus
to bring back the light of the gospel
where it had been extinguished in Europe:
Grant that the church following his example may always accept
the yoke and discipline of Christ
and in faith be obedient to his call;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

November 24
Colman. Cloyne diocese. 601.

There are some hundreds of saints called Colman. The Colman who built the first church at Cloyne in Co. Cork was ordained late in life at the age of 50. He was influenced by Brendan the Navigator as he searched for his vocation. Brendan called him a column or a pillar (columna) of the church and also a dove (columba).

We pray for the diocese of Cloyne, its bishop, clergy and people.
We give thanks for those who have served its cathedral and all its parishes, remembering among them the life of philosophical learning and virtuous living spent in the diocese for some twenty years as bishop by George Berkeley from 1734-1753. S.

Almighty God,
you called your bishop Colman
to be a builder of churches in Cloyne,
giving him such grace that he was known
as a pillar of the Church and a man of peace:
Grant to all who, after his example search for their true vocation,
constancy in their seeking
and ready obedience when they discover it;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

December 18
Flannan. Killaloe diocese. 640.

St Flannan's Day is also celebrated in Scotland. He is one of the many travelling Irish saints, who embarked on long journeys, often by water as well as overland, partly as missionaries but also as pilgrims, making a spiritual "peregrination" to witness on the way for Christ. Flannan succeeded Mo-Lua who founded Killaloe cathedral on the Shannon. St Flannan's oratory beside the cathedral is an impressive example of early Irish architecture. Its large size and sound stone construction have been widely admired.

We pray for the diocese of Killaloe, its bishop, clergy and people.
We pray for travellers, for pilgrims, and all those who witness for Christ at home and abroad. S.

Almighty God,
in whose service Flannan travelled by land and water
as a missionary pilgrim to witness to Christ on the way:
Help us in our pilgrimage to be ever constant to Christ
and in your mercy receive us at last into eternal rest;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

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