Friday, January 30, 2009

Brigid of Kildare gaining popularity

Kildare and Leighlin Diocese is to celebrate the feast of St Brigid, (principal patron of the diocese) in a special way as it falls on a Sunday this year.

Celebrants can use special prayers for the Feast of St. Brigid along with a communion reflection and the Readings for the Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time.

It is suggested that a St Brigid’s cross be displayed during the communion reflection which refers to how St Brigid weaved a cross from rushes as she visited a dying chieftain.

The cross has become a symbol of peace and protection, and a blessing for the home and hearth.

It was exchanged as a sign of reconciliation during clan feuds in Brigid’s time.

It continues to be weaved to this day.

St Brigid’s festival in Kildare, Féile Bríde, is also going from strength to strength.

This is the 17th year of the festival and up to 600 are expected at the well alone, and hundreds more to poetry readings, musical evenings, workshops, conferences and Mass and other prayer services that take place around the town.

Among the visitors will be 20 Swedish ladies who represent 1000 of their number in Scandinavia who model themselves on the life of St Brigid of Kildare.

These are Lutheran women who read books by Fr John Ryan and Sr Rita Minehan and got in touch with the Brigidine sisters who run Solas Bhríde in Kildare. 600 of them have come to the festival over the years. They meet twice a month, read something of St Brigid, share, pray and have charitable events.

“St Brigid was a woman for today with her concern for the earth plus the arrival of spring on her feast day. There are tremendous celebrations around Ireland, in Clare, Kildare, Roscommon and there is a whole following of St Brigid right across the world.

St Brigid’s legends are like parables - like giving away her father’s sword - get rid of war and weapons and feed the hungry – that is a real message for today,” Sr Mary Minehan, Solas Bhríde, told ciNews.

“As I am looking out the window I see some snowdrops in full bloom in the garden and the snowdrops are called the footsteps of St Brigid.”

Brigid of Kildare is a patroness of those who have a care for the earth, for justice and equality, for peace and she is a model for a contemplative life, she said.

Feile Bhríde includes a Peace and Justice conference in collaboration with Afri - Action from Ireland - at Derby House Hotel, Kildare Town.

“Seeds of Change: Seeds of Hope” conference speakers include Denis Halliday former UN Assistant Secretary General and Frida Berrigan niece of anti-war campaigner Fr. Dan Berrigan. For further information or to book, see

Other events will include Brigid’s Banquet, poetry readings and concerts and the Annual Celtic Lecture “The Flame of Justice – Brigid and the practice of Social Ethics” with Prof. Johnston McMaster from the Irish School of Ecumenics.

For further details:

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(Source: CIN)