Saturday, August 06, 2011

Annual Mass goes ahead at Clonmel Holy Year cross despite vandalism

The annual mass at the Clonmel Holy Year cross went ahead on Bank Holiday Monday despite a random act of vandalism at the weekend.

Clonmel Holy Year Cross Committee member Sean Prendergast explained that when he arrived at the cross on Monday morning he discovered that burnt oil had been thrown over the altar and the holy statues and a number of wooden stakes that had been erected at the site were either stolen or burned. 

He said that he, “was absolutely disgusted at such a random act of vandalism, as a huge amount of work and gone into preparing the site for the annual Holy Year mass.” 

He added that while, “it wasn't possible to get the altar cleaned up on time, organisers managed to get a gazebo in place so that the mass could go ahead.”

The Clonmel Holy Year cross and shrine has a history that dates back more than 60 years. 

In 1950, the people of Clonmel erected a wooden cross on the Commeragh Mountains to look down over the town, and the annual climb has taken place every year since on the August Bank Holiday Monday, which culminates in a special mass at the summit. 

In 1953 an oratory and Stations of the Cross were added and both the cross and the shrine have been maintained by a committee of people from the Old Bridge, Scouthea and other areas of Clonmel.

Last year RTÉ aired a special documentary to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the site and a special photographic exhibition of the climb by RTÉ cameraman Donal Wylde and photographer John D Kelly was held in the Main Guard in the town. 

This year's mass, which was attended by some 1,200 people, was celebrated by Canon Brendan Crowley.