Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Mullingar Cathedral – an icon to St. Patrick’s “flame of hope”

New York’s Cardinal Timothy Dolan, guest of honour and preacher of the homily at the special Jubilee Mass in Mullingar on Sunday last, described the Cathedral of Christ the King as an icon to the “flame of hope” ignited by St. Patrick on the Hill of Slane, a flame reduced at times to a flicker, but never extinguished “because it is a light of Christ” that cannot be put out.

Cardinal Dolan, relating how “Que viva Cristo Rey!” Long Live Christ Our King!” was “the cry, the prayer, the prelude often, to martyrdom” for the ‘Cristeros’ – the Catholic Mexicans who had kept their faith in dark days of oppression and persecution in Mexico of the 1920s and 30s.
“What do you say that today we make it our shout as well, our prayer, our act of faith on this glorious 75th anniversary of the solemn consecration of this splendid Cathedral of Christ the King?” he asked.
Congratulating Bishop Smith and all the clergy and faithful of the diocese, he thanked them for “keeping the dream of Bishop Gaffney and Bishop Mulvany so radiant and real” and expressed special thanks for the invitation to speak at the festive Mass.
“We take to heart the assurance Jesus gives us in our gospel today that, ‘where two or three gather in my name, there am I in their midst’. And thus He is here, as He has been with His Church from the start, from His Ascension, depicted so brightly in the mosaic in the apse, as He will be ‘until the end of time’,” the Cardinal continued.
“In a way we especially savour today, Jesus has been with us in these acres of His vineyard since Patrick arrived on the Hill of Slane nearby, and your patron, Saint Finian, the ‘teacher of the saints of Ireland,’ founded the legendary monastic schools.
Cardinal Dolan recalled how the strength of faith in the diocese had led Bishop Gaffney in 1900, to plan for a new cathedral, and how it was his successor Bishop Mulvany who brought it to completion, and accepted the advice of Pope Pius XI, in dedicating it to Christ the King – the first cathedral ever to bear this regal title.

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