Hibernians wearing sashes and medallions,joined local Irish community groups, Gaelic Clubs and St. Barnabas parishioners, for Bronx County’s 5th annual Gaelic Mass Day, celebrated by Fr. Brendan Fitzgerald on Sunday October 29th. Once again the symbol for the day was the Irish Mass Rocks, where outlawedMasses were said in secret by outlawed priestsduring the English Penal Laws. This year the Irish Language Mass included a special remembrance for bereaved families “who hunger and thirst for justice”, following a call by Archbishop Eamon Martin, Primate of all Ireland, for prayers for those who lost loved ones during the Troubles, and fear their hopes of justice taken away by a new British amnesty law.
The ceremony began with pipers Rockland County AOH President Dermot Moore, and Bronx Division 5 President Pat O’Hara leading Fr. Fitzgerald and Hibernians into the Church. New York AOH leaders included State Vice-President Tom Beirne, District Directors Clive Cronin and Kevin Howell, and County Presidents Robert Eggen and Jamie Hamilton. Ladies AOH members were led by LAOH NY State Freedom for all Ireland Chair, Joan Moore.
Booklets containing Irish-English translations of the prayers, were handed out to those coming into St. Barnabas, or downloaded by viewers on facebook. These booklets allowed everyone to follow the prayers in English as they listened to the Irish words.
A special music program in Irish was provided by the Dawn Doherty Academy of Irish music and singing, with performers including Dawn Doherty, Jimmy Grady, Lauren Tuffy ,Ellie Reilly, Maureen Rutledge, EmerMoylan, Bridget Ferry, Lily Kenny, TrionaMcEntee, Maggie Feehan and Katie Talty.
Local Irish community groups supporting the Gaelic Mass included the, Aisling Irish Center, Emerald Isle Immigration Center, Brooklyn Irish Club and of course St. Barnabas Parish.
Nearly 1,000 viewers have watched the Gaelic Mass either on St. Barnabas Facebook or AOH Youtube.
In his sermon Fr. Fitzgerald paid a special tribute to Jim Lombard a leader in the Irish American community, who had just passed away and was being waked at St. Margaret’s.
Following the Gaelic Mass, Martin Galvin President of Bronx County AOH said:
“Gaelic Mass Day has gone from a local Bronx AOH event to become an important national event with AOH members across the country and viewers in Ireland joining on Facebook or Youtube. We are grateful to the parish, AOH and LAOH nationally, Irish government, local Irish community groups, and Irish language clubs who have given Gaelic Mass Day the importance it now holds.
“The AOH exists to foster Irish traditions, ideals, culture and history. It is hard to imagine a ceremony that could embody everything the AOH stands for, better than Gaelic Mass Day“.
“This year, with new British laws set to close down hopes of justice for families of victims killed in controversial circumstances during the Troubles, it was fitting to remember those who still Hunger and Thirst for justice”.