Follow-up on the National Propers for Ireland

Readers of Pray Tell may remember that I posted a note of appreciation for the beautiful texts appearing in the National Proper approved for the dioceses of Ireland. Fr. Pádraig (Patrick) McCarthy of the Dublin diocese kindly provided me with more information on these texts that I would like to share with Pray Tell‘s readership.  Fr. McCarthy writes that explanatory notes had been attached to earlier editions of these propers that had not been reprinted in the final edition:

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

The note for Saint Ita is as follows:

Explanatory Note

The opening prayer refers to Saint Ita’s nurturing of the young and her great success in leading many to holiness, as well as her deserved reputation for kindness to the indigent. The second half of the prayer is an echo of the ninth century poem which is placed on the lips of Saint Ita, and which reflects the tradition of her deep trinitarian prayer-life.

The Prayer over the Gifts follows closely the present English version of the Prayer over the Gifts from the Common of Pastors, 9. For the Founders of Churches: lines 4-5 reflect the spirituality of Saint Ita and coincidentally echo a saying attributed to her.

The Prayer after Communion continues the theme of nurturing, introduced in the Opening Prayer, with reference to the eucharist and to our growth in Christ.

The note for St Brigid:

Explanatory Note

Brigid’s hospitality, almsgiving and care of the sick provide a strong theme in all of these prayers, as do also her foundation of the double monastery in Kildare and her role in the building up of the Church there. The association of her feast with the beginning of Spring suggests the further -partly related -theme of sowing and planting.

The Preface and the Solemn Blessing draw on the traditional designation of Brigid as “Mary of the Gael”. The lines in the Solemn Blessing “The heart and mind of Brigid were a throne of rest for the Holy Spirit” are taken from her Vita in the Book of Lismore.

There is no note (at least in the copy I have) for St Columba (“Colum Cille” = “Dove of the Church” in the Irish language.)


  1. Thank you for sharing these notes, Father Michael. It would be a wonderful boon were someone to prepare similar kinds of notes for all of the propers. I would hope that any such notes could also provide the kind of source information (this first appeared in the such-and-such sacramentary of this-and-that centuary) of interest not only to liturgiologists but also that would help all those with access to them (celebrants, catechists, et al.) recognize the Roman (and in this case Irish) patrimony being retained. I was at one point told that ICEL has much of this source material available but that there was at that time no plan to publish it.

  2. Before reading the notes, I went back and read the cited prayers from your earlier article. The beauty of these prayers, with their eye to the poetic and subtle Irish turn of the phrase, makes me weep for what we will have foisted upon us.
    The notes make the prayers all the more rich and the language is accessible!

  3. Beautiful language abounds, as does beautiful music — and the Church has said it does not want it. Result: people are no longer coming to church. Philistinism is killing the Church.

  4. Hmmm. I think iconoclasm abounded in the 70s. I remember all the nice statues, altars, tabernacles, and rails that were torn out of lovely Churches in the ‘spirit of the council’. The new translation is beautiful. Yes, it is a little awkward in a few places, but on the whole it is a marked improvement on the banal one. The Church has beautiful music, particularly chant, but is rarely used even though vatican ii said it was to be retained.

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