On Monday August 7th, the annual Mass was celebrated at the Holy Year Cross overlooking the town of Clonmel by Fr. Michael Toomey CC, Ss Peter & Paul Parish, Clonmel.
The following homily was delivered by Fr. Michael.
As a child I have very fond memories at home on holidays – climing the mountain for Mass at the Cross. For me, coming from London where we were lucky to see even a patch of grass – its was something so awsome – celebrating our faith – looking down and praying for our town. Little did I know then that one day – I would have the privilige of actually saying the Mass for such wonderful people in our town who have climbed the mountain to celebrate Mass here today.
The Cross here was erected in 1950 at Scrouthea Hill, on the foothills of the Comeraghs, and ever since the tradition of Mass on the August Bank Holiday has endured – despite the typical Irish weather. Monsignor Dean Byrne was the parish priest at the time and the great procession to the Hill set out from in front of Ss. Peter & Paul’s Church and the Cross was carried up the hill by relays of bearers.
The original cross has remained since, although in 1976 the timber cross was replaced by a metal one. The Stations of the Cross were added in 1953 and ten years later the oratory was added.
On 31 December 1999 – just before midnight – I was one of many who witnessed the lighting of the Cross for the Millennium – and it is lit every night since – a light shining down on our town – giving hope to those who ever need it.
The Mass has been attended for 67 years by so many from the town and surrounding area who faithfully make the annual pilgrimage.
The Cross and shrine have been maintained down through the years by a committee of people from around the Old Bridge, Scouthea and other areas of Clonmel – of which we are all deeply grateful for their dedication and care.
Today, I offer Mass for all those who in 1950 set about planning and bringing the Cross, up the hill to this place. Many are now gone to their eternal reward. I also offer it for the thousands of pilgrims – many who attended this Mass every year until they too were called home to God. I also offer this mass for all those who today have cared for and prepared this area and for all of your intentions gathered here today.
May the Lord bless all of us, and our towns and villages, and keep us safe.