The Annual Mass in honour of St. Declan was celebrated at Toor Holy Well last Thursday. A congregation of over a thousand people of all ages from babies to Mary Dower who is in her 101st year attended the celebration which was held in fine weather except for a short light shower near the end of Mass.
The Chief Celebrant was Most. Rev. Alphonsus Cullinan, Bishop of Waterford and Lismore assisted by Fr. Gerard O’Connor, PP, Fr. Finbarr. Lucey, Fr. Michael Enright, Fr. Robert Arthure, Fr. John Kiely and Fr. Billy Meehan.
In his homily, Bishop Cullinan said he was pleased to be back at St. Declan’s Well and welcomed the large congregation to the celebration of the memory of the Saint.
He said that two weeks ago he was talking to a young man who had met a young Christian, Catholic man who was talking to him about Jesus.
“This man I was talking to said the way he pronounced the word Jesus, I knew he believed and I decided I had to come in and talk to you.”
So, my friends, can we have that same experience of Jesus who wants to have a personal relationship with you. He wants to speak to you; he wants to use you, so that you can be His hands, His voice, His eyes, His feet and bring Him to all.
“Let’s face it, Ireland right now, needs Christ,” he continued. “We are all worried about our families. I have brothers, sisters, nieces and nephews. I worry about them, just as you worry about your children, your neighbours, your grandchildren, your nieces and nephews. Will they drift or will they get closer to the Lord?
“Let’s pray for family life; let’s pray that the World meeting of Families next year will be a big injection of grace for the country and for our families, so that husbands and wives can be faithful to each other, to their vocation so that Priests and Bishops will be faithful to theirs; so that the Lord can bring us His healing, His peace, His love.
“So, we speak to Him in the Mass; we meet Him in the Mass; He is real; He wants to have a heart to heart relationship with you. Please believe that you are precious in the eyes of Jesus.”
Centenarian, Mary Dower was accompanied by members of her family. Bishop Cullinan extended his congratulations on her devotion to attendance at the Holy Well and the Annual Mass in honour of St. Declan. He was pleased to pose for a photo with Mary and her extended family.
Last year, Mary collected the Presidential Bounty on her 100th Birthday and earlier last week received the Commemorative Medal from President Higgins.
At the close of Mass, Fr. Gerard O’Connor, Parish Priest of Aglish, Ballinameela and Mountstuart thanked Bishop Cullinan for coming again this year.
“Your visit is much appreciated by the priests and people,” he said.
He thanked the large congregation for coming and helping to continue the long tradition of devotion at St. Declan’s Well.
He thanked the local people who had cut hedges, the grass of the fields and making the many other preparations which were necessary for an orderly occasion.
He also thanked Peggy and David Reynolds who care for the grounds so well through the year. He expressed his gratitude to the members of Civil Defence who stand by in case of emergency as well as the stewards who ensure that the people in the car park and Well areas can make their visit without any upset.
“We are grateful to you all, for without your help, this event would not run as smoothly as it does,” he concluded.
On Monday night, a Vigil was held at St. Declan’s Hermitage, Ardmore with prayers at midnight to welcome in St. Declan as tradition requires.
Pictures are courtesy of Tom Keith, Dungarvan.