Bishop Alphonsus Cullinan
Bishop of Waterford and Lismore Diocese, Most Rev Alphonsus Cullinan, has announced that churches throughout the Diocese will ring the bells after their parish mass on St Patrick’s Day for the intentions of our nation.
It has been a year now that we have been living with Covid and yet there is undoubtedly a spirit among the people that together with God’s help we will get through this tough period and emerge as better people.
The ringing of bells goes back to St Patrick himself, when after ordaining a priest and putting him in charge of a local congregation, he presented a gift of a bell to the priest to call the people to prayer.
St Patrick’s Day has a distinct Waterford connection, says the Bishop. In the middle of the 17th Century, Fr Luke Wadding from Waterford promoted the Feast Day of St Patrick and convinced the Vatican that it be made a Feast Day for the universal church. Although the day had been observed from around the 10th century, Wadding was the one who made it into the worldwide celebration that it is today.
The first St Patrick's Day Parade was held in Waterford in 1903, says the Bishop. The parade began at the premises of the Gaelic League in George's Street and finished in the Peoples Park, where the public were addressed by the Mayor and other dignitaries.
Bishop Cullinan says the ringing of the bells this St Patrick’s Day will hopefully uplift our hearts, but also remind us that we are a people under God.
“I am very much looking forward to St Patrick’s Day, despite the fact that like all priests I will not have a congregation in front of me in person, but I am very much aware of the parishioners and the people beyond the camera of their intentions, of their fears and hopes for themselves, their families and loved ones," he says.
“I am also very conscious of those who would love to be home for St Patrick’s Day, those who are living abroad, those who are in lockdown in their homes, those who are in hospitals, hospices and nursing homes.
“St Patrick’s Day reminds me of the faith which St Patrick brought us, that Christ is in fact on my right hand and on my left hand, before me and behind me. Wherever people are, may they realise that this is true for them also. God is walking with us. We ring these bells for God and St Patrick and our native home," the Bishop adds.