‘And will the flowers die? And will people die?’ (Kennelly)
Máire Mhac an tSaoi:
Máire Mhac an tSaoi has died. She was 99. Her history evokes the past. Even 1916. Her parents. Later her marriage to Conor Cruise. The noisy scandal of ‘who you know and not what you know’ took off! Church politics growled and many felt hurt that those two could marry. It was said that the marriage was possible because of the status of Cardinal Brown and his family connection. But of course it was the technical details that made the wedding possible and not the family link. Some of us have used/exploited those same loopholes in cases ourselves. Anyway, we can only blush when we recall many of the ridiculous preoccupations of us in church on all kinds of marital issues. Now I wish I knew more Irish to read Máire’s poetry.
Brendan Kennelly has died. What is now to happen all those women who used to swoon at his voice and his dimples? His depth of interest and his ability to blend the strangest elements into his poetry was extraordinary and very colourful. Many love his Begin. Or the Poem from a three year old. But in so differing ways he was Everyman. Everyone could identify with his words; his stories; his life problems; his humanity. His warmth; his hearty laugh. Who will replace the Kennellys and the Kavanaghs? The richness of life with all its complexities was displayed by such as these. Some of our writers in Irish too had that gift.
Paddy Moloney has died. The Chieftains brought our musical history to life and managed to at home everywhere and anywhere. We shared in their success. It felt as if it was our success. They performed with The Beatles; with The Rolling Stones; with Sting; with The Who; with Van Morrison. They even performed at Elvis Costello’s wedding. We rather enjoyed them playing at The Augustinian in Drogheda!
As I was thinking of The Chieftains, Brendan Kennelly and Máire Mac an tSaoi, I went back to the 1780s. To: Cúirt an Mheán Oíche. Yes. Brian Merriman. Imagine it. Rabbie Burns featured roughly in the same period. They were beautifully irreverent. The argument at the Midnight Court was the complaint that the women were deprived. Celibacy had reduced the availability of fine men. Of course Merriman was sensible. The Church missed the chance to learn the obvious and to respect humanity and the incarnation but it wasn’t to be. Disadvantage and deprivation continues!
Strictly Come Dancing:
Something of the same occurs here. (Our Parish!) The women rave about Strictly Come Dancing (BBC1 on Saturday evenings). I have no idea why but they crave an opportunity to do the Argentine Tango. They want the clergy to join them Cúirt an Mheán Oíche hasn’t gone away. I try to tell them to watch football! They laugh at me. I simply suggest that Mo Salah’s goals in recent weeks is strictly come dancing. In fact it is balletic and beautiful. I don’t convince them. My attempt to link Rory McIlroy’s victory at Las Vegas (CJ Cup last weekend) is no substitute for the real, they tell me. I tried to remind them that Henry Shefflin taking over Galway shows that he is a mighty dancer too. Even the quiet and calm Davy Fitz didn’t get a look in. Joe Canning will surely appear shortly. All of them very fine dancers indeed.
Today’s Service in Armagh: Centenary of N. Ireland
There is a Service today in Armagh. It is Reflection and Hope. It is organised by the four Churches. It created controversy. Michael D Higgins felt he couldn’t attend due to the clumsy way the invitation was presented. It probably isn’t possible to celebrate partition and a 100 years of N. Ireland. The EU knows that. The British Government knows that somewhat. Even if Boris and Frost usually add to the complexity. The protocol shows that too. However, it is good that Simon Coveney and Jack Chambers attend. I wonder is the Queen’s medical condition a convenient way to avoid the awkwardness of the occasion! How can we celebrate the continuing Plantation of Ulster (or even part of it) as acceptable……. The story goes on. But we do have to respect reality and move very gently into the future as we sensitively note the fears of others and their concerns.
Launch of Synod:
The Synod is launched. We have to be very careful that it isn’t taken over as a new talking point and purely intellectual. The experience of Synod has to be felt everywhere and must be practical. Listening and walking together. The Gobán Saor is on the road. The sons walk with him. He asks them to shorten the road. We can shorten the road by believing in each other and listening. He was a builder. We are building a new tomorrow. Synod is up to each of us where we are.
“That was a great Mass.”
We had a concert on Tuesday evening. It was full of music, song, story-telling, drama, nature’s story-telling. The PPC wanted us to go-live with something other than Mass. The evening was a fine display of proper Liturgy! 6 or 700 have viewed it. It was thoroughly enjoyable. As one wag told us – “It was a lovely Mass.”
Indi hasn’t time to talk this week. She is to be christened. I tell her that it is the parents (Nigel & Freda; Tracey & Eric) who should be fearful and concerned. It is their journey.
Seamus Ahearne osa