3 Jan 2017

3rd January 2017 - Feast of St Munchin, patron of the diocese of Limerick

Jan 3rd is the patronal feast day for the Diocese of Limerick, as it is the feast day of St Munchin (Bishop) who is our principal diocesan patron saint. The other principal patron saint of the diocese is St Ita of Kileedy whose feast day is January 15th but we have to share her with the rest of the Irish church as she is honoured as the foster mother of the saints of Ireland!


As a diocesan church perhaps this year we might urgently seek the intercession of St Munchin for the success of the diocesan pastoral plan 2016 - 2026 and his intercession for decisions we will make as a diocese as we move forward together as a People of God.




Lord God,
may the light which brightened the world at the birth of Christ your Son
continue, we beseech you, to overcome all darkness,
and, by the prayers of Saint Munchin,
may it guide our steps into the way of peace.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.
Amen

The Office and Mass for his festival are taken from those common to a bishop and a confessor, as found in the Roman Breviary and Missal.

If you would like to read of the legend of the curse of St Munchin.

From Wikipedia:
Mainchín mac Setnai (fl. late 6th century), also anglicised to Munchin, was allegedly the founder of the church of Luimnech, later Limerick (Ireland), and a saint in Irish tradition, acquiring special eminence as patron of Limerick city. Both his origins and the date of his association with the city are debated.
From Under the Oak and which is now available in full at Omnium Sanctorum Hiberniae:

"Not only are conflicting opinions held regarding St. Munchin's identity with various holy men similarly named, but great doubts prevail with respect to the exact period when he lived. The best authorities on Irish ecclesiastical history seem to agree pretty generally, in calling the patron saint of Limerick the son of Sedna. From what we can learn, this parentage connects him apparently by birth, or at least by extraction, with the district in which Luiminech, so called by the old chroniclers, was situated.........

St. Munchin, called the son of Sedna, was grandson to Cas, and great-grandson to Conell of the Dalgais. He was nephew to Bloid, king of Thomond. Nothing more have we been able to collect regarding his education, pursuits, and preparation for his call to Holy Orders. Neither documentary fragments nor popular tradition aid our endeavours to clear up his personal history. It has been asserted, that St. Munchin, bishop of Limerick, built a church in the island of Fidh-Inis, which lies within the large estuary where the river Fergus enters the river Shannon. Here he is said to have lived for a long time ; and it is thought possible, a St. Brigid, who was his kinswoman, may have lived there after he left it.......

St. Munchin thus belonged, as tradition holds, to the blood royal of North Munster. St. Molua and he were regarded as tutelary saints of the Thomond O'Briens. St. Munchin, called the son of Sedna, is said to have been the first founder of Mungret Monastery, regarding which a curious legend has come down in popular tradition. Some maintain, that the Priory of Mungret, within the liberties of Limerick, was first founded by St. Patrick, in the fifth century. Other writers state, that St. Nessan was the founder of this Monastery, or at least its first Abbot.......

An impenetrable mystery seems to shroud the history of the establishment of a See at Limerick, while the acts of its patron Saint and first bishop are involved in a maze of obscurity. Various writers have endeavoured to solve the problem presented, but they have been obliged to leave much for conjecture, and this has only tended the more to perpetuate uncertainty. Some writers make this city identical with the Regia found on the map of Ptolemy, the geographer. St. Munchin is thought to have been earliest bishop over Limerick, and he is traditionally said to have founded this see and a Cathedral there, called after his name.........

But there can hardly be any question that the Church of Limerick had a continued succession of bishops from a very early date. To St. Munchin the foundation of Limerick Cathedral has been generally assigned. From about the middle of the sixth century, Limerick appears to have held rank among the cities of Ireland. In the second Life of St. Senan, one Denson, called bishop of Limerick, is said to have attended the funeral of Iniscathy's first abbot ; yet, it has been asserted, that there was neither a city nor a bishop of Limerick at this early period.

St. Munchin's church in this city, is said by one writer to have been founded by St. Munchin about the year 630. It is thought to have been rebuilt by the Danes after their conversion to Christianity. St. Munchin's church continued to be this city's cathedral, until after the erection of St. Mary's church......."

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