8 Jan 2011

January 10th 2011 - Feast of the Baptism of the Lord

"And now the end is near, its is time to face the final curtain......"

Well liturgically under the current liturgical calendar, tomorrow is the last day of this Christmas season concluding with the commemoration of the public manifestation of the Lord at his baptism by John in the Jordan. Monday begins as the first day in Ordinary Time in this new liturgical year.

Sacred Space 102fm returns to its normal slot this weekend (and repeated on Thursday nights) and this week we have a discussion about the other patron of the Limerick Diocese St Ita and the tradition associated with her, as well as a reflection on the Sunday gospel, saints of the coming week, EWTN and the Irish Catholic as well as some music to get us through.

St Ita

St Ita also known as the Brigid of Munster is associated with the parish of Kileedy and is one of the co-patrons of the diocese of Limerick. January 15th is her feast day, and on this weeks show, Michael Keating tells us about this extraordinary woman and her role on the development of the faith.

Along with her life story, we discuss how she is a role model and especially how she is a role model for women. We discuss her links with Killeedy, her fostering of various Irish saints and her link with St. Brendan the Navigator. We look at her feastday and the 'high mass' in Raheenagh church on Saturday, January 15th followed by a social event in the evening. She is reportedly a good intercessor in terms of pregnancy and eye illnesses.

"St Ita, the patron saint of Killeedy, was born before 484AD in County Waterford, in the Tramore area. Her father was Cennfoelad or Confhaola and her mother was Necta. Cennfoelad was descended from Felim the lawgiver. Ita's name was originally Dorothea or Deirdre. She was a member of the Déisí tribe. Ita refused her father's wish that she should marry a local chieftain, as she believed that she had a calling from God and wanted to become a nun. To convince her father to change his mind, she fasted for three days and three nights. On the third night, God gave out to her father in his sleep. The next morning, Cennfoelad agreed that Ita could do as she wished. At the age of sixteen, Ita set off on her journey. Bishop (St.) Declan of Ardmore conferred the veil on her. Legend has it that Ita was lead to Killeedy by three heavenly lights. The first was at the top of the Galtee mountains, the second on the Mullaghareirk mountains and the third at Cluain Creadhail, which is nowadays Killeedy. Her sister Fiona also went to Killeedy with her and became a member of the community. Ita was welcomed to Killeedy by the local chieftain of the Ui Conaill Gabhra tribe. The chieftain wanted to give Ita a large trait of land but she only wanted a few acres as a garden for her community."

You can read more about St Ita at the Limerick Diocese Heritage site, wikipedia and here and here.

St Ita of course shares the patronage of the diocese with St Munchin whose feast day was January 3rd and once again we encourage you to invoke the intercession of our two diocesan patrons for the selection and consecration of a new bishop of the diocese of Limerick.


This weeks gospel (Matthew 3:13-17) recounts for us the beginning of the public ministry of Jesus with his manifestation to the people at his baptism in the Jordon. It is a period of transition on many levels; Christmas - Ordinary time, Hidden life of Jesus - Public Ministry, Christmas holidays - Normal everyday life, etc etc. Fr Richard Ounsworth points out that "event, which we hear about in today's Gospel, was the beginning of Christ's active ministry in the world, and it culminates in the testimony of the Father to the identity of the Son. It is this identity that we celebrate during Christmas: the miraculous truth that Jesus Christ is the true Son of God, the image of the invisible God, Word-made-flesh and Splendour of the Father. He is the beloved Son with whom the Father is well pleased. In other words, the person of Jesus Christ is constituted by the perfect love of the Father for the Son." (Continue reading here)

On the show we look at how the Baptism presented problems for theologians from the point of view that Jesus, as God, did not require John's baptism for forgiveness of sins. We looked at the tradition of baptism in Judaism (i.e. that up until the time of John the Baptist, Jews saw baptism as a requirement only for proselytes converting to Judaism). We discussed how in presenting Himself for baptism, Jesus was giving us an example/model we could follow, showed His solidarity with humanity, prefigured Christian baptism (by the descent of the Holy Spirit sanctifying the waters of Baptism) and showed Himself to be a Law observing Jew. We reflected on the importance of our own Baptism and how sacrament coming from the Latin Sacramentum meaning oath, so that the Sacrament of Baptism is an oath of faithfulness to Christ. We ask ourselves and our listeners to ponder on how faithful we are to my own Baptismal promises.

Further reflections on today's gospel can be got here, here, and here.

Saints of the Week

January 11th - St Paulinus of Aquileia
January 12th - St Aelred of Rievaulx
January 13th - St Hiliary of Poitiers
January 14th - St Kentigern or Mungo
January 15th - St Ita (see links above)
January 16th - St Furnsey

Irish Catholic and EWTN

In the Irish Catholic we touched on the cover story re missionaries who lost their lives in witnessing to the Gospel in 2010, the story on the possible beatification of Pope John Paul in 2011, the feature on the state archives as well as upcoming programmes on EWTN

As always, thanks for listening and again Happy New Year to you all.

John, Lorraine, Michael and Shane

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