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St Ita of Killeedy
St Ita also known as the Brigid of Munster is associated with the parish of Killeedy 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. We discuss how she is a role model and especially how she is a role model for women and what she would say to us in Limerick today. We discuss her links with Killeedy, her fostering of various Irish saints and her link with St. Brendan the Navigator. 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."
Bishop Brendan Leahy will join parish priest Fr John Keating and the people of Killeedy on Wednesday January 15th in celebrating the feast of St Ita- patroness of the Diocese. In the tradition and spirit of St Ita the people of Killeedy make January 15th a day of prayer and celebration. Raheenagh Church will be full to capacity for concelebrated Mass at 11am. Afterwards people will "pay the rounds" at St Ita's Shrine. Mass will be celebrated in Ashford Church at 7.30pm.
Legend has it that Ita had a little cell built for herself away from the convent (probably made of thatch and wattle) and there she would spend some hours each day in quiet prayer. In keeping with this practice there will be 24 hour Eucharistic Adoration in Raheenagh Church commencing after 10am Mass on Tuesday 14th Jan.
You can listen to Michael Keating's 2014 reflection on St Ita HERE.
You can read the 2013 post on St Ita including a discussion between Fr Michael Liston and Michael Keating HERE and previous posts including the readings and other information HERE.
Gospel - Matthew 3:3-13
"Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to John, to be baptized by him. John would have prevented him, saying, "I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?" But Jesus answered him, "Let it be so now; for thus it is fitting for us to fulfil all righteousness." Then he consented. And when Jesus was baptized, he went up immediately from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and alighting on him; and lo, a voice from heaven, saying, "This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased."
It was a voice out of nowhere.
It was a voice from everywhere.
It was the voice of love.
It was the voice from above.
“You are my beloved,” came the words;
“You are my beloved,” was what they heard.
“You are my Son;”
“You are the One.”
The words were spoken at the river
By One, who of all life, is the giver.
The words were spoken to identify Jesus;
The words were spoken that God might touch us.
Down through the centuries of life,
Through war and pestilence and strife,
The faithful lose all fear,
When “You are my beloved” is what they hear.
The words are meant for all;
The words are God’s call.
“I love you without reserve.”
“I love you more than you deserve.”
And then there comes a time in each soul
When we embrace our God and commit our whole.
We say we will follow Jesus’ way
And in his path we will stay.
But sometimes we forget that we are the beloved.
Sometimes we fail to seek the way of love.
Sometimes we think that on our own we can win.
Often we must repent of our life of sin.
And again we pledge our hearts and vow
That we want to make a difference now.
We hear the challenge to reach out –
We look beyond our walls and that’s what Christianity is about.
We remember that Jesus would not be in our midst.
He would be among the people whom we try to miss.
He would walk with the homeless, sit with the sick –
The poorest of the poor would be his pick.
When we do likewise, our soul is eased
And God says of us, “With you I am well pleased.”
And in the squalor of our sinful life, God continues to love
And speaks to the people of the ages that we, too, are the beloved.
- Rev. Terry Heck, Bellbrook UMC, Bellbrook, OH.
You can listen to this weeks reflection on Baptism excerpted from the programme HERE where we reflect on the 'giftedness' of baptism and how those who are baptised now belong to Christ. As Pope Francis reminded us during the week baptism is no just a formality. "It is an act that touches the depths of our existence. A baptized child and an unbaptized child are not the same. A person who is baptized and a person who is not baptized are not the same. We, by Baptism, are immersed in that inexhaustible source of life which is the death of Jesus, the greatest act of love in all of history; and thanks to this love we can live a new life, no longer at the mercy of evil, of sin and of death, but in communion with God and with our brothers and sisters".
Pope Francis during his weekly General Audience has begun a series on the sacraments and this week he spoke about baptism, you can read/listen to it HERE.
Reflections on this weeks gospel:
Word on Fire - Priest, Prophet, and King : The Baptism of the Lord
Blue Eyed Ennis
Centre for Liturgy
UPDATE: Digital Nun blogging at iBenedictines on the Baptism of the Lord
Our previous posts on this feast day HERE and HERE.
Liturgical odds and ends
Liturgy of the Hours - 1st Week in Ordinary time, Psalter Week 1
Saints of the Week
13th January - St Hilary
14th January - St Sava of Serbia
15th January - St Ita of Killeedy; co-patron of the diocese of Limerick
16th January - St Fursa (abbott and missionary)
17th January - St Anthony (abbot)
18th January - St Ulfrid of Sweden Beginning of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity