St. Barnabas Church to host Irish language mass Saturday

Hands folded in prayer in church with rosary beads and religious cross
Photo Getty Images

The Ancient Order of Hibernians (AOH) will join with Gaelic Societies, Irish community groups and parishioners in the strongly Irish Woodlawn-McLean area to host an Irish language Mass on Saturday, Oct. 2, at 2:30 p.m. Rev. Brendan Fitzgerald, will celebrate the Mass in Gaelic, followed by a brief installation ceremony for newly elected Bronx County officers.

Last year, under AOH National President Danny O’Connell, the Bronx AOH Irish language mass became a national AOH event viewed by Hibernians across the U.S. and in Ireland via the St. Barnabas Facebook and AOH youtube. More than 7,000 people viewed the mass, many of them seeing a Gaelic mass for the first time.

Irish-English translations of the liturgy will be made available so that anyone can read the prayers in English as they hear the mass said in Irish. A special musical program will be provided by the Dawn Doherty Academy of Irish music and Sean Ruane.

Each year, the Bronx County Irish Language Mass at St. Barnabas is dedicated to all those who have kept the Irish language and culture alive. To symbolize this theme, the AOH flyer depicts a Mass Rock where Gaelic speakers gathered in secret to hear outlawed masses said by outlawed priests in defiance of English penal laws.

“The Irish language is an important and indestructible part of our Irish heritage,” said Bronx County AOH President Martin Galvin. “Measures to wipe out the Irish language began even before penal laws to wipe out the Catholic religion in Ireland. Ireland’s cherished landmarks include Mass Rocks, where Gaelic speakers risked death or imprisonment simply to worship. Even today a simple Irish language Act is still denied to six county nationalists.”

This year the Irish Mass will include a special remembrance of the 10 Irishmen who sacrificed their lives in the Hunger Strike which ended forty years ago on Oct. 3, 1981. It is especially appropriate to remember that part of their legacy was the rebirth of the Irish language which these men inspired.

The mass will be held in the main church on Martha Avenue near East 241st Street, followed by a brief installation ceremony of Bronx County officers, with New York State President John Manning presiding.

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