BY SCO Admin | June 10 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS     print icon print


Blessed are those who hungered

— Irish community celebrates annual Mass at Carfin Grotto and commemorates Great Hunger

Members of the Irish community from across Scotland gathered at Carfin Grotto on Sunday for the 11th Annual Irish Day Mass, which was celebrated by Bishop Joseph Devine of Motherwell.

Every year, on the first Sunday of June, the Irish community in Scotland gather

at Carfin to commemorate the Great Hunger.

The Scottish weather dictated that the Mass be celebrated indoors at St Francis Xavier’s Church but, following the Mass, the pilgrims assembled to pray the Rosary together at Carfin’s Mass Rock from County Down (above) in the Irish shrine which includes the national memorial raised in 2001.

The national memorial honours those who perished in the Great Hunger in Ireland in the mid-19th century, as well as those that survived and made a life for themselves and their offspring in Scotland.

Irish clergy

A number of priests from across the country, many of whom have their family roots in Ireland, joined Bishop Devine and the pilgrims for the celebration of Mass at St Francis Xavier’s on Sunday.

The bishop spoke in his homily of the important role of the Irish community in Scotland and how immigrants from the Great Famine extended the Catholic Church in Scotland in the 19th century.

In the years between the famine and the end of the 19th century, many Catholic churches were built and supported by members of the Irish community in Scotland and—as was pointed out by Bishop Devine as he spoke on Sunday—the construction of parish communities was not their only contribution at this stage, as the Irish immigrants played a key role in the industrial community.

Parish support

Among the many concelebrating priests at Sunday’s Irish Day Mass was Fr Eamonn Sweeney, parish priest at St Patrick’s Church, Coatbridge.

Fr Sweeney, originally from County Mayo, Ireland, has been in Scotland for 42 years and he spoke of the ongoing success of the annual Irish Day celebrations.

“Held on the first Sunday in June each year, the Irish Day Mass is now in its 11th year and I think the attendance is increasing each year,” Fr Sweeney said. “We are delighted to have the support of the bishop each year, who always makes himself available for our Mass.”


Pic: Paul McSherry

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