Thursday, July 2, 2009
OLIVER PLUNKETT; A MODEL FOR CLERGY
I know the Holy Father is holding up St. John Vianney as a model for priests in this Year of the Priesthood. St. John was a member of the Franciscan Third Order and tried to join the Capuchins a number of times but was always sent back to his vocation: parish priest. There are many other saints who might also be held up as examples for imitation but for Ireland there can hardly be a better one than St. Oliver Plunkett (feast day July 1). He courageously and obediently returned from Rome to a country and a Church in chaos and turmoil. He had six dioceses in his care! He held a council and worked to support his few clergy and keep the faith alive. Betrayed by some of his own people he was taken to England for trial and despite his innocence (he wasn't even allowed to bring witnessed from Ireland) he was found guilty and hung, drawn and quartered. If I may be a little biased here but as someone once said such is British justice 'innocent until proven Irish' or in this case 'Irish Catholic'. He face death calmly and full of faith. He gave himself totally for his people.
The icon above is by Maria Gnikala who lives and works in Cavan.