When Joy sent me a list of my intended ‘ministries’ last summer, undoubtedly the one I was most excited for was the Celebration of St Brigid. Brigid is my confirmation saint, she is the patron of this program and all of Ireland. She is a pretty incredible woman, and it was a honor to spend months preparing for last Sunday’s service in celebration of her.
Years ago, the feast of St. Brigid was celebrated with a small service in a living room, with a handful of people. Over the years it has expanded enormously, first moving to the Day Chapel and finally to the main church here in Clonard. On Sunday we had close to 400 people in attendance. And the most striking thing about this collection of people? Most of them were not from Clonard. Sr Mary and I spent a great deal of time in the car a few weeks ago, traveling to any and all parishes within driving distance of Clonard. We hung colorful posters advertising for our service in any church with unlocked doors, and it showed. Clonard was nearly full by 7pm on the first of February as people from all over the diocese gathered in honor of St. Brigid.
I was honestly nervous as we waited for the final minutes to tick by before the lights would dim and the celebration would begin. I had the final script in my hand, with each powerpoint slide change highlighted, and I was counting volunteers again, making doubly sure everyone was present and ready to perform their part. Then I thought about each of them individually, and how each reader that evening probably wasn’t nervous, because their part was so small (just a paragraph each). I thought about the ones who would be bringing forward the water, and the milk and honey to place in our elaborate sacred space display. They probably weren’t nervous either. And I realized that the weight of this marvelous evening was evenly spaced upon the shoulders of many. Dozens of people helped prepare the altar, make the 400+ Brigid crosses out of rushes, bottle the holy water drawn from Brigid’s well in Terrarath, and organize the musicians (thank you, Stasia!). The effort of so many people working behind the scenes went into making the evening a success. And so I shook off my nerves and trusted that all would be well. And I told myself something we often tell the children here: if things go wrong, or you mess up, or the music doesn’t sound as pretty as you want it to, well that is just the way God wanted to hear it that day.
So a million thanks to all who were a part of the Celebration of St. Brigid on Sunday.
And may St. Brigid’s blessing be with you all!
Especially with our friends in the States as the hope of spring tries to push through the feet snow!