Eucharist at St. Brigid's Well
Twenty-five years of Féile Bríde festival came to a close with the celebration of Eucharist at St Brigid’s Garden Well. Celebrant Fr Adrian Carbery, paid special tribute to Brigidines, thanking them for their presence, hospitality and keeping the ‘flame of Brigid’ alive, not only in Kildare but far beyond.
Among the pilgrims at the Well for Mass were family of Sister Alacoque Miller, a pioneering Brigidine to Australia.
Féile Bríde began with the pilgrimage on the eve of Brigid’s day, as some 400 people gathered round the fire before setting out to walk the pilgrim route to St Brigid’s Garden Wells; praying, singing, chanting, led by Deirdre Ní Chinneide.
Martine (Cairde Bhríde) wove the St Brigid’s cross as she turned to the four corners of the Earth - East, South, West and North - to include all humanity and all creation in the weaving. Lifted high, the cross and Brigid’s light led the pilgrims with lights and lanterns.
The Annual Celtic Heritage Lecture on Brigid was hosted at Kildare Education Centre. Dominic McEvoy, director, welcomed Maírín Ní Dhonnchadha Professor of Old and Middle Irish and Celtic Philology, NUI Galway. Maírín’s scholarly lecture confirmed Brigid - and her women companions – with power to ‘turn back the streams of war.’
Luka Bloom in Concert
Throughout the week, many interesting activities were woven into the programme: including Luka Bloom concert ‘Let your Light shine,’’ a monastic tour of Kildare, Floral art depicting the life of Solas Bhríde, poetry- readings, writers group, sacred dance, and weaving Brigid’s cross.
Afri CONFERENCE Saturday, 4th February:
Joe Murray (Coordinator of Afri) and Sister Rita Minehan introduced the conference theme ‘Darkness to Light’ and welcomed distinguished speakers to the 25th Afri Justice and Peace conference, begun when Sister Mary Teresa Cullen lit the flame in 1993 at the first Feile Bríde.
Dr Alastair McIntosh, PhD, writer, speaker, broadcaster, activist, on the theme ‘Turn back the Streams of War’ stressed the importance of learning the meaning and power of non-violence and to have a deep commitment to it. He praised the leadership of Pope Francis for his Nonviolence: a Style of Politics for Peace, written in 2017 for the 50th World Day of Peace.
Kathy Kelly on ‘Other lands have dreams too’ said, quoting author Arundhati Roy, "Another world is not only possible, it is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing." Cathy is a USA peace activist, author and founding member of Voices for Creative Nonviolence (www.vcnv.org). Cathy’s spoke of the ‘killing machine’ of the US, where troops are replaced by drones. The challenge to all is to experience the suffering and allow it to turn faith into action.
Joe Murray (Coordinator of Afri) concluded the conference by thanking all present for support. Special thanks to Solas Bhríde Centre, Cairde Bhríde and organisers of events, set-up, hospitality, catering. And to sponsors of the conference, including the Missionary Society of Saint Patrick (Kiltegan).
The day ended with traditional Celtic music.
Report by Patricia Mulhall, csb