Feast of St Oliver Plunkett Reflection
This is a feast that has great resonance for Irish people for many reasons.
When we were young at primary school we always prayed every day for the canonization of Blessed Oliver Plunkett.
Then about 10 years ago I moved to this parish which is called after the saint who was the last person to die at Tyburn in London for their faith. He was executed on this day in 1681.
There is also a strong local connection as just about two miles from my home there is a spot where St Oliver Plunkett is said to have ordained as many at 14 men to the priesthood at one time.
These local connections with our saints give the Irish a great sense of continuity and belonging to the faith. We can still see and feel the places where the saints lived and worked. It gives us and the faith a deep connection with the people. It is part of who we are.
Although we are reasonably free to live our faith today, this was not always the case and indeed such times could return. But all of the story of Oliver Plunkett and the other martyrs of the Penal times when being a catholic priest and saying or attending Mass was a crime,lives on in our tradition and still helps us today to believe that the faith shall survive anything.
And in that feeling there is great security.