Celebrating 1500 years of Brigid of Kildare

In recent years, St Bride’s has been reconnecting with its Celtic heritage. Last month we joined churches around the world to celebrate the 1500th anniversary of our matron saint, Brigid of Kildare.

The Rector, Alison, was invited to preach at a special ecumenical service at St Brigid’s Cathedral on Brigid’s Feast Day, 1st February. A new Bank Holiday in Ireland has recently been instituted to honour Brigid’s recognition as a national saint, alongside St Patrick.

The cathedral sits on the hilltop site where Brigid founded her monastery in 480 AD.

The service was co-led by Bishop Patricia Storey, Church of Ireland Bishop of Meath, and Kildare, and Bishop Denis Nulty, Roman Catholic Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin, and was attended by Government ministers, senior national and local politicians and community leaders.

Left to right: The Revd Canon Dr Alison Joyce, Bishop Pat Storey, Bishop Denis Nulty, Dean Isobel Jackson

In her sermon, Alison described Brigid as “truly a voice for our age” speaking of her care for the natural environment, her commitment to peace and reconciliation as well as her gift for hospitality. Brigid also earned the respect of all around her in a time when women had no legal status and few rights.

After the service, all had the chance to witness the extraordinary sight of 3000 local school students forming a “living” Brigid Cross.

The Brigid Cross is a traditional sign of blessing and a welcome to Spring which is usually made on the eve of her feast day and hung in homes and churches.

Alison returned from Kildare in time to preside at our Matronal Festival service. After the service the congregation tried their hand for the first time at making a more traditional version of the Brigid Cross out of straw. Like many skills, there were reports that it is easy when you know how!

Posted On: Tuesday 27th February, 2024

congregation sitting for service


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