Festival to honour feastday of St Oliver PlunkettSunday, July 1st, 2012
Bishop Gerard Clifford of Armagh will lead today's festival of St Oliver Plunkett in Co Louth to mark the Irish Saintís feast day.
He will be assisted by Mgr James Carroll of St Peterís Parish in Drogheda, while Fr Tony Mullins, diocesan administrator of the diocese of Limerick, has been chosen as this year's homilist at the 4:00pm Memorial Mass.
The 2012 procession, which culminates in the celebration of the festival Mass, will commemorate the 92nd anniversary of the beatification of St Oliver Plunkett by Pope Benedict XV on May 23 1920 and the 37th anniversary of his canonisation by Pope Paul VI on October 12 1975.
Each year thousands of pilgrims visit St Oliver Plunkettís shrine in St Peterís Church in Drogheda to venerate his relics and to learn about the Saint's life and to pray for the sick and troubled, family and friends. St Oliver was ordained a priest for the diocese of Meath in 1669. He died for his faith in a time of political, religious and social turmoil.
The former Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland was martyred in Tyburn in 1681. He was canonised by Pope Paul VI in 1975.
One of the features of Sunday's festival will be the colourful ĎProcession of the Relicsí which leaves Our Lady of Lourdes church at 3:00pm. It will be accompanied by the Drogheda Lourdes Brass Band, the Knights of Columbanus, members of other Orders and pilgrim groups.
The colour party will also be drawn from the local scouting troop and representatives of local Catholic organisations. The procession will carry the relics over 1.5km route between the two churches (Our Lady of Lourdes and St Peterís) in Drogheda.
The patron saints of the Archdiocese of Armagh are St Patrick, St Malachy and St Oliver Plunkett.
Each year celebrations of the life of St Oliver take place at his birthplace in the Diocese of Meath. This year's celebration was held in front of the old ruined Church at Loughcrew, Oldcastle, Co Meath, the birthplace of the Saint.
By Sarah Mac Donald