|Saturday - 02 August 2014||Ard Easmuinn, Dundalk, Co. Louth, Ireland|
|Saint Oliver Plunkett's Shrine|
The Shine of Ballybarrack is very important in the
St. Oliver Plunkett - Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of all Ireland, born at Loughcrew near Oldcastle, County Meath, Ireland, 1629; died 11 July, 1681.
The requested URL /c/counter.php was not found on this server.families which had just then been ennobled, the Earls of Roscommon and Fingall, as well as with Lords Louth and Dunsany. Till his sixteenth year, his education was attended to by Patrick Plunket, Abbot of St. Mary's, Dublin, brother of the first Earl of Fingall, afterwards bishop, successively, of Ardagh and Meath. He witnessed the first triumphs of the Irish Confederates, and, as an aspirant to the priesthood, set out for Rome in 1645, under the care of Father Scarampi, of the Roman Oratory. As a student of the Irish College of Rome, which some twenty years before had been founded by Cardinal Ludovisi, his record was particularly brilliant. The Rector, in after years, attested that he "devoted himself with such ardour to philosophy, theology, and mathematics, that in the Roman College of the Society of Jesus he was justly ranked amongst the foremost in talent, diligence, and progress in his studies, and he pursued with abundant fruit the course of civil and canon law at the Roman Sapienza, and everywhere, at all times, was a model of gentleness, integrity, and piety". Promoted to the priesthood in 1654, Dr. Plunket was deputed by the
Additionally, a 404 Not Found Irish bishops to act as their representative in Rome. Throughout the period of the Cromwellian usurpation and the first years of Charles II's reign he most effectually pleaded the cause of the suffering Church, whilst at the same time he discharged the duties of theological professor at the College of Propaganda.
On 9 July, 1669, he was appointed to the primatial see of Armagh, and was consecrated, 30 Nov., at Ghent, in Belgium, by the Bishop of Ghent, assisted by the Bishop of Ferns and another bishop. The pallium was granted him in Consistory 28 July, 1670.
In the middle of March, 1670, he entered his apostolate in Armagh. From the very outset he was most zealous in the exercise of the sacred ministry. Within three months he had administered the Sacrament of Confirmation to about 10,000 of the faithful, some of them being sixty years old, and, writing to Rome in December, 1673, he was able to announce that "during the error was encountered while trying to use an ErrorDocument to handle the request.past four years", he had confirmed no fewer that 48,655 people. To bring this sacrament within the reach of the suffering faithful he had to undergo the severest hardships, often with no other food than a little oaten bread; he had to seek out their abodes on the mountains and in the woods, and as a rule, it was under the broad canopy of heaven that the Sacrament was administered, both flock and pastor being exposed to the wind and rain. He made extraordinary efforts to bring the blessings of education within the reach of the Catholic youth. In effecting this during the short interval of peace that marked the beginning of his episcopate his efforts were most successful. He often refers in his letters to the high school which he opened at Drogheda, at this time the second city in the kingdom. He invited Jesuit Fathers from Rome to take charge of it, and very soon it had one hundred and fifty boys on the roll, of whom no fewer than forty were sons of the Protestant gentry.
He held frequent ordinations - many at Ballybarrack, outside Dundalk, celebrated two Provincial Synods, and was untiring in rooting out abuses and promoting piety. because of this great history, Mass, in honour of St. Oliver Plunkett is held annually at the shrine on the 2nd Sunday of July, at 7.30pm. All are welcome to attend.
province of Ulster, most of whom had been despoiled of their property under the Act of Settlement. They banded themselves together in the shelter of the mountain fastnesses and, as outlaws, lived by the plunder of those around them. Anyone who sheltered them incurred the penalty of death from the Government, anyone who refused them such shelter met with death at their hands. Dr. Plunket, with the sanction of the Lord Lieutenant, went in search of them, not without great risk, and reasoning with them in a kind and paternal manner induced them to renounce their career of plundering. He moreover obtained pardons for them so that they were ble to transfer themselves to other countries, and thus peace was restored throughout the whole province. The contemporary Archbishop of Cashel, Dr. Brennan, who was the constant companion of Dr. Plunket, in a few words sketches the fruitful zeal of the primate: "During the twelve years of his residence here he proved himself vigilant, zealous, and indefatigable, nor do we find, within the memory of those of the present century, that any primate or metropolitan visited his diocese and province with such solicitude and pastoral zeal as he did, - benefitting, as far as was in his power, the needy; wherefore he was applauded and honoured by both clergy and people".
On Friday, 11 July (old style the 1st), 1681, Dr. Plunket, surrounded by a numerous guard of military, was led to Tyburn for execution. Vast crowds assembled along the route and at Tyburn. As Dr. Brennan, Archbishop of Cashel, in an official letter to Propaganda, attests, all were edified and filled with admiration, "because he displayed such a serenity of countenance, such a tranquillity of mind and elevation of soul, that he seemed rather a spouse hastening to the nuptial feast, than a culprit led forth to the scaffold". From the scaffold he delivered a discourse worthy of an apostle and martyr. An eye-witness of the execution declared that by his discourse and by his heroism in death he gave more glory to religion than he could have won for it by many years of a fruitful apostolate. His remains were gathered with loving care and interred apart in St. Giles' churchyard. In the first months of 1684 they were transferred to the Benedictine monastery at Lambspring in Germany, whence after 200 years they were with due veneration translated and enshrined in St. Gregory's College, Downside, England. The head, in excellent preservation, was from the first enshrined apart, and since 1722 has been in the care of the Dominican Nuns at their Siena Convent at Drogheda, Ireland. In 1921 it was moved to it's present location of St. Peter's Church, West Street, Drogheda.
Pilgrims come from all parts of Ireland and from distant countries to venerate this relic of the glorious martyr, and many miracles are recorded.
The name of Archbishop Plunket appears on the list of the 264 heroic servants of God who shed their blood for the Catholic Faith in England in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, which was officially submitted for approval to the Holy See, and for which the Decree was signed by Leo XIII 9 Dec., 1886, authorizing their Cause of Beatification to be submitted to the Congregation of Rites. The Blessed Oliver Plunket's martyrdom closed the long series of deaths for the faith, at Tyburn. The very next day after his execution, the bubble of conspiracy burst. Lord Shaftesbury, the chief instigator of the persecution, was consigned to the Tower, and his chief perjured witness Titus Oates was thrown into gaol. For a few years the blessings of comparative peace were restored to the Church of Ireland.