12 December - Feast of St Finian, Patron of Meath Diocese
Born in the sixth century, St Finian made his way to Clonard in County Meath were he established a school for Christian learning. It is recorded that no fewer than 3,000 pupils were educated at one time in Clonard. St Finian appears to have had a special gift for teaching, particularly in exposition of Sacred Scriptures. Many of his pupils became great teachers and established monastic schools throughout Ireland and Europe. The work of St Finian contributed in no small part to the reputation of Ireland as “the land of saints and scholars”. Click here for further details on the life and mission of St Finian.
Message of Bishop Smith for the Feast of St Finian
I spent this Feast Day in Drogheda and Mornington and I think St Finian would have appreciated the work in those parishes. I blest the new St Mary’s Parish Primary School in Drogheda. The school is an amalgamation of Fatima Girls National School and Congress Avenue Boys School. It is now the biggest primary school in Ireland, accommodating over 1,000 pupils on a seven acre site. Today’s ceremony is the culmination of many years of fundraising and hard work on the part of Fr Denis Nulty, the schools’ managements, staff, parents and St. Mary’s parish.
In Mornington parish, I turned the sod on the site of a new school at Donacarney. This project, which will provide new accommodation for the current boys and girls schools, is a significant commitment to the educational needs of the parish. I am very grateful to all involved in this good work.
Although St Finian lived over 1,400 years ago, his legacy and example teaches us some valuable lessons. The task of teaching Catholic faith faces every generation. The 193 Catholic primary schools in the Diocese of Meath play an important role in teaching faith. Today I pray, through the intercession of St Finian, for the staff and pupils in our schools that they may continue to instil faith and hope in the hearts of our young parishioners.
Prayer for the Feast of St Finian
By the work of your bishop Saint Finian, Lord
you formed a multitude of Saints
in the knowledge of the Gospel
and in the monastic life;
in our own day raise up, we pray, at his intercession,
saints to edify your people
by the vitality of their Christian lives.
We make this prayer through Christ our Lord, Amen.