THE ordination of the new Archbishop of Tuam, Dr. Joseph Cunnane, opens the way for decisive developments in the Irish Church. Dr. Cunnane's special interest is in pastoral and liturgical matters. He comes direct from parish work in Clifden as a curate. He believes that the parish and the liturgy must be given a new look.
It is generally recognised that the outstanding talent of the Irish Catholic clergy in modern times has been pastoral. The trouble is that, in terms of the Church before Vatican IT, this pastoral skill worked almost too well. The obvious success of their welltried pastoral methods have made the clergy slow to respond to the calls for change which have resounded since the Council.
What we have been waiting for is a bishop who inherits this pastoral dedication and skill, while at the same time believing that community must
be rebuilt through an imaginative reformation of liturgy. It would seem that Dr. Cunnanc is such a bishop.
His spirit of developing innovation from tradition is well exemplified in an article which he wrote for the Furrow last October. Entitled "The Neighbourhood Mass," most of it dealt with the "station" Masses which are customary in many parts of the countryside.
A "station" Mass is a Mass, usually preceded by confessions, which takes place in a private house. The house is chosen according to a rotation system, and a "station" is generally held twice yearly in each district of the parish. The neighbours attend and it is a great occasion.
In the latter part of his article, Dr. Cunnane dealt with how the essential features of this traditional practice might be adapted in many new ways. He wrote: "In the conditions of today one might think of a neighbourhood Mass based on groups of people rather than localities."
He went on: "The school
Mass, for example, at the beginning of term: why not involve pupils, staff and parents in some form of celebration which will bring home to each in a vivid way what the role of school and home is in building up a Christian community?
"Our religious communities: could their annual feast-day not be made something more significant than the wearing of some extra frills on the Mass vestments?
"Factory workers: how to celebrate the feast of St. Joseph the Worker in a more meaningful way for them? Parents' associations, professional groups. hospital staffs, engaged couples, young married couples—one could go on almost indefinitely."
Concluding, he wrote of calling on "all the resources of song and symbol, reading and prayer, and of course cornmentary and homily."
Celebrating St. Patrick
TN recent years it has become come fashionable in Dublin to speak patronisingly and disapprovingly of the St. Patrick's Day parade in New York. This comes strangely from a people who have hitherto been at a loss as to how to celebrate their national feastday.
Breandan 0 hEithir, speaking on radio about St. Patrick's Day in his youth in that most Irish of places, the Aran Islands, said that after morning Mass "nothing happened." People walked around and talked about the weather.
In Dublin, the St. Patrick's Day parade is still rather problematic than otherwise. It lacks tradition and those in charge of it seem to spend their time racking their brains as to how to make a go of it.
In recent years it has become a mixture of basic commercial advertising with elements taken from German and Nice carnivals and from the New York parade. This year's parade marked the acme hitherto of New York influence. The absolute highlights were Mrs. Eunice Shrivcr and her children, an American high school band and American majorettes
The simplest solution would be to take over the New York pattern complete. For the St. Patrick's Day parade in that city is still by far the best public celebration which Ireland's saint gets—and one of the major pieces of spontaneous pageantry in the Western world. Above all, it is quite certain that Dubliners would enjoy it, as they enjoyed the taste of it which they got this year.
T SEE that Scepter of Dublin A are to bring out a book next month on the recent "gentle revolution" among students at U.C.D. That is certainly making the most of an opportunity.
The general university issues which the group of writers will discuss will be more interesting than any account of the "March days" themselves. For the greatest achievement of those agitated days was not anything they produced. but the admirable self-control which the students exercised.