Page 11, 3rd February 1939

3rd February 1939
Page 11
Page 11, 3rd February 1939 — MASS IN THE CONDEMNED CELL

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Organisations: English mission
People: Dermot Smyth, Mass


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Through darkness we come to light. A terrible thing that happened recently brought with it extraordinary consolations. There was a murder, done in the temptation of easy money, in County Carlow. A man of unstrung nature was tried and sentenced to death. For weeks the trial, the appeal, the petition against capital punishment, were a national " sensation "; but the Government declined to reprieve the condemned man, and Dermot Smyth was hanged.

He made a remarkable end. He heard Mass in his cell. His guards received Holy Communion with him, and were in tears; but he, glad to accept the punishment of death, lent courage to them, and so he died.

This unhappy soul, making terrible amends, and dying so well was like a symbol of the strength and depth of our people's hold on the Faith. One remembered Canon Sheehan's account in " Luke Dehnege " of the young priest on the English mission who attended one of his countrymen on the scaffold, and how the condemned man said: " Bear up, Father; don't let them see you give way."

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