Important weekend as Camillians and Cathedral welcome VIP visitor from Vatican
The Camillian Fathers in Killucan have a visitor coming from the Vatican this weekend to participate in their ceremonies to mark the fourth centenary of the death of their founder, St Camillus.
Joining the Camillian Fathers will be His Eminence, Cardinal Joao Braz de Aviz, who is head of the Congregation of Religious worldwide.
While other cardinals have been in Killucan in the past including Cardinal Basil Hume, is believed Cardinal Braz de Aviz will be the first cardinal to pay a formal visit to the Camillians in their 85-year history at Killucan.
Cardinal Braz de Aviz is arriving in Ireland on Friday, and on Saturday evening, he will be chief celebrant at the 6pm vigil Mass at the Cathedral in Mullingar, while on Sunday, he will be chief celebrant at a special Mass marking the Feast of St Camillus at the St Camillus Church in Killucan.
While Sunday may represent the 'headline’ ceremony, the Camillians are holding five days of ceremonies at Killucan, beginning on Thursday.
From Thursday to Saturday, beginning each day at 6pm, there will be veneration of the relics of St Camillus, confessions, prayers for the sick (6.15pm), and Mass at 7pm, featuring invited preachers.
On the Feast of St Camillus, there is Mass at 11.30pm, and joining Cardinal Braz de Aziz on the altar will be Most Rev Dr Michael Smith, Bishop of Meath.
The final day of ceremonies, Monday July 14, will see holy hour, a candlelit procession and Mass take place, starting at 10pm, and running until around 2am on Tuesday.
To mark the 400th anniversary of the death of St Camillus, the order has had a new logo designed, featuring clasped hands around the order’s signature red cross.
“That goes back to one of St Camillus’s sayings: 'Put heart in your hands, brothers!’,” explains Fr Frank Monks, superior of the order at Killucan, adding that the order, always engaged in the care of the sick, had been using a red cross for 200 years before the organisation of that name was founded.
The Camillian Fathers have two other houses in Ireland besides Killucan, and in the early days in this area, the Fathers performed the role now undertaken by public health nurses – travelling around to the sick on bicycles.
“It’s 'the residue’ of that which keeps us popular figures in the area,” believes Fr Monks.
These days, there are 57 residents at the nursing home run by the Camillians at Killucan, which means it is at full capacity, good news for an organisation which runs on a break-even basis.
The religious community numbers eight, who are aged from 35 to 89, and all, thankfully, in good health.
Another project being undertaken by the community as part of the commemoration of the death of St Camillus, is the creation of a 'peace garden’ for residents, which will, when finished, include some artworks and a quiet space.
Anyone unable to participate in any of this weekend’s ceremonies can, of course, watch them online via the Camillians’ webcam, at orderofstcamillus.ie/camera-to-our-church.