Cotinuous Worship at Ballintubber Abbey

continuous-worshipThe strongest tradition is that the Mass has been said in the Abbey without a break since the year of it’s foundation in 1216. We have often heard of the heroic struggle of the Irish people to keep the faith in spite of dungeons, fire and sword. Nothing emphasises this fact more for us than the story of Ballintubber Abbey. For 236 years the people were attending Mass in the unroofed Abbey exposed to the cold and the wind and the rain. This is not mere conjecture; the photographs of 1865 show the congregation kneeling on the grass covered ground. The priest has finished Mass; the vestments may be seen on the altar while the priest continues the instruction of the children. Though the Mass is over the people still continue to kneel, drinking in the word of God. In this modern age of heated air-conditioned churches it is good for us to meditate on what our forefathers endured to practice the faith which Patrick planted so deeply in Baile tobair Phádraig- the townland of the well of Patrick.