During his 18 years as Bishop of Kerry, Most Rev Dr William Murphy delivered very thoughtful homilies at Our Lady’s Grotto during the concelebrated Mass at the Ballyheigue Pattern, the feast day of the Nativity of St. Mary.
This year his successor as Bishop of Kerry, Most Rev Ray Browne, will launch the full collection in book form, at the end of the ceremonies at the Holy Well.
The book project was set in motion when copies of the homilies were presented to Fr. Tom Leane PP by Bishop Murphy as a series of meditations for all pilgrims. Bishop Murphy earned a doctorate in divinity at the Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome, in 1973. The Ballyheigue History and Heritage Group then took the homilies in hand and has guided the project to fruition so that it would become a tribute to everyone associated with the famous Pattern.
The Group engaged with EasyDesign of Causeway to perfect the presentation of the beautifully crafted medications on the position of Mary in the scheme of salvation. As a result, its Creative Director, Mr Philip Tindall, has designed a lovely book to capture the spirit of the compilation.
The Book of Homilies also contains a CD of newly commissioned music. Richard Casey composed three pieces of music on pivotal periods in the life of Mary. A Lullaby for the infant Jesus, a Lament on the death of her son on Calvary and Mary’s Love song in heaven for human race. Pat Donegan’s compositions deal with the history of life in a way that integrates Richard’s work into a universal perspective.
Two Ballyheigue priests contribute additional items to the book. While Fr Tom O’Connor pays tribute to Bishop Murphy Fr Paddy Godley recalls his memories of many past Patterns. A Kerryman Report of 16 September 1933 was discovered and was accessed with the assistance of Mr Michael Lynch, Archivist in the Local History Section of the Kerry County Library. This article is reproduced in the book as it shows that the First Pattern Mass, in modern times, at the Well was celebrated by Fr William Behan on the previous 8 September.
The Heritage Group wishes to thank all who helped with the project. Money from the sale of the book will be donated to the development of Gairdín Mhuire, the meditation garden attached to the Grotto. The book is a tribute to be treasured.