Longford Cathedral Destroyed by Fire

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Saint Mel's Cathedral of the Diocese of Ardagh and Clonmacnois burned to the ground last night. Carrick-on-Shannon and Drumshanbo (County Leitrim) where I was blessed to spend time again this past August with Father Dan Leary, are in the Diocese of Ardagh and Clonmacnois. Saint Mel's Cathedral was one of Ireland's finest churches.

The blaze began shortly after 5.a.m. Midnight Mass had been celebrated in the Cathedral by His Lordship, the Bishop of Ardagh and Clonmacnoise, Dr. Colm O'Reilly, who later said the Cathedral was burned out from end to end.

Construction on the Cathedral began in 1840. Hours before the beginning of the blaze, the Cathedral was filled with the faithful attending Midnight Mass. There are no indications as what caused the blaze.

The fire comes on top of severe weather conditions: floods and freezing. It compounds the moral sufferings of the Irish clergy and faithful, already grief-stricked and demoralized in the wake of the Murphy Report on the Archdiocese of Dublin.

Dear readers of Vultus Christi, join me in prayer for the Church in Ireland. She is being tested by fire. May her faith emerge shining like pure gold. Our Lady of Knock, Queen of Ireland, pray for us!


God works in mysterious ways, a sign perhaps of the endemic institutional abuse that has been carried on with the full knowledge of the Church Hierarchy?

If God were to start punishing all hidden sin by fires, there wouldn't be an intact building anywhere in the world. So, Mr. truthisfree of the hidden name, feel free not to pontificate self-righteously in your hidden way about the misfortunes of Longford.

"a sign perhaps of the endemic institutional abuse that has been carried on with the full knowledge of the Church Hierarchy?"

It might be a worthwhile exercise for people who are quick to cast the first stone to be sure they themselves aren't in need of mercy because, you see, none of us will receive mercy if we haven't given it first. Geez...there are few attitudes more juvenile than delight at someone else's downfall.

I am very sorry to hear the sad news about Longford Cathedral. It was one of the highlights of a visit to Ireland a few years ago. A beautiful church, and surely irreplaceable.

Please God Ireland will recover. Thank God we have Pope Benedict to guide us. Mary, Queen of Ireland pray for us.

Our Lady, Queen of Peace, intercede for us sinners and show us the way to be merciful. Amen

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About Dom Mark

Dom Mark Daniel Kirby is Conventual Prior of Silverstream Priory in Stamullen, County Meath, Ireland. The ecclesial mandate of his Benedictine community is the adoration of the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar in a spirit of reparation, and in intercession for the sanctification of priests.

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