Newspaper Article of Opening of St Patrick’s Cathedral 1921
(From Our Correspondent.)
Our First Friday devotion in honour of the Most Sacred Heart was just lovely in the new church. People did not seem to know where to go. They see new pews instead of the low forms which they had (some of them anyhow) been reprobating for the past quarter of a century. They felt of seemed to feel that they were in a real House of God – Himself residing there. They saw Stations of the Cross, statues, altars, everything almost, which becometh the House of God. And we, the people, got a good lecture on how to behave in the new Home of the Almighty. Talking, gawking, and disfiguring things were among the things we should not do. It is so hard truly. We used to talk and gawk, and we were able to see everybody enter and leave, and were we not able to scan every face, nun and lay person? Now all these things are changed, and reverence and solemn demeanour and proper genuflection are required and expected – quite right, too. The children, too, can’t make it out. Naturally disobedient, pricking and pinching as they used to do. Firing paper bullets, sending loaded pens to the ceiling, dodging the zealous Sister under the desks, making life generally as like as they could to recreation, of course, I mean as far as they could. Everything is so strange to these young people. But, my goodness, it is a grand change for the better, though it will take time to bring these same children to the ordinary. Really you never, or scarcely ever, see a pair of child’s hand joined together in the church. ‘Tis the irreverent life of the school perpetuated in the new surroundings. I suppose all things will come right in time.
Another apparent difficulty which was foreseen and anxiously discussed was how to keep the church and the altar and all things appertaining to each or both. But it’s quite a surprising thing to see many people have decorated the altar before, and how many knew how to lay out the vestments and so forth, and thus this trouble is wiped out before it had time to show itself.
Then, on Sunday night, the first of the month, we have been having a Procession of Reparation to Jesus in His Life in the Blessed Sacrament. People said what about the little angels and the singing and the flowering of the path before the Lord of the Altar? Well, we had our first procession. A vast crowd of people was present, the little “angels” were there: their flowers and baskets as sweet as ever, and good ladies kept them in order, and the whole ceremony was ever so sweet. Messrs. Buckley, Boor. Shanahan, and Dr. Flynn carried the canopy. It would seem that when things are done honestly for God, He finds the means, the men and women, the money-the everything useful or necessary to bring glory to His Name. We hear that often enough, too-so that I need not labour it.
Mrs. Smyth, Mrs. Barnard, and old Mr. Shanahan could not, owing to illness, come to the ceremony. By a contraption somewhat like a miracle, Mrs. Veale got there-though she had been ill for seven or eight weeks immediately before. She was longing to be present, and god found the means of locomotion. Her case reminds one or the prophetess Anna in a limited way. She longed ever so much to see the shrine erected to Our Lord, and she has seen it, and indeed may see it many times again. I hope she does, too.
There were a few minor accidents on Sunday night. One fell, and then another tripped, over some debris, and then another made an unexpected foot drop and so forth. They fell softly and cautiously, and, thank the Lord, they are all about and smiling the while.
On Sunday morning the Archdeacon preached on the Epistle at early Mass, dwelling especially on the lessons inculcated by St. Paul, of purity of faith, and practice-fearless and uncompromising; unity in common prayer, and unity or friendliness towards one another. At the second Mass he preached on the Gospel, giving us the message of St. John the Baptist, and explaining the preparation for Christmas expected from us during Advent. At evening devotions he continued his lectures on the “Forgiveness of Sin” the tenth article of the Apostles’ Creed.