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Kildare and Leighlin welcomes gift of Papal Cross

By Ann Marie Foley - 11 April, 2019

The World Meeting of Families (WMOF) Processional Cross will be welcomed to its new home at the Chrism Mass at Carlow Cathedral next Monday (15 April). Really it will be a return home for the colourful enamel cross, which was created by local artist Anne Murphy from Eala Enamels for the Papal Mass in the Phoenix Park. She will be in Carlow Cathedral to take the cross that she designed to the altar in the entrance procession.

Describing the Chrism Mass as the “biggest gathering we have liturgically every year”, Bishop Denis Nulty invited parishioners from all parishes across the Diocese of Kildare and Leighlin to attend.

“This year is particularly special,” he said. “Because this beautiful processional cross will be introduced to the diocese as a gift from the World Meeting of Families. The processional cross is designed by Anne Murphy of Bagenalstown from our Diocese and Anne will be here to carry the cross in procession.”

He stated that the handmade work is a “wonderful gift” for the diocese, describing how it incorporates many of the symbols of Holy Week and the story of Christ. There is the cock that crowed three times denouncing Peter, a hammer and nails, clothes of Jesus, and the spear and dice.

A penal cross from 1763 inspired the design by Anne Murphy from Eala Enamels in Carlow. Fr Damian McNeice, WMOF, explained that when preparing for the WMOF they wanted to incorporate something “distinctively Irish” into the Mass.

“We were drawn very much to this penal cross – an object which is full of history and faith. It comes from the year 1763 in the middle of the time of the persecution of the faith that happened here on our island,” he said.

Anne Murphy included elements of that cross in the one she designed. She is no stranger to church art and has created 12 enamelled plaques depicting saints for Castlegregory School, Co. Kerry and the Monasterboice crucifixion, inspired by a High Cross at Monasterboice, Co. Louth.

She has created Stations of the Cross for many churches in Ireland and Northern Ireland as well as the St Francis de la Salle church in New Jersey, US. Her work also includes tabernacles, sanctuary lamps, ambos and Paschal candles.

Christian iconography, heritage and the natural world have influenced her work. She has created enamelled pictures of birds, flowers, animals, symbols and religious images. Her unique pieces have been bought and presented as gifts to presidents, bishops and ordinary people worldwide. In 1981 she purchased a property near Bagenalstown, Co. Carlow, and that was to become her home and workshop.

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