By Sarah Mac Donald - 20 November, 2014
A special papal blessing granted by Pope Francis as part of the Jubilee Year of the Holy Name of Jesus will be given at a RTE radio Mass to be broadcast from the Poor Clare Monastery in Galway on Sunday.
Cardinal Mauro Piacenza, the Cardinal Penitentiary, informed the Irish Franciscans and the Poor Clares in Galway last January that the Pope had decreed that a plenary indulgence would be granted to the Irish faithful who participate in devotions honouring the Holy Name of Jesus over the course of 2014.
Pope Francis’s interest in the Irish year of devotion is believed to be linked to his special affinity with the Franciscan charism and his own devotion to the Holy Name of Jesus.
On election last March, he chose to include the monogram IHS in his papal crest.
In addition to the granting of a plenary indulgence, the Pope has also decreed that the celebrations will have the status of a jubilee year.
Speaking ahead of the radio Mass (23 November) Sr Paul, Mother Abbess of the Poor Clare Monastery in Galway said, “We were delighted when we heard of this. Pope Francis granted that a blessing would be given in his name. In effect, it is the same as if Pope Francis himself said the Mass and gave the blessing.”
“He has nominated our bishop to give this blessing and it is valid for those who tune into it over the radio. So, the Mass will be celebrated by Bishop Martin Drennan in our monastery, with the Sisters doing the singing. It will be broadcast by RTE Radio.”
“We are pleased to have this opportunity to have people share our Liturgy with us in a broader way than is normally possible, given that our chapel is small. The fact that it is also transmitted over the Internet means that even our friends abroad can join us on this special occasion.”
This blessing is unique, in that it can be given only once during the year and can only be given by Bishop Martin Drennan of Galway.
The special indulgence granted for the Year of the Holy Name of Jesus may also be gained under the usual conditions, by those who tune into the broadcast.
The Mass will be broadcast on RTE Radio 1 Extra (LW252) on Sunday 23 November 2014 (the Feast of Christ the King) at 11am.
A wave of devotion to the Holy Name of Jesus sprang up in Ireland in 1914 and many people identified their devotion by purchasing distinctive blue tiles bearing the monogram IHS or YHS and placed them above the entrance door to their homes.
Examples of the devotional tiles have been found all over Galway, Limerick, Ennis, Cork and beyond.
The custom of placing an IHS monogrammed tiled over the door of houses was popularised by St Bernardine of Siena in the 15th century. He introduced this custom as a means of encouraging people to practice Christian charity and to be peacemakers.
It was also a way of invoking God’s protection upon the house-dwellers.
The 2014 Year of the Holy Name of Jesus, to which Pope Francis has given his personal support, was initiated by the Irish Franciscans in conjunction with the Poor Clares.
“The Holy Name tiles are a subject of interest not only from a religious point of view, but also from the perspective of local heritage and social history, ” Franciscan Fr Francis Cotter, co-ordinator of the Centenary Year, explained.