Monday, July 9, 2007 - 150 years since the arrival of Saint Charles in Mount Argus.

Writing to his uncle in Holland in 1858 Saint Charles wrote :-

"I received your letter here in Ireland on 22nd March; I came to Dublin, the capital of Ireland on 9th July, 1857." With these few words he announced his arrival in Ireland. Saint Charles went on to describe his work in Ireland :-

"The people here speak English. Our congregation has only one house in Ireland;(Mount Argus) here we have five Passionist priests and five lay-brothers. In spite of the large number of Catholics in Ireland, there are very few priests and I have to say two Masses every Sunday. We have to hear confessions from morning till night nearly every day. If we had twelve priests here, they would all be kept busy preaching and hearing confessions. Much good can be done here in the Lord's vineyard. As you know, Ireland is a Catholic country, its population being about eight million. For more than three hundred years the Irish have been cruelly persecuted but have remained loyal to the Catholic faith in spite of everything."

On July 9, 2007, Mount Argus celebrated the 150th Anniversary of the arrival of Saint Charles in Dublin. To join in the celebrations a delegation came to Mount Argus from Munstergeleen, the birthplace of Saint Charles, following in the footsteps of the Saint. The group were led by Mgr. F.J.W. Wiertz, Bishop of Roemond, Fr. Harrie Broers P.P. of Munstergeleen, and Fr. Leo Bos C.P. Passionist Provincial in Holland. Present also was Fr. Giljam Coumans from the Diocese of Roemond, the Dutch Passionist Fr Michael Herm and from England Fr. Frances Finnegan, Passionist. Among the visitors pride of place was given to Mr. J.H.A. Dormans and his wife. The healing of Mr. Dormans was the approved miracle that led to the canonisation of Saint Charles.

At 7.30 that Monday night a large congregation attended a Celebration Mass to mark the occasion. Present in the congregation was Joseph Prendergast from Liverpool. In 1977, at 17 years of age, Joseph lay unconscious after a motorcycle accident. His family prayed to 'Father Charles', placing a relic under his pillow. Joseph recovered and his family considered it a 'miracle' attributed to 'Father Charles'. The documentation was sent to Rome and considered at the same time as that of Mrs. Verheggen. Mrs. Verheggen's recovery was declared miraculous and sufficient for the Beatification of 'Father Charles'.

The Concelebrated Mass was led by Bishop Fiachra O'Ceallaigh, D.D., Auxiliary Bishop of Dublin. The sermon was preached by Mgr. Frans Wiertz, Bishop of Roemond.

At the end of the Mass a simple meaningful ceremony took place. Representing the Passionists in the 'home' province Fr. Martin Coffey, Provincial, Fr. Leo Bos, Provincial representing the Passionists in Holland, Fr. Frank Keevins, representing the parish of Mount Argus and Fr. Harrie Broers representing the parish of Munstergeleen processed to the Shrine and Tomb of Saint Charles and led the congregation in prayer for the Passionists and people of both countries.