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THE STATION
(7-4-1981)

Whitewashed walls
welcomed
the misty March morning..
while fresh paint
and daffodils
were lost
in the crowded kitchen.
"Pobal Dé"
an maidin sin
i láthair.
Neighbours
knew the silence
after sin was total
until the bread of God
was swallowed
in the breakfast babble.
~~~~~~~


"THE STATIONS - a brief history

"The station" is a relic of Penal Times, when Mass was not celebrated in public but in some private house and very often in a barn or even under open air. Mass Rocks commemorate these open-air places of worship today and we have our own Mass Rock on the South Lake Road.
Even when the Penal Laws were relaxed and Catholicism emerged into the open after 1830, the custom of saying Mass in private houses continued for various reasons. In many rural areas, isolation was the key problem and there was also the very practical problem that few Churches were available for worship in the years immediately after Emancipation.
Rev. J.Cunnane's writing in The Furrow in 1968 remarks that:" The reason for preserving the custom of "the stations"was that when the Irish Church emerged from persecution at the beginning of the nineteenth century it found itself fixed with the problem of a lack of Church buildings and of priests to serve a rapidly growing population. Many people among the old and sick, found themselves at great distances from the Church. In very large areas lack of roads and transport made the problem of Mass attendance and the Sacraments an acute one for great numbers. To overcome these difficulties the parish clergy developed the system known in Ireland as:'The Stations'".By arrangement with the people, the priests twice a year visited each townland, offering Mass and hearing confessions in one of the houses - each house was expected "to take The Station in it's turn"

Times have changed and life moves on but thankfully this lovely custom is thriving in the parish of Iveleary.

Nora O'Riordan, Gortnalour,Inchigeela 1999

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