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Tuesday 23 September 2014

Enclosed order break silence in appeal to save cash-strapped monastery

Louise Walsh

Published 19/03/2014 | 02:30

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Brother James, Dom Mark Daniel Kirby (prior) and Brother Alex. Photo: Barry Cronin
Brother James, Dom Mark Daniel Kirby and Brother Benedict. Photo: Barry Cronin
Brother James, Dom Mark Daniel Kirby and Brother Benedict. Photo: Barry Cronin

An enclosed Catholic monastic order is appealing for help to save their cash-strapped monastery.

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The Benedictine Monks of Perpetual Adoration feel they must speak out about the "critical financial situation" putting the future of their home at Silverstream Priory in Stamullen, Co Meath, "at stake".

Prior Dom Mark Daniel Kirby says he has now to "ask for help wherever and whenever possible" to raise €750,000 to buy their home. They made the decision to go public with their appeal despite the fact they almost never leave their home and only speak when absolutely necessary.

"I am not the first nor will I be the last monk to feel torn between remaining silent and speaking, between disappearing and appearing," he said.

"Over the past few days, I have listened to my community and to our friends when discussing the extreme precariousness of our foundation.

"People whom I trust are urging me to make appeals, to seek out benefactors, to accept invitations to preach, to speak about our urgent need and to write about it. It is a question of survival."

Since coming to Ireland just two years ago, the monks have received over 20 applications from men wishing to become Benedictines.

"We do not yet own Silverstream Priory, nor any of the surrounding land. Until we have purchased Silverstream's buildings and property, there remains an element of risk in what we are doing. The men who have joined our monastery are conscious of the risk involved and, in the face of the risk, have laid their lives on the line."

At present, the monastery is occupied by four monks, three of whom came to Ireland from America to found the order in Meath on the invitation of Bishop of Meath Dr Michael Smith. The fourth, Brother Finian (James) King is from Bohermeen in Meath.

The Priory has opened a bookshop to try and raise funds needed to buy and refurbish the 170-year-old buildings, which were previously the home of the Visitation Order.

Further information on how you can help can be found www.cenacleosb.org

Irish Independent

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