There were three outstanding examples of achievement and persistence in different parts of Kerry this month.
Two in the world of Gaelic Football and the other was of a deeply spiritual nature. All three came with presentations or hand-overs and manifestations of those achievements.
The footballers of the Fossa and Rathmore GAA clubs delighted the county on a recent Sunday when they captured their respective All-Ireland junior and intermediate titles in Croke Park.
On Tuesday night of last week in Castleisland a crowd of up to 600 people, from many parts of the county and well beyond, gathered in the Church of Saints Stephen and John to witness life-long Padre Pio devotee and PP Fr. Mossie Brick accepting a healing glove of St. Pio. Fr. Brick also acknowledged the thousands of people who tuned into the ceremony via live-stream and the church radio system.
For Fr. Brick it was an evening and an event which brought a 20 year campaign spanning several parishes within the dioceses to a most fulfilling conclusion – and the man was visibly moved by the enormity of the achievement.
I doubt if Fossa’s Paudie Clifford or Rathmlore’s Mark Ryan could have been any happier on Sunday afternoon in Croke Park as Fr. Mossie Brick was on Tuesday evening in Castleisland.
It is an achievement which he delightedly shared with many people who helped him and his team on that 20 year long road.
“We wrote to everyone we thought of in San Giovanni and nothing happened. So I made up my mind this year at 73 years of age that that’s that now and it’s the plan of God and we’ll ride on the sunset back to Kilmoyley and continue our devotion to St. Pio,” said Fr. Brick.
“And out of the blue about four weeks ago came the call from Dublin that a glove has been granted and I just couldn’t believe my eyes or my ears. I have no doubt in my mind, no doubt whatsoever that came through Brian Shortall.
“He was here three years ago and he saw with his own two eyes what it was like on the ground in Castleisland,” he said.
Turning to Fr. Shortall he said: “Brian, we’re eternally grateful to you and I have no doubt that you have been put in this job to straighten things out and enhance devotion to St. Pio.”
Fr. Shortall then got the first of several almighty rounds of applause from the gathering.
Chief among those mentioned by Fr. Brick was Bishop of Kerry Ray Browne for his ‘forceful letter of support’ and Fr. Bryan Shortall the Capuchin Franciscan Order Superior in Ireland with his travelling companions who braved the road conditions from Dublin yesterday evening to deliver the healing glove into safe and appreciative hands.
“It’s yours now and until the day you die,” said Fr. Shortall as he did the initial hand-over of the framed healing glove in the sacristy and Fr. Brick looked at it in a state close to disbelief and clasped it to his chest.
“As long as you’re on the planet the glove is yours and when you leave we’d like to have it back,” said Fr. Shortall.
Later on, during the Mass, Fr. Shortall advised Fr. Brick not to leave the glove out of his sight at any time and he also advised against ‘giving it out’ as there’s a chance you wouldn’t get it back,” he said – speaking from experience.
“I’ve seen one of these gloves in tatters with bits cut off them and desecrated,”
If the weather and the condition of the roads of Kerry dictated the level of attendance at the ceremony it also curbed the length of it as both men decided on a safety first option and shortened proceedings to allow people to get home safely.
They embarked on a general blessings mission between the sections of the church and they wound up a highly historic and deeply spiritual night in Castleisland. There will be many more.