Kildare and Newbridge Group of Parishes held special services to mark St Brigid's Weekend, on Sunday 3rd February 2019.
At 11.30am an All Age Service was held in St Patrick’s Church, Newbridge.
At 3.30pm a Diocesan Celebration Service was held in St Brigids Cathedral, Kildare. The guest preacher was the Rev Richard Bromley, Mission Director of the Intercontinental Church Society. The service was led by Dean Tim Wight and Rev Fran Grasham, with Bishop Pat Storey. The music was led by the Cathedral choir under the direction of Thomas Charles Marshall. The organist was Simon Harden.
Brigid was a contemporary of St Patrick. Her spirituality had an enormous impact on the church in Ireland, in the period of growth and transition immediately following the time of St Patrick. At that time the church in Ireland developed through spiritual communities of monks and nuns.
The Cathedral Church of St Brigid lies in the centre of Kildare Town and was built in the 13th century. According to Kildare.ie it “occupies one of the most significant ecclesiastical sites in Ireland and is the site most associated with Ireland's most famous female saint, Brigid.” The cathedral is part of the Grouped Parishes of Kildare and Newbridge.
The site is one of the earliest documented Irish Christian places of worship. Kildare.ie also notes that “The present restored Norman cathedral occupies the site of the original early Christian foundation and church of St. Brigid. Born in 453 A.D., Brigid is said to have established a church at Kildare in 480 A.D., just 35 years after St Patrick established a church at Armagh.” It also describes how “Her original establishment would have been a very simple structure, most likely built of wood. It was from this settlement that the town and, much later, the county derived the name Cilldara – Anglicised as Kildare. In Irish cill, means cell or small church, and dara means oak. It would seem that the first church was built near an oak grove, or perhaps was itself built of oak.”
The Grouped Parishes of Kildare and Newbridge describe their mission as being, “To understand the depth of God's love for each one of us and to deepen our relationship with him.”