Re-establishing the Celtic Catholic Rite

Hey everyone,

I am currently working on re-establishing the Celtic Catholic Rite in the Catholic Church. I am planning on using it to evangelize the Southern US, but was wondering if anyone else might be interested in learning the rite and getting it established? Also if anyone knows any ideas on how to get through the massive blockade of the inaccessibility of contacting a bishop?

Why? I was involved being here in Ireland in a group for that and I dropped it as I know very welll that the Celtic traditions were so closely bound up with the harsh living conditions they lived in that it was now a hollow meaningless shell .

There is no authentic rite as such either.

There’s some evidence for it, having existed in the past: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Celtic_Rite

Then again, if we have people trying to revive seemingly dead liturgical traditions and rites, someone can always try (unsuccessfully within the Catholic Church, but on their own) to revive a form of Germanic Christian paganism: In the polytheistic Germanic tradition, "if Odin failed, one absolutely could try it with Christ for once:

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Germanic_Christianity#Characteristics

Actually all information points towards something completely different Rosebud. In fact, the Stowe Missal shows a Rite of Catholicism that was bound up in the essential beauty of nature as an entry way to understanding the beauty of the Divine Godhead. Irish Missionaries used the Celtic Rite established by St. Patrick to help renew and evangelize Europe, who at the time was suffering from wayward priests, large delineation from the scriptures and unholy living amongst the laity.

The writings of St. Columbanus actually show a rigid prayer life that rivals even our monks today. They performed 25 psalms in the course of three night sessions. They were deeply penitential, yet understanding that their eternal salvation came only from Christ.

“O Lord, may these gifts which are offered be sacrificed, and cleanse us from the blot of our sins, through our Lord Jesus Christ, Who reigneth with thee, and the Holy Spirit, throughout all ages of ages”.

and again:

"I pray to thee, O Father; I ask intercession of Thee, O Son, I appeal to thee, O Holy Spirit.

Jesus Christ, Alpha and Omega: this is the first and the Last.

May the Father remit, may the Son pardon, may the Holy Spirit have mercy."

These prayers from the Celtic Missal show a people who were very much involved with the ordering of their eternal salvation. They have a deep theological tradition that intertwines the natural theology of the ancient Celts with the Biblical and Ecclesial Theology of the Apostles and the Church. This is what the Church calls “inculturation” and has been used since the beginning of the Church. This doesn’t look like a hallow meaningless shell. In fact, the faith is determinant on the acceptance of the liturgy by the participant. I know many people who go to Mass and they get nothing out of it, its just a “hallow meaningless shell” because they don’t devote their life to God and participate in the prayers like they should with their whole heart.

The reason why Pope Leo supported the Norman invasion in 1167 was because the Church was displaying many facets of life that was contrary to the prescribed Roman way. The ancient Celtic liturgy came from the Gallican rite which had deep Eastern roots. In fact, the Stowe missal actually prescribes that Leavened Bread be used within the rite for the distribution of communion. Also the Celtic Church used Icons instead of statues and they were more focused on penitential acts and the salvation by faith and works (emphasis on the works). Since this was after the Great Schism of 1054, the Pope was seeking to unify the west in certain liturgical practices, just not unified rites. He ordered the Church to do away with the Leavened Bread and start using Unleavened Bread for the Mass. The Celtic Church said they would “work on it” and they did nothing. Finally tired of dealing with their Insolence, the Pope backed the Norman invasion of 1167 and forced the changes himself, completely dismantling the Celtic Rite and forcing the use of unleavened bread, statues and many other sacramentals. Since the Normans had already invaded Scotland in 1066, Ireland was the last bastion and it was the fall of the Celtic Rite. We don’t see the rite used legally after that date, although we do know that some Priests were still using it into the thirteenth century.

So to answer your question, why? Because its our heritage. My family is Irish and Scottish. We were evangelized by St. Patrick and St. Columba. Our Patriarch and Apostle is St. Patrick and that’s who we should follow. He was given permission by Rome to establish the rite, but because of politics in the 11th-12th century it was destroyed. We should work to reviving it because ultimately its apart of our people’s tradition. A tradition that has been suppressed for over 900 years. I have great pride in the effect of my people on the world and its shaping. 367 BC we burned Rome to the ground and started the fire that would become the Roman Empire. We worked to renew the Church in the 6th and 7th centuries and our people’s faith has been called the Jewel of the Catholic Church. The Celtic Rite is WHO we are in our worship to God. It is the prayers and offerings of a people who are deeply rooted in nature and in Christ. In fact when you look at the Protestant Church, especially the Presbyterian Church, you see the roots of ancient Celtic thought.

Why revive? Because at the end of the day its our people’s worship to God. Its our people’s way of standing before God and giving him honor and praise that connects us with our Fathers who have gone before us. That is enough for me.

Sounds very, very interesting! I’d never heard of this Rite before. :thumbsup:

Unfortunately, I’m not really able to help out much here, but good luck to you! :slight_smile:

It’s sounds interesting. I imagine it could be popular in the Boston area, given the large Irish Catholic presence. That would of course have to be practical for you or your group to visit.

Would this liturgy be in Gaelic?

Your best bet is to contact a priest in the Archdiocese that is considered a real history buff.
I can give you a couple of names if you PM me.
It might make a good adult ed history class, if someone would give you the space.

The original manuscript, the Lorrha Missal, or the Stowe Missal is entirely in Latin actually. The Celtic Church did very little in Gaelic as vernacular languages were not authorized for the Mass. The only exception to this was St. Cyril and Methodius in the 9th century for the slavonic peoples. To answer your question though, it could be said in Gaelic. I have family in Boston so I have visited for St. Patrick’s day and I know Cardinal O’Malley does the Feast of St Patrick in a bilingual Gaelic-English. I would say the option should be given either way. One mission of the church would be to re-establish the renewal of the Gaelic language of the common people as a common tongue. As any linguist will tell you language is central to unity of a culture. I think one issue that we have, and its prominent in Ireland and Scotland as well, is that too few are speaking the gaelic language. I have recently started learning it myself. So this could be a possibility as I become more proficient in it, I could translate it from the Latin directly.

The hubs speaks Gaelic. His parents spoke it almost exclusively his entire life.
I would guess, yes, that the prayers are mostly in Latin.
Neat project.

Very interesting information, Adam. I didn’t know Cardinal Sean celebrated the Mass in Gaelic. I believe Irish and Scots Gaelic are different, however. I don’t know if the speakers of each of these languages can understand each other or not. Pianistclare or Rosebud77 probably know.

They’re very different.
About as related as Basque and Spanish. You’d have an idea, but you’d have to be REALLY fluent to grasp the other.
Interesting side-note: Cardinal Sean O’Malley sent my father-in-law a 90th birthday greeting and certificate since they have the same name, LOL. :smiley:

Joe is slowly teaching me Gaelic.
I’m teaching him Spanish.

That is really awesome! We love Cardinal Sean here in Boston. A real holy priest and a people person.

LOL-Basque and Spanish are quite different!!!

My father’s cousin who spoke Gaelic and English was a missionary priest in Honduras.
(He is deceased now). He was born in Nova Scotia and spoke fluent Spanish with a Gaelic Nova Scotian Scottish accent. He loved the campesinos and told some fascinating stories about them.
Best wishes for successful language learning and teaching.

They are quite different as Pianistclare stated. I am learning Irish Gaelic, most of the Stowe, Lorrha missal are written in the Irish Gaelic so I have started there. While I have documents from St. Cainnach and St. Columbana, luckily, they are mostly in latin or Irish Gaelic. The Aberdeen Breviary from the 12th century is in Latin, but there are some Gaelic texts inside and those are Scotti Gaelic interestingly enough. Which has been a challenge.

Please I ask only for your prayers in this endeavor with hopes that the Lord will let his will be done.

Praying. It will be a beautiful experience.

OP I do hear you. I spent years down that road in the north of Scotland and here. Can quote the sources you mention verbatim…

There is an old man here who has a love of witty sayings that hold truth… One such is "The past is history, te future a mystery, we have only the gift of today which is why we call it the present. "

We have Gaeltcht areas here where the mass etc is in Gaelic and every school child has to learn it. But it is English we use here for govt etc

Was at mass in one last year; l chatted afterwards and the little ones are bi-lingual

But my thoughts stand. Liturgy etc is given for the times we live in. The ways you interpr et the past is guided and interpreted by todays values

Easy to romanticise and etheralise th e distant past. “Age and forgetfulness sweeten memory” and Rome swept the celtic cobwebs and all their values away

Interesting that there are several Episc groups who “go celtic” maybe google them?

Leaving you to it… it can become a distraction of course. "heritage"is a 2 edged sword.

Actually, I want to pray for you about this: that you can learn the language and seek to do your part in reestablishing that rite. God bless!

Are you looking to have a priest actually celebrate some form of this ancient Celtic missal? If so, that would require approval from Rome and probably only after some years of study and consideration.

So I wanted to give everyone an update. My journey in this path has not be successful in re-establishing the original Celtic Rite. What I have been able to do is bring back the spirit of the Fathers through the Byzantine Rite, which based off of my studies, is as close as I can get to the Celtic Rite and is easier than getting permission from the Pope to start a new Sui-Juris Church.

Currently, I have five Celtic families that are interested and we have started doing Vespers, Celebration of the Feast days of the Celtic Saints, and attending festivals together as a community. We are located in Cumming, GA, working out of our houses for our worship. All of our prayer rules and ritual is from Byzantine Daily Worship, which is approved by Pope Francis and used by the Eastern Catholic Churches and is overseen by His Holiness Patriarch Gregorios III. We worship every Sunday at Epiphany Byzantine Catholic Church in Roswell, GA. If anyone is interested in joining us, please shoot me a PM.

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