Deposition of Sacred Relics

Pictured:  Bishop Nulty with Fr Richard Scriven, Administrator St Mary’s Cathedral, and Fr Dan Carroll, Chaplain to Presentation Secondary School Kilkenny.

On Tuesday 15th February Bishop Nulty, the Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Ossory, presided over the Deposition of Relics in the Sanctuary. The relics of the saints have traditionally been placed in the altar. In 1857 Bishop Walsh placed the relics of SS Cosmos and Damien in the High Altar. In 2021 Bishop Nulty placed the relics of St Oliver Plunkett, Blessed Edmund Rice, Venerable Nano Nagle in a chamber beneath where the new altar will sit.
The relics were placed in a silver pyx which was presented to Bishop Nulty by Sr Ena Kennedy of the Convent of Mercy, Callan. The pyx was used by her uncle, Fr Laurence Murphy, late PP of Urlingford, who was ordained in St Mary’s Cathedral in June 1933. A medal of Catherine McAuley, founder of the Mercy Sisters, was placed in the pyx.
Michael and Agneza Mohrzycka with their baby Francis presented the relics of St Oliver Plunkett to Bishop Nulty. St Oliver Plunkett was ordained in Rome in 1654 and returned to Ireland as Archbishop of Armagh in 1669. He was martyred at Tyburn on 1 July 1681.
Sr Nuala O’Horan of the Presentation Sisters brought forward a relic of Nano Nagle, founder of the Presentation Sisters. Nagle sent two sisters to Kilkenny in 1800 and they set up a school for poor of the city opposite the Cathedral.
Brother Christy Carroll from the Christian Brothers in Callan brought a relic of Blessed Edmund Rice. Rice, a native of Callan, founded his teaching order in Waterford and opened a school in Kilkenny in 1860 and later in Callan in 1868.
Fr Richard Scriven presented Bishop Nulty with the memorial card of Father Ragheed Ganni, a martyr of the Iraq Church, martyred in June 2001. Ragheed was a regular visitor to Kilkenny from the Irish College in Rome and visited the cathedral many times.
Alan O’Beirne presented Bishop Nulty with a St Bridgid Cross. The cross was made by Seán O’ hUigínn from The Rower with rushes from the bank of the river Nore. Bridgid was a native of Kildare from Bishops Nulty’s diocese of Kildare and Leighlin.
After the relics were formerly presented Bishop Nulty assembled them in the pyx and then placed them in the floor of the sanctuary. Mr Joe Maher, formerly Clerk of Works of the Diocese, presented Bishop Nulty with an Altar Stone made of Kilkenny marble. Donal McDonald, stonemason, placed the stone in the floor of the sanctuary. Donal has worked in the cathedral for many years and is at present restoring the black and white tiles of the centre aisle.
Students from Presentation Secondary School, CBS Secondary School, Presentation Primary School, Scoil Iognaid de Rís Primary School were joined by students from St Kieran’s College on the day. Bishop Nulty welcomed the students from the Presentation and Rice Schools on the day that relics of the founders of their schools were being placed in the sanctuary.
The work continues and a new altar will be installed in the Cathedral. The new altar, the work of renowned stonemason Thomas Glendon, is made from Combe Brune limestone. A new ambo and baptismal font will also be installed in the sanctuary. The work is scheduled to be concluded in March.