Pope Francis praises Columba 1500 events

Pope Francis.Pope Francis.
Pope Francis.
Pope Francis has sent his personal good wishes to all those celebrating the 1500th anniversary of the birth of Derry’s patron saint, Columba.

In a letter to the Bishop of Derry, Dr Donal McKeown, the Pope says he “cordially imparts” his apostolic blessing on the events - both in Ireland and Scotland - to mark the milestone anniversary.

The correspondence - sent by Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Secretary of State of the Holy See - is full of praise for the legacy of Colmcille, also known as Columba.

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The Pope says the saint’s “missionary zeal and pastoral fervour continues to echo throughout the lands of Ireland, Scotland and beyond.”

It adds: “As the Catholic faithful, together with our brothers and sisters of other Christian communities, mark this solemn occasion, His Holiness prays that it will lead to a deeper appreciation of the shared spiritual patrimony bequeathed by St Columba and inspire anew in our own day a commitment to holiness of life, the spread of the Gospel and the renewal of the fabric of society through Christ’s message of healing, reconciliation and hope.

“With these sentiments, the Holy Father commends all taking part in the anniversary celebrations to the protection and prayers of St Columba, and cordially imparts His Apostolic Blessing as a pledge of joy and peace in the Lord.”

Organisations across the North West are gearing up for events that will mark the 1500th anniversary of Colmcille’s birth on December 7. Marking the historic year, Donegal County Council and Derry City & Strabane District Council are co-ordinating a full line-up to celebrate the anniversary of one of Ireland’s three patron saints.

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Whilst the ongoing COVID restrictions may limit the number of physical events that can take place, Colmcille 1500 organisers have worked to ensure that there is plenty happening online, as well as church services and exhibitions that will be open to the public.

For more info, go to www.colmcille1500.com