Saturday, December 11, 2010

Matt Talbot and the Gardiner Street Parish

"The Church of St Francis Xavier in Gardiner Street was one of the first churches to be built in Dublin after Catholic Emancipation (Catholic Relief Act) in 1829. The church in Hardwicke St opened in 1821. By 1829, however, it had become too small for the congregations. In that year, then, the first stone was laid, and the first Mass was said in the new parish church on May 3, 1832.
The Jesuits had been in the Hardwicke St area since the 1730s, on the site now occupied by the Sacred Heart statue. They opened a school there, and in 1841 this became Belvedere College.

Many well-known people of faith have been associated with the church. Among them is [Venerable] Matt Talbot, a recovered alcoholic whose cause for beatification is in process. He prayed in the church each day at the 5.30 a.m. Mass, and in fact died on his way to a later Mass in Dominic St Church in Granby Lane, on June 7, 1925. John Henry Cardinal Newman celebrated Mass here when he lived in Dorset St in 1854; his cause for beatification is in process too. [John Henry Newman was declared "Blessed" in September, 2010.] Also, it can be surmised that Blessed Dom Columba Marmion visited the church when he was Professor at Clonliffe College.

Gardiner Street Church is also the resting place of Fr John Sullivan SJ whose cause for canonisation is in process in Rome. His tomb draws a daily stream of devotees, as does the monthly Mass in his memory. Fr John worked for a short time in the church in 1907..."

This is also the church where "The Pioneer Total Abstinence Association of the Sacred Heart" was founded on 28th December, 1898, by Fr. James A. Cullen; Matt Talbot was a member of the PTAA.