“Mass in a Connemara Cabin”
by Aloysius O’Kelly, 1883
This beautiful painting, long believed to have been lost, hung for a century in the presbytery of St Patrick’s Church in Edinburgh. It represents a custom known as ‘The Stations’, which involved the celebration of mass in private homes in Ireland. Originally conceived as a means of allowing Catholics to practice their faith in the face of religious oppression, the custom was widespread by the eighteenth century.
By the second half of the nineteenth century, however, it was replaced with people encouraged to congregate together in local community churches.
During these days of somewhat tricky lockdown quarantine, mass is again being celebrated in private homes across Ireland and indeed all over the world via FB live-streams.
Who knows, in a post coronavirus world going forward maybe the digital mass live-streamed into our own homes is to become the new norm, mass for the masses, only time will tell…