Sunday, September 16, 2007

L'Abbe Henry Edgeworth de Firmont

From the Latin Mass Society of Ireland:

Bishop Colm O'Reilly of Ardagh & Clonmacnois is to offer the Latin Mass (Extraordinary Form) on Sunday, 23 September 2007.

This Mass will take place at 11am in St. Mary's Church, Edgeworthstown, Co. Longford as part of a commemoration of the Bicentenary of the death of Monsignor Henry Essex Edgeworth de Firmont. A schedule of the Bicentenary Events for the Abbe Edgeworth, who accompanied Louis XVI to the Guillotine in 1793, willl follow shortly.

Monsignor Edgeworth was born in Edgeworthstown, Co. Longford in 1745 but following his father's conversion to Catholicism in 1749 the family moved to France. Edgeworth was ordained to the Catholic priesthood in France and after many vicissitudes, became associated with the French Royal Family after the outbreak of the French Revolution. He accompanied Louis XVI to the guillotine and afterwards remained in France for some time at great personal risk, before joining the king's brother, Louis XVIII in Britain. Louis later set up his court in exile under the protection of the Tsar Paul in the territory of what was then the Russian Empire. During the subsequent wars between France and Russia Edgeworth remained to minister to sick and dying French prisoners of war, contracting his final illness in what is now Jelgava in Latvia where he died on 22 May 1807. The cemetery in Jelgava in which he was interred was destroyed during the Second World War.

Bishop O'Reilly will be the fourth Irish diocesan bishop to offer traditional Mass in recent years, following Bishops Daly and Hegarty of Derry and Archbishop Martin of Dublin.

All are welcome.

Edgeworthstown is a lovely place. My wife's family are Longford people; her uncle was a priest who lived his last years in Edgeworthstown. I envy those able to attend the Mass.

The picture shows the chasuble worn by the Abbe Edgeworth for the celebration of the last Mass attended by King Louis XVI. The original picture is from the website of the Association Louis XVI and can be found here.


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