Bandon Parish

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Feast of St. Columba

stcolumbaSt. Columba 521-597, Columba was born to Fedlimid and Eithne of the Cenel Conaill in Gartan, in County Donegal. He studied at Moville under St. Finnian then in Leinster at the monastery of Clonard under another St. Finnian. He was ordained before he was twenty-five and spent the next fifteen years preaching and setting up foundations at Derry, Durrow, and Kells. Tradition asserts that, sometime around 560, he became involved in a quarrel with Saint Finnian of Movilla Abbey over a psalter. Columba copied the manuscript at the scriptorium under Saint Finnian, intending to keep the copy. Saint Finnian disputed his right to keep the copy. The dispute eventually led to the pitched Battle of Cúl Dreimhne in Cairbre Drom Cliabh (now in County Sligo) in 561, during which many men were killed. Columba’s copy of the psalter has been traditionally associated with the Cathach of St. Columba. A second grievance in 561 was the king’s violation of the right of sanctuary on the occasion of the murder of Prince Curnan, the saint’s kinsman. Prince Curnan of Connaught, who had fatally injured a rival in a hurling match and had taken refuge with Columba, was dragged from his protector’s arms and slain, in defiance of the rights of sanctuary.

A synod of clerics and scholars threatened to excommunicate him for these deaths, but St. Brendan of Birr spoke on his behalf with the result that he was allowed to go into exile instead. He left Ireland, to return only once, many years later. In 563, he travelled to Scotland with twelve companions. According to legend he first landed on the Kintyre Peninsula, near Southend. However, being still in sight of his native land, he moved farther north up the west coast of Scotland. The island of Iona was made over to him by his kinsman Conall mac Comgaill King of Dál Riata There he built the monastery which was to become world famous. With SS Canice and Comgall he spread the gospel to the Picts; he also developed a monastic rule which many followed until the introduction of St. Benedicts. He died on Iona and is also known as Colm, Colum and Colmcille. His Feast day is 9th June.