Bishop Smith accepted an invitation to Iona to celebrate the 1450th anniversary of the arrival of St Colmcille in Scotland. The celebrations, organised as part of the Year of Faith, take place on the Feast of St Colmcille, 9 June 2013.

St Colmcille had close connections with the monastic life of the Church in what is now the Diocese of Meath.  Born in 521 AD, the young man decided to study for the priesthood, a decision took him from his native Donegal to the school which St Finian had set up in Clonard.  Here Colmcille made friends with many of the people who were later to become great missionaries – the ‘Twelve Apostles of Ireland’ as they were called.

After he was ordained a priest, he spent the next seventeen years travelling throughout Ireland preaching and teaching.  Colmcille worked with great energy and enthusiasm founding thirty churches and other monasteries including two in this diocese, at Durrow in Co. Offaly and at Kells in Co. Meath.  Numerous churches and schools in the Diocese of Meath are today called after this monastic saint.

For Colmcille, the essence of his faith and his missionary activity was a deep devotion to the Scriptures, the Word of God.  In order to be a follower of Jesus, Colmcille believed that he needed to know and to love the Scriptures. The monasteries he founded were places where the scriptures were studied and prayed. It was Colmcille’s monks who many years later produced the Book of Kells.

Accompanied by twelve disciples, Colmcille left Ireland for the island of Iona in Scotland and founded a monastery there in the year 563AD, the anniversary of which is being celebrated in Scotland this weekend.

The image of St Colmcille on the homepage is a photograph of a mosaic in the sanctuary of the Cathedral of Christ the King, Mullingar.