The Remaining Symbolism of Catholic Heritage in Ireland

From the charity box, car window stickers and religious clocks, strange objects still remain, artifacts of the strong Catholics of Ireland follow one another among us.

Ireland, over the past few centuries, has undoubtedly been considered one of the most Catholic countries in the world. In fact, research conducted by the Central Statistics Office shows in the last religious census in 2016 that 78% of the Irish population was identified as Catholic, or around 3.7 million people.

Moreover, if on the one hand, this trend has seen a significant drop from the 84.2% who identified as Catholic in 2011, on the other hand, the perception of Ireland as a Catholic country could still be felt by observing the national culture, customs, or simply by observing the “religious symbolism” associated with it, which can be verified in everyday life.

Let’s take some interesting examples:

The “blessed” charity box

If you are in Ireland and are going to buy something from a small store, especially one near a church, you will likely see these charity boxes strategically placed near the cashier so you can drop off there. pieces. .

They have been used by parishes (or by certain associations) to raise funds for different projects such as fighting poverty, building a school, feeding the homeless, or organizing a pilgrimage to visit holy places like Knock, Medjugorje , rather than the Vatican. State.

The “blessed” window sticker

As shown in the image above, on the Emerald Isle it is very common to see religious car window stickers. For example, there is Padre Pio, with over 35 prayer groups. Yet besides being one of Ireland’s most prayed saints, he is the most popular figure for stickers, especially by families and the elderly.

According to popular religious beliefs, having a religious sticker on a car is believed to protect the driver and passengers, blessing them to have a great trip.

The Jesus clock in the living room

This last example is a must-see that one might admire when entering some Irish homes like that of my old Catholic friend Denys, a retired Dubliner who lived part of his life between America and Australia before moving to come back to Ireland to spend the rest of his time.

As I eat bacon and cabbage at his house, he often remembers the importance of having this clock as a blessing for his own home.

“It’s not just a clock,” he says, “I took this article everywhere with me: in Australia when I was working as a painter and in the USA where I was working without papers. It reminds me of when it is time for prayers, Mass and more, it reminds me that Jesus is part of our heritage, of our time, of our Irish identity. Now that I live in Ireland, ”concludes Denys. “He keeps the same company as before throughout my life.

In the end, stories like that of Dionysius, like those of drivers trying to protect themselves from a saint by putting stickers on their cars or like the story of the store owner who helps the church by displaying the donation box near. of the crate represents a part of Ireland that nostalgically remembers its own traditions in the hope that they can be passed on to future generations.

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This article was submitted to the IrishCentral contributor network by a member of the global Irish community. To become an IrishCentral contributor, click here.


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