Sunday 30 August 2015

Saint Loarn of Achadh-Mor, August 30

August 30 is the commemoration of Saint Loarn of Achadh-mor. As Canon O'Hanlon explains below, he is said to have been an early disciple of Saint Patrick from County Mayo:

St. Loarn, Priest, of Achadh-mor, now Aghavower, or Aghamore, County of Mayo [Fifth Century]

In the published Martyrology of Tallagh, a festival occurs, at the 30th of August, in honour of Loarn, Priest, of Achadh-moir. In that copy, as found in the Book of Leinster, the record is nearly identical, for this same date. Loarn was the son of Ernasc, who lived in the western province of Ireland, when St. Patrick's missionary course led him thither. At that time, Loarn seems to have been a youth of good and pious dispositions. He received the gift of Divine Faith, and he then became a disciple of the great Apostle. The incident is thus related. The illustrious missionary, after leaving Kierragia Airtech, came to Kierragia Airne. Here he found both Ernasc and Loarn sitting under a shady tree. To them the Apostle opened the welcome message of salvation, and, in return, he was kindly received, with twelve of his companions. They were invited to spend a week at that place. During his sojourn there, St. Patrick taught Loarn to write an alphabet. His instruction in letters and piety was rapid, and to the end of his life, it was in still greater progress. Moreover, the youth was celebrated for holiness and the gifts of God's spirit. It appears probable, that he was ordained priest by the Irish Apostle, although this is not recorded in the Acts of the latter. However, St. Patrick had desired to establish a church in that part of the country. This place is now known as Aghavower or Aghamore, a parish in the barony of Costello, and County of Mayo. Near this place, too, Saint Patrick designed the measure and spot where a church should be erected. It rose near a fountain, called in Irish Tober Muena. The church was designated Seincheall, meaning the "old cill," or church. When Saint Patrick had there laid the foundations of a church, in due course of time, Loarn presided over it. Some of our modern writers call it a monastery. In the Martyrology of Donegal, Loarn is commemorated on this day, as a Priest of Achadh-mor.

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