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Bishop McKeown to launch year-long celebrations to mark birth of St Columba, Patron Saint of Derry

Bishop Donal McKeown will launch a year-long series of events to mark the 1500th birthday of St Columba, with a special online Mass at Long Tower Church, on Monday, 7th December at 10:00am.

December 7, marks the traditional birthday of the city's patron saint, and this year the date kick-starts 365 days of celebration until December 7, 2021.


You are invited to tune into the Mass at 10 a.m. which will be followed by a digital launch of the Year at Longtower.com at 1.00pm.

Bishop McKeown said the Mass is an opportunity for people to celebrate the life of Columba, whose rich legacy has shaped the language, culture and history of Ireland, Scotland and the north of England.

He continued: "I am delighted to celebrate this Mass at Long Tower Church, a church dedicated to St Columba, a Saint whose legacy continues to transcend borders and to inspire cooperation, not least in the Gaelic traditions of Scotland, Ireland and the Isle of Man.

"Over the next 12 months, a series of celebratory events will be held to commemorate the life of this remarkable person, who holds such a close attachment to our city. I would like to thank to the community at Long Tower Church and the wider city, who have worked so diligently during the past year, in difficult circumstances, to plan the year of events that is to come.

"We hope that, as we celebrate in our present day this moment of our past rooted in our faith and our city, we will walk evermore confidently into our future filled with the faith of our ancestors."

This Mass can be viewed at longtowerchurch.org/webcam/

There will also be a digital launch of the Year which can be viewed at Longtower.com on Monday 7th December at 1.00pm. This short film includes the leaders of the Catholic, Protestant, Presbyterian and Methodist Churches.

A number of events will take place across the North West next week to mark the beginning of celebrations.

These include an all-night vigil of prayer in St Canice's Oratory in the Celtic Prayer Garden, IOSAS Centre, Muff. The vigil will begin at midnight on Sunday 6th December and continue until 6 am the next morning where prayers will be said through the intercession of St Columba for health and healing.

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