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The Breviary i nGaelige on Universalis

The Prayer of the Church prayed daily by monks, priests and laypeople all around the world is now available in Irish on Universalis.

Universalis is the international website and phone app where one can access the Prayer of the Church or the Liturgy of Hours, the Rosary, and the Order of Mass including all the daily readings. It is used regularly by thousands of Catholics and Christians across the globe.

Irish Jesuit Frank Mac Brádaigh was instrumental in getting the translations on to the Universalis platform by providing a digital copy of the translations of the Prayer of the Chruch in the Irish languge. The idea came for Fr Fergus Breslan from Dundalk, who approached Frank about the project.

The translations were the work of a number of people down the years, some of them former editors of An Timire ( an Irish language version of The Sacred Heart Messenger ) such as Alan Mc Guckian SJ, now Bishop of Raphoe. Other translators included Diarmuid Ó Laoghaire SJ, Seán Ó Duibhir SJ, Connla Ó Dúláine SJ.

Frainc Bradaigh SJ, is the current editor of An Timire, and he says this development is both ‘good and exciting news. Dóibh siúd le Gaeilge nó le beagán Gaeilge is féidir Unnaí na hEaglaise a léamh nó rá os ard ar Universalis gach lá.”

Regarding the work done by Fr Breslin Frank commented, “The work of putting the breviary in Irish on line was a labour of love for him. But for someone who is no longer a young man, it was also an enormous job of skill and dedication to master the computer and the process of transferring the text we sent him in digital form to the format necessary to be uploaded onto the Universalis website.”

Frank noted that the task was not just a simple one of cutting and pasting, adding that “It took a lot of learning, a lot of skill, a lot of dedication and a lot of love for all of us, the praying community, and we are really grateful to him.”

Read below a full account from Frank, in Irish and English, of the journey taken and the people involved, so that anyone around the world who wants to pray the Prayer of the Church in the Irish language can do so online. Frank includes in his piece below, letters from Archbishop Eamon Martin and Fr Fergus Breslin, marking how the process unfolded.

A LABOUR OF LOVE

The Prayer of the Church, or Urnaí na hEaglaise, as it is known in Irish, can now be prayed in Irish in any part of the world. And if you go to pray on Universalis you will see that the English and Irish hymns and Psalms follow one another in sequence not in parallel texts. That means you can read and recite the psalms and prayers in either or in both languages depending on what helps you pray at any particular time, or day.

Following that pattern, I decided to write this article in both languages. I often speak ‘macaronically’ (a little Irish and a little English) when celebrating in church or in schools with congregations that may not be fluent in both our languages,

The poets and songwriters at the time of language change in Ireland sometimes sang a verse in Irish and then sang the same verse in English so everyone could understand.

But there were times when the subsequent verse was not actually a translation of the previous verse and one had to depend on one’s knowledge of both languages to follow the song. That’s the way it will be with this article. I will sometimes leave you to make your own of it and I hope it will make sense to you.

Alt atá anseo faoi fiontar nó togra a chum an tAth, Fergus Breslan, sagart de chuid deoise Ard Mhacha a bhfuil cónaí air i nDún Dealgan. Tháinig sé chugam leis an smaoineamh Urnaí na hEaglaise i nGaeilge ar líne ar shuíomh idirlíon Universalis. Is aige a bhí an smaoineamh mar a insíonn sé féin in alt thíos.

About two years ago he came to me with a proposal to prepare and upload the Breviary in Irish onto the Universalis website. And I immediately agreed.

Bhí Urnaí na hEaglaise, urnaí na Maidine, Tráthnóna is na hÓiche do Thráth saor na Bliana agus do na Séasúir, (an Aidbhint & Tráth na Nollag, An Charghas & Tráth na Cásca) foilsithe ag daoine móra a tháinig romhsa i bhFoilseacháin Ábhair Spioradálta, an teach foilsitheoireachta Gaeilge atá againne Íosánaigh. Is iad Seosamh Ó Muirthile, Diarmuid Ó Laoghaire, Seán Ó Duibhir agus Connla Ó Dúláine na daoine a d’iompar an t-ualach suas go dtí bliain an dá mhíle.

Tháinig an tSr Eilís Ní Thiarnaigh i gceannas sa bhliain sin is an tAth Alan Mac Eochagáin SJ, atá anois in easpag i ndeoise Ráth Bhoth, tháing seisean i gceannas sa bhliain 2011. Chuir siadsan eagrán nua den Urnaí i gcló: urnaí na Maidine, Tráthnóna is na hÓiche do Thráth saor na Bliana agus do na Séasúir, (an Aidbhint & Tráth na Nollag, An Charghas & Tráth na Cásca), sin i ndhá leabhar.

But behind them was another great man in the Irish language world, who translated the Psalms in the Maynooth translation of the Bible An Bíobla Naofa, and did a masterly job. Without his work, neither the hard copy publication of the prayer of the Church by FÁS nor this gift, on line, to the praying Church would have been possible.

This was ‘An tAthair Colmcille Ó Conbhuí OCSO, 1909-1992’). Staraí, naomhsheanchaí, aistritheoir, cumadóir/ceoltóir, file, grianghrafadóir, ealaíontóir; bhain tábhacht idirnáisiúnta leis mar staraí Cistéirseach.

In the Jesuit cultural journal Studies, Spring 1971 Aubrey Gwynn S.J. wrote of him as ‘Our most authoritative historian of the Cistercian Order in Ireland’.

An tAthair Colmcille Ó Conbhuíwas the author a number of history books among which were Trodairí na Treas Briogáide, 1955, Deoraí Chríost (1960),  and Comhcheilg na Mainistreach Móire (1968).

Then he turned his attention and talent to The Liturgy of Hours. Urnaí na hOíche was published in 1974; Urnaithe Tráthnóna (I), 1979; Urnaí na Maidne, 1983; Ord na Miontráthanna agus an Tráth Meáin, 1985, Urnaithe Tráthnóna (II), 1987.

Foilsíodh a aistriúchán de Leabhar na Salm i 1961. Deir Pádraig Ó Fiannachta in An Bíobla Naofa, 1981 (‘Focal ón bhFear Eagair’): ‘Is leagan ar leith de chuid an Athar Colmcille, O.Cist., atá againn i gcás Na Sailm.’ Agus sa Bhrollach den mBíobla Naofa deir an Fiannachtach gur “aistriúchán díreach ó théacs na hEabhraise é”.

I may be digressing somewhat but I feel it is only right to acknowledge one who has laid the foundations for us.  Dr Geraldine Carville quoted in Ainm.ie says, “He also translated the text of the Daily Office and set this to music. He spent many painstaking hours adapting and arranging old Irish airs to accompany his work and indeed at times introduced his own musical phrases and compositions, for Fr Colmcille was also a musician and composer. Melodies could be easily executed on a melodica or a one and a half octave keyboard…. These small instruments he usually carried in his hand luggage with the result that no refrain was ever lost.” Tá na leagain leis an gceol le fáil ó FÁS ón oifig i 36 Sr Líosain, BÁC ag [email protected]

The work of putting the breviary in Irish on line was a labour of love for Fr Fergus Breslan. But for someone who is no longer a young man, it was also an enormous job of skill and dedication to master the computer and the process of transferring the text we sent him in digital form to the format necessary to be uploaded onto the Universalis website. It was not just a simple cut-and-paste job, it took a lot of learning, a lot of skill, a lot of dedication and a lot of love for all of us, the praying community, and we are really grateful. It can be accessed on Universalis,> Settings, > Langauge > English & Gaelic (Irish). Sin agat an téacs ós do chomhair.

Tá muidne i FÁS an bhuíoch don Athair Fergus as an saothar seo a chur i gcríoch. Chuir muid in iúil don Ardeaspag Eamon in Ard Mhacha an saothar a bhí déanta ag an Athair Fergus agus seo mar a scríobh sé chugainn:

Dear Father Frank and Father Fergus,

Thank you for sending us information about the amazing work you have been doing in facilitating access to the Irish language translation of the Breviary. It is wonderful to know that it is available on Universalis through your good work and conscientious efforts and I hope that many people in Ireland and beyond will access it and pray with it.

Would you have any objection if I were to share this initiative with the other bishops as other priests around the country might like to avail of this new resource.

May the Lord give success to the work of your hands.
With every blessing and kindest regards,

+ Eamon Martin

Archbishop of Armagh.’

D’ár ndóigh ghlac muid leis an tairiscint sin ón Ardeaspag agus faoin am seo tá mé cinnte go bhfuil an scéal faoi faighte ag na heaspaig ar fad agus an scéal curtha amach acu ar fud gach deoise acu féin.

Seo alt an athair Ferguis, sa dá theanga: (An account of the process from Fr Fergus in English and Irish)

An Cháisc 2020.

I have an interest in reading the Breviary in Gaelige. So Fr. Frank Mac Brádaigh has asked me to write a few words about this.

I first picked up a copy of the Breviary in Gaelige about 1990 in Veritas in Dublin. There was Urnaithne Na Maidine, Urnaithe Tráthnóna, Ord Na Miontráthanna agus An Tráth Meain and also Urnaí na hOíche. Later I picked up a copy of Urnaithe Tráthnóna na Séasúir.

Then in the last few years Mon. Raymond Murray of Armagh brought my attention to a very welcome copy of Urnaí na hEaglaise – Na Séasúir for Matins and Lauds.

In the last few years many people are finding the possibility of reading the liturgy from a screen very useful and I was hoping that the Breviary in Irish would be available on CD like An Bíobla Naofa, or downloadable online, perhaps in a complete form that would include The Office of Readings. So far I have not heard of any plans.

However, about 2 years ago when I was on the Diocesan Retreat some priests suggested that I email one of the digital platforms for the liturgy called Universalis, based in London, to see if they would help. They were enthusiastic immediately, there would be no cost involved, but I would have to do the hard work of finding a digital copy of the Irish Breviary, seek permission to use it and do the long work of copying and pasting into the format required.

Fr. Frank Mac Brádaigh SJ, editor of ‘An Timire’ was able to supply me with available digital copy and also get necessary permissions.

The result is that Universalis is now carrying the main body of Urnaithne Na Maidine, Urnaithe Tráthnóna, Urnaí Na hEaglaise – Na Séasúir and Urnaí Na hOíche. It is being carried in bilingual form, Gailige (Irish) and English until the Irish Breviary is complete.sFr. Fergus Breslan Dundalk

Go raibh maith agat a Ath Fergus. Coisreacadh Dé agus na Maighdine Muire ort.

Frank Mac Brádaigh SJ

Bealtaine 2020