Oliver Cromwell is the most infamous name in Irish history. As the representative of the English fist in the Emerald Isle, Cromwell is the man who not only destroyed the freedom and heritage of the Irish, but also tried to destroy their faith.
Cromwell enforced the anti-Catholic penal laws on the people of Ireland. Fines, imprisonment, and death awaited Catholics and priests, and churches were closed or desecrated. Cromwell did his work very thoroughly—yet the Irish slipped through his fingers.
“No churches?” they said. “Very well. We’ll take our faith outside.”
And they did just that. While Cromwell’s henchmen searched the obvious places for illegal Catholics, the Irish faithful were faraway in some obscure ravine or hidden valley praying the Holy Mass.
That’s how the famous Carraigeacha an Aifrinn—the “Mass Rocks”—came into being.
The Irish faithful found broad rocks with a good lookout view, and priests consecrated the stones as altars for Mass. In mossy forests, on windswept hillcrests, in salt-tanged headlands, the Holy Mass was prayed on rocks and boulders of every size.
Every county in Ireland housed Mass Rocks, most of which were marked with a small cross. In fact, thousands of these secret altars were established, but most of them remain undiscovered to this day. In all, only about 400 Mass Rocks have been identified.
Remind yourself of the love of Christ which fueled the Irish’s plucky defiance of Cromwell whenever you don this beautiful Celtic Cross necklace. With striking black and gold contrast and four elegant trinity knots, this pendant reflects the majesty of the Blessed Trinity and the strength of our faith in Him. Imported from Ireland. Available today at The Catholic Company!