In this Jubilee Year of the Holy Name, the Papal Nuncio, Archbishop Charles Brown, was in Galway on 20 May to celebrate the feast of the Franciscan saint Bernardine of Siena, the Apostle of the Holy Name, at the Poor Clare Monastery.
After celebrating the Eucharist he also launched a new range of the blue IHS tiles which are commonly seen on many older houses in Galway city. The photo shows Archbishop Brown, Bishop Martin Drennan of Galway, Fr Feargus OFM and the nuns as the IHS tile is placed over the monastery door.
The tradition dates back to St Bernardine. The tile with the IHS, from the shorten form of the name of Jesus in Greek, is put in place as a sign of faith and of the Lord’s protection and blessing.
The tradition was taken up in Galway in 1914 by a Franciscan, Fr Francis Donnelley. “There’s always been a kind of mystique surrounding the blue tiles and also some peculiar theories as to what they meant,” said Poor Clare Abbess, Sr Colette. “This is a good chance to affirm that they do not indicate Garda stations!”
Franciscan Fr Francis Cotter noted: “The Holy Name tiles are a subject of interest not only from a religious point of view, but also from the perspective of local heritage and social history.”
The existing tiles have been photographed and www.holyname.ie is linked to another website containing a comprehensive catalogue of pictures of the tiles from around the country.
The new tiles are available from Bothar Emmaus Christian Bookshop, An Tobar Nua, 25-29 Lower Dominic Street, and through www.holyname.ie