Vos estis lux mundi non potest civitas abscondi supra montem posita. Neque accendunt lucernam et ponunt eam sub modio sed super candelabrum ut luceat omnibus qui in domo sunt. Sic luceat lux vestra coram hominibus ut videant vestra bona opera et glorificent Patrem vestrum qui in caelis est.
Jesus of Nazareth
A great Light illuminating the World has been kindled, raised on a candlestick, shining over the whole earth, a royal city well fortified and set on a hill, in which there is a great population who belong to God.
Hymn to Saint Patrick… Bangor Antiphonary.
The mural by Kenneth Webb in Bangor Abbey was commissioned under the guidance of Canon James Hamilton. The use of the triangle, denoting the Holy Trinity, pervades the whole design and leads us upwards from the figures of Comgall, Columbanus and Gall in the foreground to the central figure of the Ascending Christ. The features of Christ are those of a Black person, emphasising the mystic nature of the Son of Man. He is conceived as giving His Last Command:
” Go ye into all the World and preach the Gospel”
As High Sheriff of Belfast and a Board member of the Ulster-Scots Agency in August 2011, I attended the Milwaukie Irish Fest at the Henry W. Maier Festival Park, Milwaukie, Wisconsin, USA with two senior Officers of the Agency, Michael McCullough and Maynard Hanna and the historian Gordon Lucy..I went to three lectures at the Hedge School. The first was by Dr Patrick Taylor, originally from Bangor, now living in Canada. He presented his book An Irish Country Doctor , a novel in his Dr Laverty series, which have been very popular throughout North America. I met him with his wife in the volunteer transport arranged by the Festival Committee, of which James O’Fee would have been proud. Together we recited the School Song of our beloved Bangor Grammar School:
Comgall noster, Columbanus,
Sanctus noster, Gall, Britannos
Deo laus et gloria.
Sana mens in corpore sano
Hic quaeratur et humano,
Quisque sit discipulus animo
Ne pavidus exeat.
Laboraturus inter pares,
Fidem quolibet lauturus.
Our own Comgall and Columbanus,
our own St. Gall
made the Britons Christian.
May Bangor flourish –
To God be the praise and glory.
Here, in this place, let a sound mind and a sound
body be sought, and let every
pupil be of a civilized spirit.
Let him go out without fear,
to work among his fellows,
and to carry his faith with him
I was accompanied by my friend Gordon , a Portora Royal scholar who was suitably impressed by our Latin pronunciation . He gave the second lecture at the Hedge School, US Presidents of Ulster Origin And remarkably the third lecture was by an old colleague of both mine and James O’Fee, Sandy Smith, C.S. Lewis: Irish Images as a backdrop to His Worlds. The only person missing here, of course, was James himself, but through the miracle of the modern Internet, that is not really a problem.