These last two Sundays we've been celebrating the feasts of the patrons of two of our three churches. It was the Conversion of St Paul last week and St Brigid this week. I think it's important to mark days like these. Someone said to me after Mass that he'd learnt more about St Brigid today than he ever knew before. The saints are part of the family of the Church; their statues, images etc are similar to having photos of your loved ones in your home. I can't understand people (especially priests) who seem to be uncomfortable with this kind of thing. Like so much in our Catholic theology and spirituality it's an extension of the Incarnation - if the second Person of the Trinity can be born in Bethlehem among the animals, then a woman in Ireland 1500 years ago can certainly teach us about our faith and life.
In this icon you can see two of the symbols associated with Brigid. She carries in one hand the Cross of St Brigid fashioned from reeds. You'll find one of these in many Irish people's houses. In her other hand she carries a flame, commemoratinmg the eternal fire that was kept burning at her community in Kildare for a thousand years. If you want to find out some more about St Brigid, try the website of the Sisters of St Brigid in Kildare, her hometown http://www.solasbhride.ie/