Two priests from the Diocese of Meath attended the closing session for the Cause of the Canonisation of Servant of God Alphonsus (Alfie) Lambe which took place in Buenos Aires on 26 March 2015.
Fr Oliver Skelly and Fr Martin Halpin were present at this key event in the beatification process of the Tullamore born Legion of Mary envoy, who died in Argentina in 1959. The documentation relating to the process has been transferred to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, Rome.
Also present were Cardinal Mario Aurelio Poli, Archbishop of Buenos Aires, Fr Fray Luis Glinka, Sr Isabel Fernandez and Mr Justin Harman, Irish Ambassador to Argentina.
The very brief Wikipedia article entitled “Alphonsus Lambe” used to end with the words “The cause for his canonisation was opened in 1978”. Now there is a second clause to that sentence on Wikipedia: “and was closed on 26 March 2015”.
For thirty-seven years members of the Buenos Aires Tribunal worked diligently and patiently for the Cause, supported by the prayers of many members of the Legion of Mary from Ireland and throughout the world.
“The life of Alphonsus Lambe was like a meteor. It flashes suddenly before us, soaring to giddy heights, but hardly have we admired its splendour than it is gone”. These words from the foreword to the biography Alfie Lambe Envoy Extraordinaire by Hilda Firtel introduces us to the young envoy of the Legion of Mary who, through God’s grace, did so much work on the continent of South America to bring people to Christ through Mary.
A native of Tullamore, County Offaly, Alfie, as he was known to his family and friends, was born in 1932, the year of the first Eucharistic Congress to be held in Ireland. Always interested in reading and acquiring knowledge, Alfie wanted to teach and spent time in formation with the Irish Christian Brothers at their house in Marino, Dublin. Delicate in health, he decided to leave and returned home where he worked in Salts Factory, Tullamore. At this time Alfie was introduced to the Legion of Mary and invited to be its envoy in South America. He left Shannon for New York on 16 July 1953, the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel and later in the month flew to Bogotá, Colombia. From there he travelled to Ecuador, Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, Brazil and back to Argentina where he died on 21 January 1959 and is buried in La Recolletta cemetery, Buenos Aires. As a result of Alfie’s work in South America, the Legion of Mary is thriving in that continent and with God’s help will grow stronger still.
The Meath Tribunal into the Cause of Canonisation of the Servant of God Alphonsus Lambe was opened at the Parochial House in Trim on 10 March 1991 by order of the Bishop of Meath, Most Rev. Michael Smith. Statements were taken from twenty-one witnesses and these statements were subsequently transported to Argentina.
Alfie Lambe died at the early age of twenty-six, yet what he did in his short life on this earth is nothing short of miraculous. His enthusiasm and zeal for bringing people to Christ through Mary make him a role model for young people, members of the Legion of Mary and all Irish men and women.
(Fr Oliver Skelly, Vice Postulator of the Cause)
Prayer for the Beatification of the Servant of God Alphonsus Lambe
O God, who by your infinite mercy
inflamed the heart of your servant, Alphonsus Lambe
with an ardent love for you and for Mary, our Mother;
a love which revealed itself
in a life of intense labour, prayer and sacrifice for the salvation of souls;
grant, if it be your will,
that we may obtain, by his intercession,
what we cannot obtain by our own merits.
We ask this through Jesus Christ, Our Lord, Amen.