Burning Bush Tabenacle removed from The Friary
A well-known work by distinguised artist Brother Benedict Tutty from Glenstal Abbey has been removed from the Friary in Wexford.
The work, the Burning Bush Tabernacle, was installed at the Friary during refurbishments in the 1980s.
Benedict's artwork has been exhibited at the Irish Exhibition of Living Art, the RHA in London, New York and the Salzburg Biennale.
The Friary, founded by the Franciscans in 1230, was confiscated in 1540 upon the Dissolution of the Monasteries and then returned to the order in 1622.
The present church, has an attractive stucco ceiling and since the 1980s, works by Irish contemporary artists, including Benedict's striking modern sculpture.
Friary Guardian Fr Ciprian Budau said the tabernacle had been taken away because a majority of people attending Mass thought it was out of keeping with the Friary.
'They thought it was something that didn't really fit with the architecture, they thought it was confusing,' he told this newspaper, 'the tabernacle has been replaced with one which includes two angels in worship as well as having space for the eucharist.
He said the Burning Bush Tabernacle had been given to a man who arranges for such religious iconcry to be re-located in appropriate places.
'It could be going to the brothers in Croatia or Bosnia-Herzogonvina or to retired priests who want to have a private chapel, with the permission of the religious authorities,' he said.
The Grey Friars announced back in 2006 that they were taking over the running of the Friary and the church when the last remaining Francisan was re-assigned after the Franciscans said they were unable to properly run it because of dwindling numbers.
Fewer vocations and an increasing number of sick and ageing friars led to the crisis, according to the then Provincial of the Franciscan Order in Ireland, Fr. Caoimhin O Laoide.