In a bid to recognise The Feast of the Circumcision of Jesus which from 1568 to 1960 was called “The Circumcision of the Lord and the Octave of the Nativity” and celebrated on the 1st January, over 5000 Tyrone men have agreed to be circumcised on that day with many opting for public ceremonies.
Although the Church have distanced themselves from the event, many theologians have backed the initiative as an honourable attempt to overturn the decision of Pope John XXIII’s in 1960 who renamed the day by omitting any reference to circumcision.
One volunteer from Cappagh, Pat Rice (61), maintains he is a little bit nervous but reckons it sends a message out to today’s youth that Christianity is still alive and well in mid-Ulster:
“I admit I’ve had a few sleepless nights thinking about it, especially as ours is being carried out in the middle of the local football field on the back of a lorry. But the organisers promise the crowd will be told to stay behind the fence and there is a ban on zooming devices such as cameras or binoculars. I’ll throw a few half’uns into me first and it’ll be dead on.”
The largest group appears to be in Ardboe with over 900 men agreeing to the circumcision. Gardener Leo Tomney agrees that it sends out a positive message:
“Young ones nowadays have lost their way. They’d rather stay in the house on their computers instead of going to Devotions or doing a stint at the Missions. By showing them that we’re proud of our faith and are willing to undergo open-air surgery, maybe it’ll turn a few back to the light. I’ve a new pair of jeans and all for the big day.”
200 nurses will be on standby throughout the day.