Bishop Liam S MacDaid’s Ordination ceremony address
25 July 2010
Bishop Liam S MacDaid’s Ordination ceremony address – embargoed until 4.30pm Sunday 25 July 2010
Your Eminence Cardinal Brady,
Your Excellency Archbishop Leanza, Apostolic Nuncio to Ireland
My brother Bishops and Archbishops,
Taoiseach Brian Cowen,
Tánaiste Mary Coughlan,
Brother priests, sisters and friends.
Cuirim fíorchaoin fáilte roimh ár gcuairteoirí uile. Tá lúcháir orainn, muintir na deoise, go bhfuil sibh inár measc inniu.
Courtesy binds me to offer some well-deserved acknowledgements. For over two months, an organising committee under the direction of Fr. Shane McCaughey, and powered by the priests of Monaghan parish, have been hard at work preparing for to-day, helped by advice and assistance from the diocese of Down and Connor. They were ably supported by the Diocesan Communications Officer, Fr. Noel McConnell and the Secretarial Staff at the Diocesan Office and at St. Macartan’s College. You have all seen the excellent outcome of their work. On everybody’s behalf, I compliment them and thank them.
To-day’s Ordination Ceremony was directed by a Diocesan Liturgy Committee, chaired by Fr. La Flynn, and composed mainly of lay helpers, with Deirdre Macklin taking responsibility for Music. Thank you for a splendid celebration. The work of the Liturgy Team was complemented by an Artistic and Design Team led by Fr. Padraig McKenna and assisted by P.J. McCabe and Eileen Mooney.
Chuir sibh blas agus snas ar gach a bhain leis an ócáid. Maith oraibh!
To all others who assisted on the day from the Choir, the Gardaí, members of the Red Cross and Civil Defence, the Knights of Columbanus, the Boy Scouts, Members of Faith and Light, The Floral Team, the Cathedral ushers to Clogher don Óige volunteers and students from local second-level schools – your courtesy and attention to our guests in seeing to their needs and making them feel welcome were much appreciated.
I would like to thank Cardinal Sean Brady, Principal Consecrator, for leading the Ordination Ceremony and Bishop Noel Treanor, Assistant Consecrator, for his challenging and inspirational reflections.
I have a sense that most of the faithful of our diocese would wish me to speak a word of encouragement to all the bishops present. Our people are very much aware of the heavy burden of responsibility you have had to carry in recent years as many of you were called to imitate your Master in carrying the sins of others. Your courage and fidelity in keeping resolutely on the road to Jerusalem in spite of all that awaited you have been admirable. Beidh paidreacha an phobail libh i gcónaí mar thaca.
A special word of acknowledgement and gratitude is due to Bishop Joseph Duffy of our own diocese, who retires to-day with over fifty years of service as priest behind him and thirty one years as Bishop of Clogher and member of the Irish Episcopal Conference. Ní thiocfadh liom, taobh istigh de cúpla bomaite, cur síos ar gach éacht a rinne sé. Any list of achievements would include the enormous contributions he made nationally in the fields of Liturgy and Communications where he acted as spokesperson for the Hierarchy during many difficult years. All the while he kept a steady hand on the wheel of the diocesan ship, encouraging, inspiring and always making himself available to his priests. He was never afraid to take bold steps such as re-ordering this Cathedral, overseeing major developments in the diocesan colleges and encouraging new structures for diocesan and parish administration and development. He encouraged adult faith education, the development of new norms and structures for the safeguarding of children and directed the modernisation and expansion of the Lough Derg Pilgrimage. Tá fhios agam go bhfuil pobal agus cleír na deoise ar aon liom chomh maith leis na heaspaig uile nuair a ghabhaim buíochas leis as ucht a bhfuil déanta aige ar son beatha na heaglaise sa tír iomlán agus inár ndeoise féin. Guímis sláinte úr agus rath Dé air anois go bhfuil deis aige a scíth a ligint.
To Bishop Michael Jackson and to members of other Christian Churches, your presence with us to-day is welcome and appreciated. Over many years, there have been lots of initiatives to bring our members together, some from leadership down, many from the ground up. Bishop Duffy and Bishop Jackson have established a warm and solid foundation of respectful friendship. I will be very pleased to continue that tradition and try to hasten the day when Jesus Christ’s prayer for unity among his followers may become a reality.
Tá áthas orainn go raibh an Taoiseach, an Tánaiste agus aide-de-camp an Uachtaráin ábalta bheith linn chomh maith le ionadaithe eile polaitiúla agus poiblí.
We all seek to serve the public and the common good. We can do that in a spirit of mutual co-operation and respect. Jesus himself acknowledged that there is a sphere that belongs to Caesar and one that belongs to God. But if Jesus Christ is Lord, and he is accepted as Son of God by the majority of the citizens of our country, then the welfare of our people in both jurisdictions as expressed in public legislation would surely be best served if we listen with respect to what Jesus Christ has to say about life and values.
Turning to family, relatives and friends; in his poem, ‘Memories of my Father’,
Patrick Kavanagh wrote:
‘Every old man I see
In October-coloured weather
Seems to say to me:
I was once your father.’
In another poem ‘In memory of my Mother’ he wrote:
‘You will have the road gate open, the front door ajar
The kettle boiling and a table set
By the window looking out at the sycamores –
And your loving heart lying in wait
You will know I am coming though I sent no word
For you were lover who could tell
A man’s thoughts – my thoughts – though I hid them –
Through you I knew woman and did not fear her spell.’
To-day is certainly a day for acknowledging parents, family, relatives, friends, teachers, classmates, neighbours, workmates and playmates. We all have people in our lives who formed us, nurtured us, shared with us, taught us, cared for us, corrected us, healed us, held us, laughed with us, advised us, cried with us, inspired us and loved us. To those who are present and to the many who are absent – go dtuga Dia grásta daoibh go léir ina bhealach féin.
Tá am tae ag brú agus roimh scarúint ba mhaith liom labhairt bomaite le pobal agus cléir ár ndeoise feín. We are constantly reminded of terrible failures we have had to come to terms with in the Irish Church. Human weakness and failure have been with us and documented from the beginning – Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel, leaders like David and even Peter himself chosen by the Lord. The coming of Jesus Christ himself was a response to failure, to redirect us, to save us and set us on the right path again.
Society has forced us in the Irish Church to look into the mirror and what we saw were weakness and failure, victims and abuse. The surgeon’s knife has been painful but necessary. A lot of evil and poison has been excised. There comes a time when the surgeon’s knife has done what it can, is put away and a regime of rehabilitation for the patient is put in place.
We have been brought to our knees but maybe that is no bad thing. It can bring us closer to the core of the mystery. Jesus was on his knees when he washed the feet of the disciples. This was the last and definitive gesture he left us before he celebrated the meal which was to become our Eucharist. There was no room for privilege, for earthly pomp or power or for lording it over anyone. In the strength of the Eucharist and led by the Spirit of God we were to walk humbly before God and serve one another unselfishly and without discrimination. This was to be the well where we were to be nourished spiritually in a way that would lead us to eternal life.
So while society keeps the mirror in front of us and rightly checks that we are sincere in our intentions and efforts towards rehabilitation, can I invite you, priests and people of the diocese of Clogher, to join me in a repentant return to the well of salvation. The journey will include for many facing the enormous challenge of forgiveness. Despite his intense suffering, Jesus forgave those who mocked, spat at, scourged and abused him. One of the co-crucified could not bring himself beyond abuse and excluded himself; the other rose to embracing forgiveness and was welcomed into the kingdom. There are many painful experiences in life where only forgiveness can bring closure.
We have a distance to travel but we have the Way, the Truth and the Life to guide us. Many years ago Patrick Kavanagh penned a poem entitled ‘House Party to celebrate the Destruction of the Roman Catholic Church in Ireland’
Her book was out, and did she devastate
The Roman Catholic Church on every page!
And in Seamus’ house they met to celebrate
With giggles high the dying monster’s rage.
In far off parishes of Cork and Kerry
Old priests walked homeless in the winter air
As Seamus poured another pale dry sherry.
My dear priests and people of the diocese of Clogher there are two symbols which I wish to recall from to-day’s ceremony – the laying on of Hands (symbol of the guiding Spirit of God) and of the Book of the Gospels (the Word of God). Let us embrace these gifts and make our way together to the well of salvation. There we are assured we will find living water which will nourish the spirit as well as the body. It will be water which we can safely offer our children; water which will protect our universe as well as enriching the quality of our lives and leading us to everlasting life. In the words of to-day’s Gospel, “anyone who wants to be great among you must be your servant, and anyone who wants to be first among you must be your slave, just as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
“In far off parishes of Cork and Kerry
Old priests walked homeless in the winter air.”
In selecting a motto for my crest, I chose Per Christum Dominum Nostrum. We are the instruments, God does the work. May God the Father bless our journey, Jesus Christ be our Model and the Spirit of God our guide. Glóir don Athair, don Mhac agus don Spiorad Naomh, mar a bhí ar dtús, mar atá anois agus mar a bheas go brách tré shaol na saol. Amen. Go raibh maith agaibh.
+Liam S. MacDaid
Bishop of Clogher
Fr Noel McConnell, Media Liaison Officer, Diocese of Clogher 00353 (0) 877860730
Martin Long, Communication Office, Maynooth, 00353 (0) 86 172 7678