Two weeks ago, we celebrated here the ordination of Father Kevin Connolly. In our joy, we prayed that he would be a faithful servant of Christ. Today, we gather to give thanks for fifty years of faithful service by Bishop Liam MacDaid.
Gratitude is our overwhelming feeling; gratitude for God’s call and for Bishop Liam’s generous response.
From his earliest years as a footballer, Bishop Liam was always considered a tight marker, a safe pair of hands, and a real team player. A defender in the full back line with his club, St Joseph’s (Bundoran & Ballyshannon); it’s said that one would need passport clearance to get past him!!
A student for the priesthood during the Second Vatican Council (1962-65) and ordained in June 1969, he became a priest when renewal and change was in the air in society and, especially, in the Church.
Bishop Liam never sought position, but was always given and accepted responsibility as a teacher and college dean, a school principal, then Diocesan Chancellor and, finally, as Bishop of Clogher.
Bishop Liam, we gather to say thanks for your years of service. We were blessed by your wisdom, your ability to listen, your sense of humour and your spirit of compassion.
A story is told about a man on his way to heaven. He is stopped by the recording angel who enquires: “Show me your wounds”. The man replied: “Wounds, I have no wounds”. And the angel said: “Did you never think that anything was worth fighting for?”
Eucharist is at the heart of priesthood. When Eucharist is celebrated, God walks among his people. He invites us to open the door of our heart and welcome him in.
But Eucharist is also a challenge; a challenge to live life for others like Jesus Christ did; to be a kind and caring neighbour to all. A challenge to accept that the road from Jerusalem to Jericho passes through our home, our parish, our community. It is a challenge for us, like it was to the Good Samaritan; to see that we are called to have compassion, and to go the extra mile when need calls.
Yes, it is in this that the recording angel recognises the wounds of our service.
Bishop Liam, as a diocese we were privileged to have you as our bishop. I know that I speak on behalf of the clergy and laity when I say that the news of your retirement came as a great source of sadness to us. But, if your years were short, your influence was great and lasting.
I’d like to conclude with part of a reflection that is close to your heart. It comes from words attributed to Saint Oscar Romero (1917-1980) and it invites us to take a step back and to take the long view.
“We plant seeds that one day will grow.
We water seeds already planted, knowing that they hold future promise.
We lay foundations that will need further development.
We may never see the end result, but that is the difference between the master-builder and the worker.
We are workers, not master-builders; ministers, not messiahs.
We are prophets of a future not our own.”
Bishop Liam, may the Holy Spirit be the guide of your future, and may that future be a blessed and happy one.
Notes for Editors
- Bishop Larry Duffy is Bishop of Clogher.
- This homily was delivered on Sunday 14 July in Saint Macartan’s Cathedral, Monaghan.
- Bishop Liam S. MacDaid was ordained a priest on 15 June 1969 at St Patrick’s College, Maynooth. He was Bishop of Clogher from July 2010 until October 2016 when his retirement was accepted by Pope Francis on the grounds of ill-health.
- The Diocese of Clogher encompasses all of Co Monaghan, most of Fermanagh and portions of Tyrone, Donegal, Louth and Cavan. It has a Catholic population of 88,000, across 37 parishes, which are served by 58 priests and 1 deacon. There are 85 churches in the diocese and the Cathedral church is St Macartan’s in Monaghan. Bishop Larry Duffy is the Bishop of Clogher since 10 February 2019. St Macartan is the patron saint of the diocese.
- Photographs from the Golden Jubilee Mass are available on clogherdiocese.ie.
For media contact: Catholic Communications Office Maynooth: Brenda Drumm 00353 (0) 87 310 4444.