Bishop Fleming welcomes President Biden to Saint Muredach’s Cathedral in Ballina

17 Apr 2023


On 14 April, following his public address in front of Saint Muredach’s Cathedral in Ballina, Co Mayo, the President of the United States of America, Mr Joe Biden, was received into the Cathedral by Bishop John Fleming, Bishop of Killala.  During his visit, President Biden was shown the baptismal entries of his great-great-grandfather, Patrick Blewitt and two of his siblings.  President Biden was also shown the Minute Book that recorded the construction of the Cathedral in the early 1820s.  The President lit a candle in memory of the Blewitt branch of his family and blessed himself with Easter water from the font in which his ancestors were baptised.

Greeting of Bishop John Fleming to President Joe Biden

Mr President,

Your great-great-great-grandparents, Edward and Mary Blewitt, brought their children to this Cathedral for baptism.  In successive generations, your ancestors, including your parents, brought their children to baptismal fonts in your country, continuing the tradition of faith that began in this Cathedral.

The Paschal Candle 2023 represents Christ, the Light of the World.  Your family has carried that light from this place to the New World and I now invite you to light a candle from the Paschal Candle in their memory.  I also invite you to bless yourself with Easter water from the font in which your great-great-grandfather, Patrick, was baptised.

Let us pray.

God, Our Father, we thank you for the gift of faith and the gift of eternal life which flow from the waters of baptism and the Resurrection of your Son.  Give eternal life to Neilia, Naomi, Beau and to the generations of the President’s family who have gone to you.  May the waters of baptism continue to bless the generations of his family to come with that same gift of eternal life.  We make our prayer through Christ Our Lord.  Amen.