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A new year in our dioceses

For many of us, this has been our first normal beginning to a new year since 2020 and life has been busy for our parishes and dioceses as they enter into 2023!  We hope you enjoy reading a selection of stories (below) from each diocese around our island.


Visitors to the Hill of Armagh included An Tánaiste Micheál Martin and Mrs Shirley Lennon from the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust who joined Archbishop McDowell for a conversation about the importance of remembrance and respect.  The dioceses also said a warm goodbye to Archdeacon Terry Scott on his retirement.

Cashel, Ferns & Ossory
Bishop Adrian Wilkinson has now been enthroned in all six of his cathedrals, finishing with St Canice’s, Kilkenny (as pictured below).  He has also welcomed his new Roman Catholic counterpart as Bishop of Ossory, Niall Coll, and conducted the diocese’s first ordination of this year, that of the Revd Ciarán Kavanagh (as Ordained Local Minister).
“Cathedrals have an attractiveness which draws people in,” Bishop Wilkinson writes for this month’s diocesan magazine. “They are places of significance, where Christian worship has been carried on for many centuries. They have both an enduring quality and a sense of sacred space.”

The ever– popular Clogher Diocesan Big Sing was held on Sunday evening, 29th January, in St Maeldoid’s Church, Muckno, Castleblayney.  A large congregation drawn from across Monaghan, Fermanagh and adjoining counties was treated to a wonderful evening of favourite hymns, Gospel songs and community singing.  A cheque for £6,000 from the Dean of Clogher’s Christmas sit–out was presented to Mr George Irvine, for Air Ambulance Northern Ireland, at a recent morning service in St Macartin’s Cathedral, Enniskillen.

‘Capturing the Past’, an intergenerational history project led by Heather Carson, from the Church of Ireland in Lower Shankill, has created a lasting legacy.  A podcast featuring stories collated by the parish Young @ Heart Group, with local parishioners and schoolchildren along with artwork and recordings of old Belfast songs, is now being shared with other groups (see photo below).  Other major stories have included the launch of Lisburn Cathedral’s 400th anniversary year and the commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the loss of MV Princess Victoria.

Cork, Cloyne & Ross
On Saturday, 28th January, Bishop Paul Colton held a Morning Vigil at Cloyne Cathedral to pray for the vacant parishes in the Diocese, and also for vocations to lay and ordained ministry.  St Mary’s, Carrigaline, led by Canon Elaine Murray, has curated a programme of events for the coming year to celebrate its bicentenary.

Derry & Raphoe
Holy smoke was present in abundance in Castlerock Parish Hall, on Monday evening, as one of Northern Ireland’s leading celebrity chefs, Paula McIntyre, put Bishop Andrew Forster and Rev Chris MacBruithin through their paces at a ‘Can’t Cook, Won’t Cook’ contest in aid of parish funds.

Down & Dromore
The ‘Transformations’ video series features 40 stories of God at work in Down and Dromore, told to us by a real mix of people from around the diocese.  This will be shared on its website and social media channels from from Ash Wednesday until Palm Sunday.  The diocese has also been sharing stories of youth work each Friday over recent weeks.

Dublin & Glendalough
Calary Parish’s connection with a project supporting street boys in Nairobi is to be recognised in the naming of a new dining hall (pictured under construction, below).  Calary in Glendalough has a long–standing relationship in supporting Sr Mary Killeen, who has worked in the Mukuru Slum in Nairobi, Kenya, for many years.  Meanwhile in Dublin, the historic St Matthew’s Church in Irishtown which has been at the heart of its community for over 300 years is setting its sights firmly on the future with plans for a major restoration.

Kilmore, Elphin & Ardagh
The diocese is delighted to welcome Hannah O’Neill back to the diocese in her new role in the Sligo Centre of Mission.  Hannah is 31 years old, from East Belfast but for the last four years has been living and working in Craigavon as the Youth and Kids Pastor at Hope Church in Down and Dromore Diocese.

Meath & Kildare
The dioceses greatly appreciate the committed ministry of its diocesan lay readers, some of whom recently joined Bishop Pat, along with our joint Directors of Ordinands (Canon Alastair Graham and the Revd Ruth O’Kelly) to discuss the continued growth and development of the ministry. They spent the morning together, before finishing with lunch at the Bishop’s House.

Tuam, Limerick & Killaloe
Exploring the grand narrative of Scripture – God’s big story – the Bible, provides an awe inspiring perspective into how God is moving through history – a story that spans millennia and we are part of it!   The Dioceses of Tuam, Limerick and Killaloe is supporting a retreat by Marian Edwards and Sr Marion Dooley FCJ next Saturday, 25th February, on this theme at the Holy Hill Hermitage, Skreen.

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