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Holy Week and Easter round–up from around the Church of Ireland

This year’s joint Holy Week and Easter message from the Archbishops of Armagh was shared on Palm Sunday, with a focus on peace–building and marking the 25th anniversary of the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement.  The Church Leaders Group produced prayer resources to help parishes and congregations in their respective denominations to mark this anniversary, and a statement from the Irish Inter Church Committee also reflected on the occasion.

Also on Palm Sunday, Bishop David McClay brought Down and Dromore’s Transformations video series to a close with a focus on those being raised up as leaders in the diocese.


Maundy Money honours years of service

Congratulations to Joyce Bond, who, along with her husband John, former Dean of Connor, was at York Minster Cathedral on Maundy Thursday, to receive the Royal Maundy from His Majesty King Charles III.  Joyce, a long–serving member of Mothers’ Union, was nominated for the honour by the Bishop of Connor, the Rt Rev George Davison. She is one of 74 women and 74 men to receive the Maundy Purse this year.

Warmest congratulations to Miriam Hull and Dr Irvine Lavery MBE, who travelled to York Minster Cathedral last week to receive the Royal Maundy from His Majesty King Charles III.

“For me, the most important part of all of it was the opportunity to identify with Jesus, who washed the feet of his disciples and then told them – and us – to do the same,” Miriam said. “As I was thanked by the King for my service to God, I came away simply wanting to serve Jesus more.”

Irvine added: “I was humbled to be amongst so many worthy servants of our Lord.” He and his wife Sandra both felt that “the service itself was one of the highlights of our lives. We will treasure the memory for ever.”

Two people who have contributed significantly to their local communities in Clogher Diocese over many years were nominated by Bishop Ian Ellis to receive Maundy Money.  Mrs Hilary Keys, a leading member of St Macartan’s Church of Ireland Cathedral, Clogher, and Mr Paddy Maguire, a member of St Michael’s Roman Catholic Church, Enniskillen, travelled to York for the service.

Mrs Keys has worked tirelessly within Clogher Parish in various roles from parish recorder and select vestry member, to Mothers’ Union branch treasurer and co–ordinator of the Grouped Parishes Knit, Stitch and Natter group as well as being a leading committee member of the local Cancer Focus group and a long–time member of the local Women’s Institute.

“It took me a couple of days to get over the shock,” said Hilary, who is Rector’s Churchwarden at Clogher Cathedral, about receiving the letter with the news.

Mr Maguire has been involved in education circles for many years having served as a vice–principal and now for at least eight years as chair of a local school board of governors. He has also written and published a book recently on his classmates from school days in St Michael’s College.  He appreciated the significance of the cross–community aspect of his nomination: “It was a big surprise and something I would never have thought of.”

His career in education began firstly as a teacher for more than 20 years in St Mary’s Secondary School, Irvinestown, holding the post of vice–principal for most of that time. He then moved to the Western Education and Library Board, working in curriculum development and as a schools inspector, and led the team introducing the Computerised Local Administration System for Schools (CLASS) project in schools across the board area before it was expanded across Northern Ireland.

Leaders renew commitment in Chrism services

Clergy and lay readers from across Connor Diocese gathered at Belfast Cathedral on the morning of Maundy Thursday, at the invitation of Bishop Davison for a service in which they renewed their ordination vows.

Clergy and lay ministers from across Dublin and Glendalough gathered with Archbishop Michael Jackson in Christ Church Cathedral on the same morning for the traditional Chrism Eucharist for Maundy Thursday. The service was sung by the Cathedral Choir and during it lay ministers, deacons, priests and the Archbishop renewed their commitment to ministry.  With the focus of the service on Maundy Thursday on service, Archbishop Jackson washed the feet of a number of clergy and in turn had his feet washed. Oils were also consecrated.

The annual Chrism Eucharist in Cork, Cloyne and Ross was held again this year on Maundy Thursday at Noon in Saint Fachtna’s Cathedral, Rosscarbery. People from all over the diocese gathered to celebrate together, to renew their commitment to their ministry, and for the blessing of the oils used in the pastoral and sacramental aspects of their ministry in the coming year.

Cashel, Ferns and Ossory’s Chrism Eucharist took place in St Canice’s Cathedral, Kilkenny, and was led by Bishop Adrian Wilkinson:

Good Friday & Easter

On Good Friday, the Revd William Jeffrey, Rector of Lisbellaw (Clogher), observed the commemoration of the death of Jesus by carrying a cross from the rectory to the church to begin three hours of silent prayer and readings, to mark the period that Christ spent on the cross.

He left the rectory after 11.30am followed by a number of parishioners, walking up the main street to the church arriving at midday.  Churches throughout Clogher Diocese held Good Friday services before the Easter Day services which for some, began at sunrise in various locations throughout the diocese.

The Church of Ireland and Catholic Archbishops of Dublin brought the powerful message of Good Friday to the streets of Dublin city Centre that evening. Archbishop Jackson and Archbishop Farrell carried at Taize Cross across the city in what has become a firm ecumenical Good Friday tradition.

The Archbishops of Armagh led a short prayer service in the centre of Armagh on Saturday, marking the 25th anniversary of the Agreement:

An Ecumenical Stations of the Cross procession took place in Tuam for Good Friday. Bishop Michael Burrows this year provided an Easter reflection by video:

The ‘Three Windows in Holy Week’ is similarly a reflection by Bishop Adrian Wilkinson:

Archbishop Jackson shared his Easter message on Saturday and preached in Christ Church on Easter Sunday. “The Day of Resurrection holds together baptism, death and resurrection through the glory of The Cross,” he concluded. “Its scandal remains our hope.”

Among the Easter dawn services was one led by Bishop Wilkinson at Stradbally Hall, Co. Laois:

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