Whitsunday Cross-Community Service
Whitsunday Cross-Community Service

On Sunday afternoon 23rd May, the Day of Pentecost, people from across the diocese of Clogher came to Clones for the annual Cross-community Service when we gather to receive together the Holy Spirit. Bishop Joseph Duffy explained in his address that Clones is understood to have begun as a monastic settlement around 500 AD when St Tighernach founded his monastery. This grew to be the most significant monastery in Monaghan for many centuries. From a later period, the tenth century, we derive the Round Tower and the Cross, the latter of which now stands in The Diamond.

Bishop Michael Jackson drew attention to Pentecost as a Jewish Harvest Festival where those who gathered in Jerusalem celebrated the giving of the Torah which is the significant point of definition for the Jewish people. He explored how, in light of the Scriptural text which lies at the heart of the Christians’ celebration of Pentecost, that is, Acts chapter 2, Pentecost is also a point of definition, but differently. It does not supersede the Torah but gives voice to core values in Christian identity: the outpouring of the Spirit of God inspiring individuals within communities and inspiring whole nations; gathering and disseminating in terms of worship and mission as the heartbeat of Christianity; old and young, women and men, slaves and free without distinction prophesying, dreaming and envisioning; the courage to stand up when being diminished for articulating one’s faith.

Bishop Noel Treanor explored particularly the imperative to justice embedded in the narratives of creation. He spoke of the difficulties in discerning and holding fast to this connection, not least in respecting the earth as a spiritual ecology. Mission, he also argued, remains an essential vector of justice properly understood in this way. Bishop Treanor, bishop of Down and Connor, is a native of County Monaghan and of Clogher Diocese. Monsignor Liam MacDaid, Bishop Duffy’s successor, also was present as were the clergy of Clones. Tea was served to everyone afterwards in The Protestant Hall.

Revd Helene Steed, Rector of Clones; Bishop Joseph Duffy, Bishop Michael Jackson, Bishop Noel Treanor; and Canon Larry Duffy, Parish Priest of Clones.