synod address2010
Synod Address

Address at the Clogher Diocesan Synod held in St Macartin’s Cathedral Hall, Enniskillen by the Right Reverend Dr Michael Jackson.

… looking in the mirror …


Sometimes it is a series of events and a particular succession of people which bring you to your senses – and you can, in fact, do nothing more than accept it and thank God for all of it. Otherwise, any of us might just carry our own sorrows and anxieties, our inner emptinesses, on into the next day and the next. And emptiness becomes bitterness. We might never have any sense of that vital connecting and belonging to others whose identity we must respect, whose lives we must treasure and whose inner thoughts we will never penetrate or appropriate. Religion at its worst and most predictable seeks to control others on our own terms. Religion at its best gives abundant life to us and to our neighbours in God’s name. Christianity, with its strong double emphasis on the individual and the group, needs always to embrace such abundant life. As the Anglican Communion to which we belong in perfect freedom, keeps reminding us: The truth shall set you free.

Let me just give you one example. It was the end of a long day, the culmination of four services in succession, bringing with them that inevitable combination of exhilaration and exhaustion. Three human tableaux, with glorious humility and humble glory, emerge and re-invigorate you, even more because you simply did not expect them, and, coming from the hand of God, they come seemingly from nowhere. The first is a young girl with a disability who is more than capable, with the combination of self-respect and determination, to see through all aspects of her Confirmation with dignity and rejoicing; and when you talk with her afterwards there is that glow of pride which knows nothing of personal vanity. The second is a family who know what they want: a family photograph, whatever effort it takes on the part of everyone involved. The situation is such that one parent is terminally ill and, as we all stand together, both the young person confirmed and I each gently take a hand of this parent. I think to myself in admiration that this girl is instantly asked by God to dig deep into the Gifts of the Spirit which God has given her no more than forty minutes earlier in the Service of Confirmation. Once again, there is deep pain but intense happiness. The third is a family who carry the pain of searing loss, and for whom a complicated situation and combination of circumstances makes the occasion of confirmation an accumulated sadness, because one of their children, now deceased, will never be confirmed in this life; he simply cannot be, because he is dead and buried – but the other members of the family are bravely present at the confirmation of others. One of the parents in particular needs to talk, not about this particular issue, but, as so often is the case, around it again and again. Something in the flow of conversation and the reassurance to continue, gives him the courage to voice his conviction that heaven, if not necessarily a place or a location, is a relationship in Christ Jesus which, although fractured for him, is not shattered.

All of this happened in the one place. What struck me then, and what strikes me now as I share it with you here today at the Synod of Enniskillen, is that in a real sense many of you, not least the clergy here, will see this as not in fact my business because I was not the rector of the parish to the people of which I have referred. I, however, might disagree. All of this happened after what might be considered or seen to be the main event, in this case, the Service of Confirmation itself. These, I would argue, are the human situations, the range of realities with which people here and elsewhere grapple daily and which are the points at which God meets them and they meet God. Each of them separately, and all of them together, reinforce for me, if I needed such reinforcement, the wisdom embedded in two popular sayings, the one of which I heard on the radio:
‘ Don’t tell me what you believe. Show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe’
and the other which appears on a church notice board:
‘ The meek shall inherit the earth – if it’s alright with you.’
We do not broker religion. It is from God for other people, not for ourselves alone.


Christianity on earth is always, in a very real sense, lived in the mirror. Instantly, we recall the words of St Paul about seeing darkly and looking expectantly towards the time when we shall see face to face. (1 Corinthians 13) But there is also the other strain of thinking which ties together Old Testament and New Testament with Jesus Christ in a very powerful way, as the chief cornerstone and pivot of interpretation. The theological instinct – surely a good one – to see everyone made in God’s image and likeness feeds through and finds fresh voice in the other Corinthian suggestion, namely that we see reflected and radiated in the faces of other people the face of Jesus Christ. In this way, the revelation of God continues; the revelation of God in Christ Jesus takes us behind and beyond the superficial. It draws us into a continuing stream of revelation of who God is. It does so not only through who we are, but through who other people are, whoever they are, already in Christ. The lens is widened and at the same time the resolution is sharpened. And so we discern people and things previously hid from our eyes.

I suggest that we do not do enough of this. I suggest that all of us could do better. We have in many worrying ways become conformed rather than transformed, to use another useful pair of words from St Paul: conformed too much not only to the world in which we live, but also to the church as we have made it and to the Bible as we have limited it; transformed too little into the people whom Jesus wants us to be. These are misunderstandings of the truth itself as something dis-closed to us, un-covered - often obliquely, through a glass darkly even - but never in fact purchased, owned or controlled by us as what one hymn-writer calls private treasure. One of the Post-Communion Collects early in the Season of Trinity expresses this need for a working understanding of image and mirror well: Give us a glimpse of your glory on earth, but shield us from knowing more than we can bear until we may look upon you without fear.
Again, I think here, right here, is something we have lost. We are too sure of being entitled to our own anger in dealing with other people. At the same time, we are too convinced that Jesus sits beside us on the sofa, that God is in our pocket and that, by doing the leg-work, we are the brokers of salvation. This is a big mistake. Too much of our parochial life is built on it. God is God in all God’s majesty and munificence.

Too much of our effort is driven by a quest for conversion and too little by a thirst for transformation. Both are vital in the dynamic of salvation, but playing them off against one another does not help us, going forward, as they say. Throughout world-wide Anglicanism there is emerging, and in fact it is happening both within and across the fault-lines, a clear recognition that there is a new urgency for kingdom values and for holiness of life. Matters of such magnitude are, perforce, going to bring to the fore high stakes and deep emotions. There are many ways of describing unity and union. Static and organic are two such ways. Let me explain. With the one, everything is standing in a row, in a line and we know where we stand with it all: that is static. With the other, there is movement, unpredictability and change but, most important, growth: that is organic. That’s why for different types of people these work in different ways. The static gives stability; the organic gives adventure. Stability provides a settled environment in which we can grow. Adventure gives us scope for movement in many directions and for the versatility to what is happening around us. Since coming to live and work in this diocese, I, like you, have lived with the uneasy truce and fractured polity which is today’s Anglican world and Anglican Communion. I was once conditioned to think that the problem was: human sexuality. Then I was conditioned to think that the problem was: the interpretation of Holy Scripture. It is not that I do not know what to think. Rather, I now think that the problem is a need to recognize that, as people of God, we are called to live in and out of the church all the time. The world will not go away and we as followers of Jesus Christ are called not to turn our backs on it. The influences which come to bear on us, young and old alike, are such that wise discernment is needed at all times, and yet real events happening in our time dictate the pace and the shape of events themselves – as they always have done and always will do. No longer will any one solution suit any given range of people.

Let me take a couple of examples which may seem to have nothing specific to do with religion. The first is the BP oil spillage in the Gulf of Mexico, an event which remained out of control for months. For a very long period there seemed to be no definitive solution. The quest for truth and justice is rarely neutral; in this case it was driven, as much as by anything else, by one American president’s political need not to get it so spectacularly wrong as did his immediate predecessor in responding to a natural catastrophe in the one geographical area. Most of us will have been outraged by the ecological damage. Fewer of us will have foreseen immediately the spin-off which has brought us to the point of impact on pension funds world-wide, of the freezing of dividends and the pursuit of compensation by restauranteurs across the length and breadth of the United States of America for loss of revenue derived from the virtual collapse of shell-fish supplies. Another example is The Saville Report. For thirty-eight years there has been a cry and a plea for truth. The immediate response to that was one rapidly compiled Report, deemed almost universally now as then to be grossly inadequate. In this year there has been a second extensive Report, now deemed to contain with painstaking accuracy detailed evidence of what happened on Bloody Sunday as it will ever be called. Our sympathy continues to go out to those who suffer not only from the events but from the continuing dredging of painful memories. My congratulations go to the church leaders whose compassion and courage enabled them to be with the people of the city of Derry on the day of the publication of the Report and to give them a gift of powerful symbolism as an expression of love. Few of us will ever forget the speech made by Mr Cameron in the Westminster Houses of Parliament on the day when the Report was shared with the world. But this Report too has caused controversy and outrage to abound.

Both of these, and you could doubtless maximize examples from your own experience and insight, leave us with explanations of the truth which maybe satisfy some but certainly do not satisfy everyone. It is bound to be so and it is bound to spill over into church life. We need to ask ourselves the really difficult question: If there is now room for me, why can I, in turn, not make room for others? We hope that the truth will solve our problems – it never has nor ever will it, on our terms. The truth, let us remember, and as Holy Scripture tells us, shall set us free. This is a far cry from the truth giving us the answers we feel we deserve or telling us the sort of things we want to hear. We live in a world of open-ended information. Coping with it demands a lifestyle-change and the replacing of a desire to control the flow of information by a desire and willingness to commit to its consequences. Truth offers scope for maturing of commitment.

Too often we are led to concentrate on what we stand for without also keeping in our mirror and before our eyes those we stand by and stand alongside. This is the shift of commitment which our society today greatly needs and, as members of the Church of Ireland, we need to be pro-active in playing our part and in initiating change. This is the shift of commitment which takes us along the path of salvation from conversion to transformation. The gift of God as God to the individual becomes invested in others. But it takes us as people further than this. It also takes us behind a superficial understanding and expectation of ourselves, as well as of others. In responding to the hotly-contested Report of The Consultative Group on the Past, I along with others called for the need of a new moral framework in Northern Ireland. My cry still goes largely unheeded. Am I to conclude that Christian people either have nothing to offer or simply do not want to offer it? Are we contented by the level of The Peace? Are we once again settling for the recognition that it suits us a great deal better because it does not really affect us? And a further question: Does sectarianism itself, somehow, rather suit us? Try and tell that to residents of Aughnacloy! Try and tell that to three small children in Lurgan! Try and tell that to certain serving and retired members of PSNI! Try and tell it to the thousands of people who remain at the mercy of ever-younger gangland godfathers! The picture may be sporadic but the cumulative evidence is cause for serious alarm. Sectarianism still sells at a premium right across Ireland. But, you see, this time we have no excuse. Many of us have lived through earlier Troubles. Many of us lived through the searing consequences of suffering, bullying, fragmentation and victimhood. Many of us carry a bitterness which does not enhance our lives when we stand back and look at ourselves in that mirror.

Churches need to become less sentimentalizing. Churches together need to recognize that Christendom as a political and social reality is long dead. Churches need to be pro-active in enabling a newly-configured society to clear away the newly-encrusted sectarianism and to create space for those who take risks and offer fresh capital and new value. Churches need to come out from under the shadows and the cobwebs and do the sort of things which we have already been considering: looking in the mirror, offering the mirror to others so that we can both look in the mirror, looking beyond the mirror together to show compassion and to give direction.

From time to time, there is discussion and indeed tension about whether the parish or the diocese is at the heart of our understanding of who we are. As Anglicans we don’t have the luxury of an either/or. We are both and we need both. I imagine, to the surprise of many, the fact is that the earliest churches in the Greek tradition, in immediately post-Biblical times, clearly had more rather than fewer bishops. They also envisaged a diocesan area which the bishop could readily cover on a Sunday for baptisms and the celebration of Holy Communion. The bishop was, and remains, both an administrative and liturgical focus living pastorally and teaching theologically - and that has nothing to do with the personality of the individual, whether you like the bishop or not. Again, this tangible link is maintained to this day as a living thing, particularly in the Act of Institution of an incumbent and in the fact that a bishop depends on the pro-active good will of priests and deacons in the setting forth of the work of God on earth in parishes. One of the glories of the parochial system is that, on a smaller geographical scale but with the same spiritual intention, it leaves nobody out in the cold. Most of the people I meet are proud of their parish and rejoice to be members of Clogher Diocese. Parochialism may well be something that causes frustration to many but it does model a belonging in mutual affection and trust without which we would simply be a gathered congregation scattered and dotted in unstructured sequence across the countryside.

It was with the recognition that parish and diocese belong together in an organic way, and that both are people and places of witness and mission, of worship and action, that the Sustentation and Finance Committee of the diocese set about its work through a highly committed and pragmatic Working Group to review and revise the provision of diocesan finances for the future. This is not recession-driven. It has come out of a pro-active desire to safeguard local life and witness across the diocese within the parishes. From this flow a number of considerations about which we need to be clear. Significant differentials between and among incumbencies largely become a thing of the past. Incumbencies are treated equally: an incumbency is an incumbency. Those which fall into problems in meeting their Assessment will be able to receive a subsidy over a period of ten years to re-establish spiritual life in such a way as to get to the point where the Sustentation annually can be met in full from within the parochial giving at local level. This introduces a radical, creative new component. This affords the opportunity for fresh missional activity in a parish as the lifeblood of its very existence. This provides scope for growth – spiritual, numerical, financial – all of which when taken together are exciting. The Financial Scheme 2011, which I welcome and endorse wholeheartedly, is not only about money. It is about spiritual life. And I encourage you all to welcome, endorse and enact it. From this Scheme, as I am sure you have already discerned, will flow a number of exciting ministerial possibilities which will deepen and widen the life and the witness of parish and diocese together.

It is important that Members of Synod be aware of the dedication shown and expended on your behalf by those who serve on Committees of the Diocese. This holds across a broad and significant range of activity – indeed many members of Diocesan Committees are here today and know exactly what I mean. I am always impressed by the ways in which members of such Committees do their work, dependent as they are on the support and energy of members of our parishes. The Working Group on the Financial Scheme 2011 met seven times in the year past and reported regularly to the Sustentation and Finance Committee and they, in turn, to the Diocesan Council. The Working Group was not operating in a vacuum but was working on comments made at a variety of levels within the diocese of recent years about the existing Scheme. A number of points is worth making again. The first is that the new Financial Scheme is uniform across the diocese and simplified. Secondly, the principle of pooling is maintained and two further outcomes are achieved: Assessment is not increased on the majority of incumbencies and, furthermore, not linking Assessment to parish population removes any incentive for creative census figures; it opens up the opportunity for active numerical growth in parishes. Thirdly, the diocese will continue its support of the financially weaker parishes, setting in place arrangements whereby such parishes receive financial support from the diocese. Fourthly, the capital funds are invested for both current and future benefit in the long term. All of these considerations, as I have already said, offer us a uniform and simplified Financial Scheme in the diocese as we enter the decades ahead. Again, I encourage you to welcome, endorse and enact this Scheme.

I spoke earlier about the relationship between the parishes and the diocese and between mirror and mirage. If such words sound rather speculative late on a Thursday afternoon in September to people who have travelled from far to be the Diocesan Synod of 2010, let me give them hands and feet in the form of an illustration. Three Groups of people from the parishes of Clogher Diocese and beyond have, in a period of eighteen months, gone on pilgrimage to the Holy Land. I have had the delight and privilege of organizing and leading these groups along with the Reverend David Skuce and the Reverend Glenn West. Not only have these journeys in faith enabled everyone who participated in them to hold up a mirror to their own faith and, in that mirror, see with greater clarity and vision the face of Jesus Christ in their own lives; but they have seen also the face of their neighbour in their own faith. I am not referring only to the experience of walking the walk, if you think I am only talking the talk, in the idiom of a former British Prime Minister; but to the instinct for structured and selfless generosity on the part of countless people in the parishes of the diocese and the wider community flowing out from these Pilgrimages. St Luke’s Hospital, Nablus was founded as a missionary hospital on 24th May 1900. It is in the Biblical city Sychar, traditionally where Jacob’s Well is, where Jesus met the Samaritan woman as recorded in St John chapter 4. To this day, St Luke’s Hospital, very much in the spirit of the Evangelist, seeks out the stranger in the name of Jesus Christ and offers healing. It remains very much a missionary hospital. Along with offering modern medical facilities through the health system, it offers free of charge to all and any comers medical services one afternoon a week.

In a spirit of generosity and appreciation both of the plight and of the witness of the Christian people of the Holy Land, a Committee was established for The Holy Land Medical Relief Fund in Clogher Diocese comprising: The Reverend David Skuce, Mrs Una Bourke, Mrs Ethne McCord, Mrs Olive Elliott, Dr Jenny Scott and Miss Isobel Stewart. Within a year, this Committee has raised sufficient funds for us to provide and supply two open system incubators and two neonatal monitors to St Luke’s Hospital, Nablus and a stress test system, an ECG recorder, a defibrillator, an emergency trolley and a vital signs monitor to a new Cardiac Clinic in Ramallah, an outreach of St Luke’s, as the first phase of giving. None of this would have been possible without the enterprise and flair of the Members of the Committee and their generous commitment to this cause. But it would not have been possible without the ways in which a number of parishes and individuals and members of the total community rowed in behind us – whether it was Christingle in Maguiresbridge, bag-packing in Tesco, sitting out in Belleek, coffee-morning in Belle Isle and Rossorry, Strawberry Tea in the Manor Garden Centre, Lisnaskea, proceeds from book launches and a whole range of creative and ingenious ways of bringing this message to those who wanted to give to this cause. None of what we have given in terms of medical equipment may seem spectacular to you, but when you have seen, as have I, twenty-five year old incubators held together by sellotape, you get a clear sense of the commitment of the people on the ground and the urgency of their need. To all concerned – in parish, diocese and community – I wish to say: Thank you for looking into the mirror and seeing the face of Jesus Christ and of your neighbour.

In the immediate aftermath of last year’s Diocesan Synod, I went to the Diocese of Kaduna in the Province of Nigeria where I was welcomed with great warmth and affection. Here again there is a good news story for the people of Clogher Diocese. We had already helped with irrigation and the development of farming and now there was a brand-new building which can accommodate sixty people, with a courtyard and large room for meeting and worship, ready for dedicating on Jacaranda Farm. My time there was set in the heart of mission: a three-day workshop involving Mothers’ Union, medical personnel and clergy on HIV/AIDS; time in villages where doctors and evangelists work hand in hand; frequent preaching and a large three-day Advent Rally for the diocese of the Kaduna Province attended by more than five thousand people. The dedication of Clogher House was a very special moment. I know the sense of gratitude, but even more than that the joy, at being remembered and honoured by fellow-members of the Anglican Communion in this way, and following from Archbishop Josiah’s times with us here in Clogher. Again my thanks go to all who have made this possible and especially to the Committee comprising: The Reverend Noel Regan, the Reverend Henry Blair, Mrs Una Bourke and Mrs Adele Moore. Continuing generosity on the part of Miss Valerie Irwin through the proceeds of her own publication: Four West Clogher Churches – a History to Kaduna in the field of education shows us that a Project never dies, its spirit continues.


Today we remember with respect and affection our friend Mr Ivan Loane whom we buried yesterday. Ivan served with utter faithfulness as a Member of Diocesan Synod, Diocesan Council and the Finance and Sustentation Committee, as well making the time to show his commitment to the parish of Cleenish. Our thoughts today are very much with Martha his wife. Three of our well-known clergy have retired since the Synod of Drumkeeran. They are the Reverend Chancellor Eric McGirr, rector of Magheraculmoney; the Reverend Precentor Dr William Johnston, rector of Trillick and Kilskeery and, most recently, the Reverend Canon Dennis Robinson, rector of Aghavea. All three have decided to live in retirement in the diocese after giving significant parochial service and contributing in a broad range of ways to wider diocesan life. Canon Robinson has for many years now been Diocesan Representative on The Bishop’s Appeal Committee; the Reverend Noel Regan has kindly agreed to succeed him in undertaking this role. The Very Reverend Kenneth Hall, formerly rector of Brackaville Group of Parishes in the Diocese of Armagh, has been instituted rector of Enniskillen and already I have much for which to thank him, in that we meet today as the Diocesan Synod in the parish which is his and mine. He will be installed dean of Clogher at a service in Clogher Cathedral on Friday October 15th at which the Primus of Scotland is to be the preacher. The Reverend Bryan Martin, formerly rector of Dromore, has left to be incumbent of Donaghcloney and Waringstown in the diocese of Dromore. Bryan worked to build up the Diocesan Board of Mission and for this I thank him. I am delighted to say that the Very Reverend Kenneth Hall will take the chair of this Board. The Reverend Kyle Hanlon has decided to step down as Bishop’s Chaplain and I wish to thank him for all his loyalty and imaginative thinking in this area. The Reverend Anita Kerr succeeds him.

Among our ordinands, the Reverend Lorriane Capper has established herself with confidence in Drumragh Parish (Omagh) in the diocese of Derry. Both Stephanie Woods and Naomi Quin continue with considerable distinction in the Master of Theology course for ministerial training. In the Church of Ireland we have a training and formation programme which is increasingly the envy of other parts of the Anglican Communion and it is most gratifying that two members of our diocese are right in at the beginning, making their contribution and giving every bit as much as they are receiving. Mr John Woods, a third ordinand and member of Colaghty Parish, has already joined them in his first year of residential training.

We offer our best wishes in retirement to Bishop Joseph Duffy, Roman Catholic bishop of Clogher, who has a record of outstanding service, leadership and commitment in his home diocese in education and pastoral care. He has also shown dogged confidence and detailed attention to liturgy and aesthetics in the re-ordering of Monaghan Cathedral in line with Vatican ii. As any who have seen it will appreciate, it is a modern-and-traditional liturgical space all in one within a building of massive and breath-taking proportions. The best artists and craftspeople of the day have been used to tremendous effect. But most of all I wish to thank Bishop Duffy for his friendship to us and to me personally. We welcome Bishop Liam MacDaid, no stranger to us either, as Bishop Duffy’s successor. He has many years of experience in the pastoral, educational, legal and administrative aspects of Clogher Diocese. All of us who attended his episcopal ordination in Monaghan Cathedral are so appreciative of having been invited and we remember vividly an unforgettable day in the life of a gentle man of great courage. Both Bishop MacDaid and Bishop Duffy have always been a joy to work with. I look forward to many years of fruitful collaboration with Bishop MacDaid and should like to take, ladies and gentlemen Members of Synod, a message of good will and blessing from here today to him.

We continue to appreciate the work of retired clergy and Readers who make it possible for us all to be members of a Diocese which runs with efficiency and where worship continues in a regular cycle, availing of the talents of those who generously give of themselves Sunday by Sunday. In June of this year in Clones Parish Church three new Diocesan Readers, Mr Keith Browne, Mr Roy Crowe, Mr Karl Saunders, and three new Parochial Readers, Ms Lindsay Coalter, Mrs Joan Nelson and Miss Isobel Stewart, were commissioned and admitted to their work in diocese and parish respectively. We are also very appreciative of the work of Diocesan Pastoral Assistants – a form of ministry unique to the Diocese of Clogher in the Church of Ireland - who, as lay people, bring a richness of human experience to pastoral ministry in parishes across the diocese. To all of you: Thank you.

To our Synod today we have pleasure in welcoming The Reverend David Cupples and Mr Noel Baxter of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland from Enniskillen and Pettigo congregations respectively; The Reverend Peter O’Reilly and Mr Gerry Burns of the Roman Catholic Church from Enniskillen; The Reverend Samuel McGuffin and Mr Mark Kenyon of the Methodist Church from Enniskillen as Official Guests. I trust that Members of Synod will join me in welcoming you all. We look forward to the time which you share with us this evening and the thoughts which you will share with us.

Throughout this year, as last, we have been blessed by a very effective Diocesan Office. Glenn Moore and Ruth McKane do sterling work on behalf of the diocese and its parishes always with helpfulness, good humour and kindness. In all areas they have worked tirelessly. I want to single out the ways in which they have maximized our diocesan communications. News of what is happening in Clogher across diocese and parish regularly appears across the range of print media and website. Both deserve our thanks for everything they have given, so often beyond the call of duty.


Parish and diocese together: as I make my way from parish to parish across the diocese, I meet people in a broad range of situations and my impression is of groups of people and individuals committed to the present and future life of the church. The pioneering work which we undertook under the title: Whatever you say, say nothing …in the spirit of The Hard Gospel is all the more urgent as the initiative soon to be launched in this very town of Enniskillen on the reality of rural sectarianism by a member of this Diocesan Synod shows. Bishop MacDaid and I shall both be participating in that launch. It is always important to hold before us the question at the heart of The Hard Gospel: Who, then, is my neighbour? The question is not: Who do I like? or: Of whom do I approve? The response to the question is embedded in the instinct to show kindness as shown by the Samarian traveller in a dangerous situation. We continue to explore The Hard Gospel under the guiding hand of The Reverend Earl Storey through the generosity of the Irish Government’s Department of Foreign Affairs. This initiative is well under way. It involves meetings of clergy across the denominations and through other encounters of people who are committed to making our society work locally to the enrichment and fruition of all. I ask you to remember that question: Who, then, is my neighbour? and to answer it with an open heart: Whomever I meet can be for me a mirror of the person of Jesus Christ today.

The spirit of Clogher is well summed up in the hopes given voice in Collect for St Macartan’s Day: building and strengthening of the church, Gospel proclamation and leadership, reconciliation and peace in society today. These three are at the core of our being and form the mirror before us when we enter church and when we leave church, when we leave home and when we return home. Of us God asks only that we do not go after a mirage when before us is the mirror consisting of the face of Christ. I ask you to pause in silence, seated as you are, as I say and pray with you the Collect of St Macartan:
Heavenly Father, we thank you for Macartan, faithful companion of St Patrick, and builder of your church in Clogher: Build up your church through those whom you call to leadership in this generation and strengthen your church to proclaim the gospel of reconciliation and peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

+Michael Clogher: 30.ix.2010