Archbishop praises people’s faithfulness as he looks back over his nine years in Clogher diocese


Archbishop John McDowell speaking at his farewell evening.

A special farewell evening for Archbishop John McDowell to mark his departure as Bishop of Clogher took place on 25th March via the Zoom platform.

The event was full of nostalgia, of thanksgiving, fellowship and spiritual devotion.

The Service of Compline and the farewell and presentation was brought to the computer screens and tablets of more than 160 participants and viewers in their own homes via the Zoom platform. The event had been delayed from last year due to the Covid-19 restrictions.

Hosted by the Archbishop’s Commissary, Archdeacon Brian Harper and organised by Diocesan Secretary, Glenn Moore, the evening began with a short video showing various aspects of Clogher Diocese with photographs of Archbishop John’s involvement in many different spheres of diocesan and community life all narrated by Glenn Moore.

This was followed by many tributes from 30 people working or serving within the diocese as well as those with a connection with Clogher Diocese representing various aspects of civic society, politics and community life.

The speeches referred to the Archbishop’s gifts of being an eloquent speaker, his punctuality when holding meetings, his encouragement of youth work in parishes, his compassion and pastoral care, his legacy of abiding memories, his qualities of faith, integrity and humility, his encouragement of inter-church relations, as an adviser to many, helpful and approachable and his leadership qualities.

The Service of Compline from Page 154 from the Book of Common Prayer was pre-recorded and all serving clergy in the diocese took part in the readings and prayers. The address was given by Archbishop John McDowell.

Archbishop McDowell responded to the tributes from people representing many aspects of life in Clogher Diocese, as he spoke from Armagh.

He said he and his wife, Mary and daughter, Dorothy, were exceptionally happy in the Diocese of Clogher, an area he had not previously known very well. He said they had got to know it much better after their time here.

He said; “All I wanted to do was to be faithful and create a sense of family in the diocese. We managed to get things done.”

He said he could not have done anything without the support of a very strong team of lay and clerical people in the diocese.

“Above all, I want to thank all those faithful lay people who continued in their faithfulness to God and to their churches. A lot of people who through a very deep affection for their churches kept the spirits alive. I want to thank all of you for what you have done and contributed to building up the body of Jesus Christ.”

Archbishop McDowell singled out confirmations of young people as being an important aspect of his ministry as bishop and said this gave him an enormous amount of pleasure to him as did his work with fellow clergy.

Archdeacon Brian Harper said Archbishop McDowell gave great encouragement to young people and wished to thank him for his pastoral care offered to his clergy and others and for his diplomacy and faith. He said his time in Clogher had been a time of blessings for many.

Archdeacon Harper said that the Archbishop had begun his new role in Armagh at such a difficult time with the Covid-19 pandemic but he said he had the prayers of the people of Clogher Diocese for his work in the leadership of the church in Ireland in the time ahead.

The Archdeacon made a virtual presentation of a gift on behalf of the people of Clogher Diocese to Archbishop John.

Archdeacon Brian Harper who hosted the event.