MACARTAN 1500 - The Diocese of Clogher celebrates

St Macartan

An editorial in the Church of Ireland Gazette

The Archbishop of York, the Most Revd John Sentamu, is currently visiting the Diocese of Clogher (Thursday 23rd until Mothering Sunday 26th March) to take part in the diocese's celebrations of the 1,500th anniversary of St Macartan. During the four-day visit, the archbishop has been scheduled to preach and speak on a number of occasions throughout the diocese and to meet with clergy and lay people, members of the Mothers' Union and students from various schools in Co. Fermanagh and Co. Monaghan. The importance of this visit will be recognized at a reception hosted by Fermanagh District Council.

The Bishop of Clogher, the Rt Revd Michael Jackson, who invited Dr Sentamu to his diocese, said that Archbishop Sentamu had 'much to teach us in understanding the place of the Church in today's world'. This is indeed a major event, not only in the life of the Diocese of Clogher but also in the life of the Church of Ireland.

Comparatively little is known of St Macartan, to whom both cathedrals in Clogher Diocese are dedicated. He is said to have been an early disciple and companion of St Patrick during the latter's missions into pagan territory and to have been consecrated by him as the first Bishop of Clogher. It is said that St Brigid, believed to be Macartan's niece, was present at the founding of the see. Macartan can teach us much about the importance of companionship in mission, as well as about the need for perseverance in following the path to which God calls each of us. Such themes do not change in relevance for Christian disciples, even after as many as 1,500 years.

In coming to the Diocese of Clogher at this special time in the life of the diocese, the Archbishop of York may well be following quite closely in the footsteps of St Patrick, who, prior to his captivity as a young man, may have lived in the north of England. Like Patrick, Archbishop Sentamu adheres to a rich biblical faith which has withstood many trials and tribulations in his own personal life. His cross-cultural gifts of communication of the good news of the Gospel, like those of Patrick himself, are well-known, and surely he will bring both inspiration and encouragement to the many Church people, both clergy and laity, whom he will meet.

From the Church of Ireland Gazette, 24 March 2006

© 2006 The Church of Ireland Diocese of Clogher