Joint statement to mark the Feast of Pentecost


Bishop Larry Duffy and Archdeacon Brian Harper.

The following is a joint statement from Bishop Larry Duffy, Roman Catholic Bishop of Clogher and Archdeacon Brian Harper, Church of Ireland Archbishop's Commissary for Clogher Diocese.

‘You send forth your spirit, they are created;
and you renew the face of the earth’ (Psalm 103 (104):30)

On this great Feast of Pentecost, when all Christians celebrate the descent of the Holy Spirit on the Church, we send our warmest greetings to all the people of the Diocese of Clogher. In doing so, we pray that the Holy Spirit will continue to guide and renew us in love and fellowship as we journey together on the way.

For nearly 20 years now, our Churches have marked this great feast by coming together for an Ecumenical Service of Prayer, usually held outdoors at a site associated with the earliest days of Christianity in these parts. By doing so we give thanks and praise together to God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit and our joint prayer acknowledges and draws from the tradition of Christian faith that we in these parts have inherited from the time of St Patrick and St Macartan.

Sadly, this year the onset of the Coronavirus Covid-19 has forced us to postpone our coming together in the physical sense. It is our intention, however, with God’s help, to hold our service at a venue in the northern end of the diocese later in the year.

Despite all this, our prayer is as intense as ever as we place before the Lord our needs and the needs of the world at this time of great distress for so many. We remember especially those who have died, those who mourn their loss and those who are ill or have been affected in any way by this terrible virus. We also give thanks to God for the gifts and work of so many who work in healthcare, other frontline workers including clergy - and the many people of all ages in our community who, through their generous self-giving at this time, give witness to the living power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ in our midst.

This time of isolation also enables us to prayerfully reflect on what we share. Our baptism brings us into the very life of God in Jesus Christ, enabling us to share in his divine love, ‘marking us with his seal and giving us the pledge, the Spirit, that we carry in our hearts’ (2 Cor. 1:22). As Christians, we have been trying our best to do that in many respects and in different ways over recent months; through our online celebrations and worship, our outreach to the vulnerable and those who mourn and the shared voice of the leaders of the main Churches in Ireland, working together. This time also allows us to appreciate still more the gift of creation, our common home, and to see and experience how nature is praying with us, through the singing of the birds, the flowing of the waters and the beauty of the flowers and plants all around us. We are all connected. God rejoices in us!
As we mark the end of the Season of Easter, let us remind ourselves that, in the recent words of the Archbishop of Canterbury, ‘The good news of the resurrection of Jesus Christ pierces the darkness of despair and solidifies our hope in eternal life in Him.’

May we always give thanks; may we always allow ourselves to be renewed and to shine through the love of God that is patient and kind, and may we continue to do all we can ‘to preserve the unity of the Spirit by the peace that binds you together’ (Eph. 4:3).
Peace be with you! (John 20:19)

+Larry Duffy Archdeacon Brian Harper