Tributes have been paid to Archbishop Charles J Brown following the announcement that he has completed his term as Apostolic Nuncio to Ireland.
Archbishop Eamon Martin, Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland said, “Since arriving in Ireland in January 2012 as Apostolic Nuncio, Archbishop Charles Brown has endeared himself to so many people in Ireland. The Nuncio has travelled the length and breadth of the island, serving Pope Francis and previously Pope Benedict as the representative of the Holy See.
“Thanks to his ‘down to Earth’ and friendly nature, many Irish people have had the opportunity to meet with the ‘Pope’s ambassador’ and chat to him about the living Church in Ireland. I know that he has very much appreciated and valued this interaction.”
Archbishop Eamon said that Archbishop Brown’s Irish ancestry has meant that he had an innate interest and understanding of so many aspects of the Church here and in a short space of time he got to know the issues and struggles of the Church in Ireland and was able to affirm and encourage countless people, religious, priests and parish workers.
He said, “For me, his energy, courtesy, openness, warmth and cooperativeness have exemplified the style of Pope Francis. I will miss him personally and I thank him for his generous service here in Ireland. I wish Archbishop Brown well and assure him of our prayers in his future posting.”
Bishop Kevin Doran, Bishop of Elphin said that Archbishop Brown came among us as a diplomat, at a time when diplomacy was really needed, but he came with the heart of a pastor. He said, “Over the past five years, he has challenged us and encouraged us in equal measure.
“I first met Archbishop Brown when he came to visit the staff at the 50th International Eucharistic Congress office, shortly after his appointment to Ireland. During that busy period he was very supportive to us and was ready to do anything he could to help. In much the same way, around the time of my appointment as a bishop, I found him very approachable and encouraging. He has visited the Diocese of Elphin on five or six occasions over the past three years and always seemed to have plenty of time to meet people, young and old alike.
“As many people will be aware, Archbishop Brown had to devote a significant amount of energy to the renewal of the Episcopal Conference. In the past five years, eleven Episcopal appointments have been made in Ireland and the process is under way for seven more. This work will have to be completed on someone else’s watch, but that is the nature of the Church. As Saint Paul says, I planted the seed in your hearts, and Apollos watered it, but it was God who made it grow.
“While I am sorry that Archbishop Brown will soon be leaving us, I am delighted that the Catholics of Albania, who have suffered so much in the past, will have him among them as the personal representative of Pope Francis. I wish him every blessing in his new mission and hope that he will occasionally return to visit us.”
Bishop Fintan Monahan, Bishop of Killaloe said, “Archbishop Brown has deep roots in the Diocese of Killaloe with his ancestors hailing from the parishes of Killanena and Tubber. The Nuncio has been a welcome visitor to us many times since taking up his appointment in January 2012. His warm, friendly and open manner have won him many friends and admirers here in the Diocese of Killaloe. He clearly loved coming to the diocese and was always willing to listen carefully and engage meaningfully with all those whom he met.
“It is these same Irish roots that gave him a deep appreciation for the lived faith experience of the Irish people and it was a privilege for me to be accompany Archbishop Brown as a fellow pilgrim in Knock, and on pilgrimage to Croagh Patrick.”
Bishop Monahan said that Archbishop Brown came to Ireland at a challenging time in Church – State relations and through his tireless efforts has done much to renew and strengthen relations between Ireland and the Holy See.
Bishop Monahan went on to say, “On a personal level I would like to thank Archbishop Brown for his kindness to me at the time of my appointment as Bishop of Killaloe last year. His words of encouragement, support and advice certainly made it easier for me to respond positively to Pope Francis’ invitation to become Bishop of Killaloe.
“I would like to take the opportunity to express my gratitude to him for his service to the Church in Ireland during his tenure here, and I wish him every blessing as he prepares to take up a new appointment as Apostolic Nuncio to Albania.”