The Diocese of Clogher, through its energetic and innovative youth ministry organisation Clogher don Óige, last week staged three impressive performances which reviewed the journey of people over the past one hundred years and set out some of the challenges for the period ahead. All of this was done in the light of the Christian faith and the experiences of people, past and present. The performances were held in Saint Macartan’s Cathedral, Monaghan, on Tuesday and Wednesday night and in Saint Michael’s church, Enniskillen on Friday night.
On Tuesday evening, Bishop Liam MacDaid, Bishop of Clogher, who initiated the events, spoke of the value of such a reflective production. He linked it to the reality of the Christian journey of life as celebrated recently in the paschal mystery of Christ’s death and resurrection. He was particularly fulsome in his praise of the Clogher don Óige team and their leader, Father Martin O’Reilly. Father Martin was the producer of the event and will be stepping down shortly from his Clogher don Óige role after thirteen years. Bishop MacDaid also paid tribute to the part played by the fundraisers for the event in every parish and also the support from Rita Shah and the Shabra Charity group.
The special guest on Wednesday evening was the Minister for Arts, Heritage & the Gaeltacht Heather Humphreys T.D. The Minister spoke on the value of such a celebration in terms of reflecting and remembering the events not just of 1916 but of the past one hundred years. She said that the commemorations belong to all people. She went on to acknowledge the key role played by Churches of all traditions, especially in the Diocese of Clogher, in the peace process. She said: “Clogher Diocese was one of those most affected by partition, with its territory being divided on an almost fifty-fifty basis. Even some parishes, such as Clones and Roslea, were divided by the border. These territorial divisions mirrored divisions of identity, based mostly along religious lines. And yet, despite these divisions, people came to co-exist.”
Speaking at the Enniskillen event on Friday night, Monsignor Peter O’Reilly PP VG, congratulated Bishop MacDaid on his vision and initiative in taking up the challenge to reflect. He saw the event in the context of the ongoing journey of all the Churches in Enniskillen working together. He was joined by the Dean of Saint Macartan’s Cathedral (Church of Ireland) in Enniskillen, Dean Kenny Hall, who also addressed the gathering, expressing his thanks for the invitation and pledging to continue on the journey of working together to making the kingdom of Christ a reality in our communities and our lives. An apology for inability to attend was received from the Church of Ireland Bishop of Clogher, Dr John McDowell.
Speaking also in Enniskillen, Bishop MacDaid said that the reflection was one for the whole Christian Church and that the ecumenical journey in which we are all involved will continue. He also said that the event and its organisation was a clear statement of the capacity of the diocese to achieve results.
The events offered a mixture of archival film, beginning with the 1916 Rising and the Battle of the Somme, through the War of Independence and Civil War, the creation of the two States on the island of Ireland and the reality of people’s lives during the decades that followed. The various political, social and religious events from the late 1960s through to today were also reflected. All of this was accompanied by song, dance and lighting and theatrical sound effects.
All events were very well attended.