Canon Brian McCluskey (third from left) with his fellow priests including Monsignor Ambrose Macaulay (right) Photo: Fr Hugh Clifford
CANON BRIAN MEETS THE POPE
Michael Fisher Northern Standard Carrickmacross News Thursday May 28th
Canon Brian McCluskey, a native of Inniskeen, has returned from Rome after celebrating the 55th anniversary of his ordination. The highlight of his return to Italy was to participate in a private Mass at the Vatican concelebrated by Pope Francis. They were joined by five other priests who were clerical students with Canon Brian at the Pontifical Irish College in Rome in 1960.
The other members of the group were Fr Kevin McMullan (Belfast); Monsignor Jim Kelly (Adare and Brooklyn); Fr Phil Doyle (Tarbert, County Kerry); Fr Brian Twomey SPS (Ashford, County Wicklow and Stirling) and Monsignor Ambrose Macaulay from Cushendall.
Canon McCluskey is a retired priest of the diocese of Clogher, now in his 80th year and living in South Belfast, where he assists the Parish Priest of St Brigid’s, Fr Eddie O’Donnell. Monsignor Macaulay was Fr O’Donnell’s predecessor and five years ago he celebrated the 50th anniversary of his ordination along with Canon McCluskey. The Mass in Belfast in 2010 was attended by the former Bishop of Clogher, Dr Joseph Duffy, who sent Canon Brian his good wishes on this latest milestone.
Canon McCluskey comes from Blackstaff in Inniskeen. The poet Patrick Kavanagh was a near neighbour. He is a former pupil of St Macartan’s College in Monaghan. After his ordination, he served as a curate in his home parish of Inniskeen from 1977 to 1983. He was a parish priest in Threemilehouse and later Roslea, during the troubles in the North.
He has met three canonised saints, including St Padre Pio and St John XXIII whom he visited while studying for the priesthood in Rome in the 1950s. He met another future saint, St John Paul II, on the occasion of his Silver Jubilee in 1985.
The courageous decision by Pope Benedict XVI to step down from the See of Peter came as a shock not only to Roman Catholics throughout the world, but to those of other faiths as well. This was mainly because it has been 600 years since a pontiff resigned. The last time it was under duress; this time it is a voluntary act. The 85 year-old Pope celebrated a Mass for Ash Wednesday at the Vatican and held an audience with visitors from different countries. His final public appearance is expected to be in a fortnight’s time on February 27th.
His resignation has been the subject of much comment in the media and has also produced a rash of posts in social media, some of them dispraging but others quite humorous. One of the best ones I noticed was this one showing a picture of a possible (but unlikely!) successor, the Reverend Ian Paisley, who retired from his job as Moderator of the Free Presbyterian Church in 2008 and from ministry a year ago.There is a saying “all news is local”. But I thought the Birmingham Post headline for their newspaper stands was stretching it a bit. It was noticed and posted on facebook by a former RTÉ colleague, Eugene McVeigh…….
One comment on it was “Pope Brummidictus!!” whereas my own offering was on the lines of “Always find a local angle! Pope has had enough after visiting Lozells, Nechells, Perry Barr, Acock’s Green & Balti land“.
Pope Benedict steps down at the end of the month. The conclave at the Vatican to elect his successor will start as early as March 15th, according to a papal spokesman. This means whoever is chosen by the Cardinals should be in place by Easter.
Monsignor Eamon Martin (right): Photo Irish Bishops’ Conference
More than two years after Cardinal Seán Brady made a request to the Vatican, Pope Benedict has appointed Monsignor Eamon Martin from Derry as Coadjutor Archbishop of Armagh (an assistant with the right to succeed to the post of Archbishop). I have not met him but he came across in television and radio interviews as a very capable and enthusiastic clergyman. He made clear the Catholic church’s position regarding abortion and the ongoing discussions in the Republic about the “X” case. He also spoke about his upbringing in Derry as one of a family of twelve (six boys and six girls). Monsignor Martin is expected to be ordained as Coadjutor within a few months.
52-year-old Monsignor Martin has been Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Derry since November 2011 and the two former Bishops Seamus Hegarty and Edward Daly have welcomed his appointment. Speaking at St Patrick’s Cathedral in Armagh, Cardinal Brady welcomed the man who will take over from him in due course. He described Monsignor Martin as a man of great gifts and great generosity who he said would know how to use those talents in the education of people, young and old.
St Columb’s College Derry
A former pupil of St Columb’s College in Derry, he was ordained in Maynooth in 1987 aged 26. He later became a teacher at St Columb’s and was promoted to President of the College in 2000. He is a director of the National Board for Safeguarding Children, which was established by the Catholic church following revelations about clerical sex abuse in a number of dioceses.