Joint Christmas Message from the Bishops of Cork: Bishop John Buckley and Bishop Paul Colton

Catholic Diocese of Cork and Ross

Church of Ireland – Diocese of Cork, Cloyne and Ross

Joint Press Release


Joint Christmas Message from the Bishops of Cork:

The Most Reverend Dr John Buckley and the Right Reverend Dr Paul Colton

Christmas 2018

As Bishops of Cork, many things are on our minds as we approach Christmas 2018. We recently commemorated the centenary of the end of the ‘war to end all wars’ and yet, one hundred years on, there is war and conflict in many places around world. Everyone feels the global reach of these wars where they are locally. Next year we will begin to mark the events, not without their own violence and conflict, that led to the independent foundation of our State. At a more personal level many live with human conflict and deep upset in their own lives for all sorts of reasons, depending on our circumstances: homelessness, hunger, poverty, striving to keep going in a fast-changing society, keeping up at work, matching the pace of change. These, and so many more, challenge us in ways that affect our well-being: physical, mental and emotional.

It is against this background that we hear again in 2018 the Christmas message of the baby whose birth was announced as bringing ‘peace on earth and goodwill’.   He was called the ‘Word made flesh’ – God among us; and ‘Emmanuel’ – God with us. Peace is so much more than the absence of war, conflict and violence. We often hear that ‘the peace of God passes all understanding’, and so it does, and for many it seems hard to find and to feel. The Christmas message assures us that God is with us no matter what we are going through.

As we join, therefore, once again this year as Bishops of Cork, in wishing you all a Happy Christmas, we pray that you will know the joy, hope and peace that the birth of Jesus, the baby born in Bethlehem brings; and indeed that all, wherever they are around the world, who work for justice, peace and the well-being of humanity, will be blessed and encouraged to persevere.

In offering these hopes and prayers, we are conscious that God energises people’s imaginations and gives them the will, in God’s name, to make the world a better place here and now. As ever, here in Cork, we pay tribute to, and encourage our parishes and the people of Cork to support (through our voluntary work or gifts and engagement), those who work day in and day out throughout the year among us to change things for the better for people who are poor, homeless, living on our streets, looking for affordable housing, newcomers to our shores, people living in fear of violence, coping with mental health issues, living with pain and illness, caring for older people and people living with dementia, those seeking cures for disease, those who feel like strangers among us, and many who are working to put before us the big issues that face us all, such as climate change.

There is so much good being done and worked towards. We wish each and every one of you a peaceful and blessed Christmas.

+Paul Colton,                                                                          +John Buckley,      

Bishop of Cork, Cloyne and Ross                                                Bishop of Cork and Ross.



Further information from:

Sam Wynn        Church of Ireland Diocesan Communications Officer

Telephone:      +353 (0)86 813 7659


Posted in Bishops of Cork, Christmas, Church in Society, Ecumenism, Five Marks of Mission

Anglican Chant Focus and Rehearsal at Cork Church

One Sunday this Autumn,  the Rev. Elaine Murray led the usual service of Morning Prayer at St Mary’s Church, Carrigaline, County Cork.  However, there was a difference.  Under the auspices of the Cork, Cloyne and Ross Diocesan Church Music Scheme, she had invited Peter Stobart from St Fin Barre’s Cathedral to take the congregation through some of the canticles and psalms, and to explore Anglican Chant.

Some members of the choir from Monkstown, County Cork led by Roger Ellis had also come along to the Service and the sound was an impressive one. Peter had chosen three different styles of chant as a way of demonstrating to the congregation what was possible with very little extra effort.

Firstly the canticle Venite was sung to a very simple plainchant. After just a couple of practice verses the congregation was able to break out into antiphony, with one side of the church singing the odd verses and the other side the even verses. This monastic style is one of the oldest forms of liturgical chanting.

Anglican chant proper was used for the psalm of the day. Although the chant itself was longer than the plainchant had been, the tune was seemingly more memorable and so caused very few problems. After a few practice verses everyone stood up so as to be back in Service mode and sang the whole psalm through.

The third musical setting was for the canticle Benedictus. Peter chose a responsorial format and so it was the most modern concept of the three. The principles of chanting were still the same, however, and the congregation by this stage in the morning were picking things up very swiftly. A short refrain using the first line of the text, written by Peter himself,  was sung between the verses.

The Rev. Elaine Murray said afterwards that she thought the congregation had never sounded so good and that the service was exactly what she had imagined it to be. As a lover of Anglican chant she said that she was worried that without initiatives such as this it would quickly disappear completely from our liturgies.

Anglican Chant being taught by Peter Stobart at St Mary’s Church, Carrigaline.

Posted in Anglicanism, Church Music, Diocesan Church Music Scheme, Worship

Young People of Rosscarbery Host Supper for Simon Community

On Saturday 24th November, the Youth Group in Ross Union of Parishes, Rosscarbery, County Cork, held a supper in aid of the Simon Community. The young people prepared and served a two course meal, sold raffle tickets and cleared up afterwards. A total of €708 was raised for Cork Simon. Kerry McMahon from Cork Simon came and spoke of how the projects run in Cork city rely heavily on such fundraising events.

Congratulations to all the young people!

Young people and leaders from the youth group in Ross Union of Parishes.

Posted in Church in Society, Community Involvement, Five Marks of Mission, Voluntary Work, Youth Work

Cork Youth Workers Awarded Certificates in Youth Work

On 17th November Hilda Connolly, Diocesan Youth Officer in the United Dioceses of Cork, Cloyne and Ross,  and Viridiana Kingston Castro, a youth worker from Coolkelure in Dunmanway, County Cork graduated at Cliff College, Derbyshire.  They were awarded  their Aurora Certificates in Youth Work.

They stared the course in September 2017.   The Aurora Youth Ministry Course is an 8-month ecumenical course designed for those already doing youth work in their local church, and accredited by Cliff College.   Steve Grasham, the Youth Ministry Development Officer (Southern Region) of the Church of Ireland, ran the course sessions in Ireland.

Hilda says:

It was an absolute honour and privilege to be able to be there on the day with Viridiana Kinston Castro, Ruth Matthews and Lucy Bateman to receive our Certs, along with our families and Steve to cheer us on.

Speaking about the course she said

For anyone considering this course, I would highly recommend it. It certainly is challenging but very do-able and very interesting! I thoroughly enjoyed it and it definitely refreshed plus educated me further for my role. Thank you to all who helped me through it and to the Bishop, Dr Paul  Colton and Judy Peters for enabling me and encouraging me to take it on.

Hilda Connolly and Viridiano Kingston Castro with Steve Grasham following the award of their Certificates in Youth Work.

Posted in Continuing Ministerial Education, Education, Lay Ministry, Youth Work

Hundreds fill St Mary’s Church, Youghal for dedication of new War Memorial

Nearly 500 people from throughout East Cork and West Waterford attended the dedication of a new war memorial in the Collegiate Church of St Mary the Virgin, Youghal, County Cork on Sunday afternoon 2nd December.  The new memorial comprises eight panels which list the names of local people who fought and died in both the First and Second World War. They were installed in a side chapel which was refurbished and newly dedicated as a Chapel of Remembrance.

The Collegiate Church of St Mary the Virgin, Youghal, County Cork was full for the dedication of a new war memorial.

Speaking at the start of the Service, the Church of Ireland Bishop of Cork, Cloyne and Ross, Dr Paul Colton, spoke about the ‘importance of remembering.’  He said:

Three weeks ago, with great media coverage, we remembered the end of the First World War.  Now, however, many talk about “moving on”.  This raises deep human and philosophical questions – probably not for today – about if or when we should stop remembering.

The Bishop spoke about the project in St Fin Barre’s Cathedral over the past four years of gathering photographs of Cork people who died in the First World War.  ‘Of the 154 on this new memorial here in Youghal, I was only able to find four’,  he said.

Some of the panels of the war memorial.

Bishop Colton renewed his call for a public memorial in Cork City or County to all Cork people who died in the First World War:

Most of the names of the 154 are not commemorated anywhere publicly here in Cork, until now.  You have done a beautiful thing.  This act of remembering has brought these communities together.  We are here today in what is a community, ecumenical and interfaith gathering from many backgrounds.’

Watched by the Reverend Andrew Orr, Priest-in-Charge of Youghal, the Bishop, Dr Paul Colton, dedicated the memorial panels prior to their installation.

Following the dedication of the eight memorial panels,  the names of nearly 200 local-born people who died were read, before an Act of Remembrance. There were readings in English, Irish, French, German, Finnish and, by a member of the Jewish Community, in Hebrew.  Music was provided by the Youghal Choral Society.  The youngest recorded name of those who died is 16 year old Private David Cropley from Ballycotton, and the oldest 65 year old Lieutenant Walter Croker- Poole from Ardmore whose pilot boat hit a mine at the mouth of the River Mersey. Another tragic mine disaster saw five Royal Navy Reserves from Youghal die when HMS Laurentic hit German mines in Lough Swilly on 25th January 1917.

St Mary’s Collegiate Church, Youghal, County Cork.

The Reverend Andrew Orr, who organised the Service paid tribute to everyone involved in the project.    The memorial follows years of research by local men Norman MacDonald and Billy Healy, who have worked very hard to uncover the names of approximately 900 people from Youghal and surrounding districts who signed up for World War I.

The Service began with a procession led by a piper, who led in the clergy, the colour party, and a procession of light.  Relatives of those who died carried candles representing the combined total of the world war years.  Other clergy in attendance included the Reverend Edwin Hunter, who was priest-in-charge of Youghal when the project began, Canon David Herlihy, and Father Tom Brown.

Leading the civic dignitaries was Cllr Michael Hegarty, representing the Mayor of County Cork, along with Councillors Michael Ahern and Noel Collins.  Minister David Stanton, TD was in attendance along with fellow Cork East, T.D. Kevin O’Keeffe.   Deirdre Clune MEP laid a wreath on behalf of the nation. Attending the service also were representatives from An Garda Síochána, the Defence Forces and Naval Service, the Royal National Lifeboats Institution, community groups, the Organisation of National Ex-Servicemen, the Royal British Legion, associations (the Connacht Rangers, The Munster Fusiliers, the Cork Western Front Association), community groups, The Boys’ Brigade, and Youghal Masonic Lodge, some of whose members also died in the First World War.

One of the transepts of the Collegiate Church has been refurbished and was dedicated also yesterday as a Chapel of Remembrance.

Some of the many wreaths laid in the newly dedicated Chapel of Remembrance.

Posted in Bishop, Centenaries in Ireland, Centenary, Church Services, Decade of Centenaries, Dedication, Ecumenism, Memorial Service, Remembrance

Two new Readers licensed to serve in Cork, Cloyne and Ross

On Sunday, 25th November, during Evensong in St Fin Barre’s Cathedral, Cork, the Bishop of Cork, Dr Paul Colton, licensed two new Readers to serve in the Diocese.  Maia Paulus and Andrew Coleman were licensed, having completed one of the courses approved by the House of Bishops, namely the Certificate in Christian Studies validated by the Pontifical University at Maynooth.

There are three others from the Diocese currently working towards completion of the course and licensing as Readers.  The Certificate in Christian Studies is now also being delivered in Cork with 22 participants.  Details of the Certificate may be found HERE.

Also at the Service yesterday, the Bishop commissioned the Reverend Paul Arbuthnot to serve as Chaplain to the Guild of Lay Ministers in the Diocese.  The Guild includes all the Readers, as well as Local Lay Ministers of which there are 5 liturgical assistants and 7 pastoral assistants.

Pictured following the licensing of two new Readers were (l-R) the Dean of Cork, the Very Reverend Nigel DUnne, Maia Paulus, the Bishop, Andrew Coleman, and the Reverend Paul Arbuthnot (Chaplain to the Guild of Lay Ministers).

Posted in Bishop, Cathedral, Commissionings, Diocesan Readers, Lay Ministry, LIcensing

Olive Trees for First World War Commemorations in Schools of Cork, Cloyne and Ross

In the week before 11th November 2018, the centenary of the Armistice at the end of the First World War in 1918, the Bishop of Cork, Dr Paul Colton, arranged to distribute an olive tree to each school in the United Dioceses of Cork, Cloyne and Ross. These were then the focus of acts of commemoration at school assemblies and activities to mark the end of the First World War.

Some of the olive trees given by Bishop Colton to schools in Cork, Cloyne and Ross.

‘As we know, the olive branch is a symbol of peace’ said the Bishop ‘and, in fact, as we move on now in our commemorations of our other centenaries in Ireland, it strikes me that these olive trees, may become a useful and inspiring focus as well.’  He said:

I’m told also that the olive branch is a symbol of peace because olive trees grow very slowly and they were not, therefore, cultivated during war time. They were, so to speak, peacetime trees.  It is no surprise, therefore, that when a flag was being developed in 1946 for the United Nations it featured olive branches ’embracing’ the world.

For Christians, the Mount of Olives is one of the places where Jesus taught, including about suffering;and  it’s the place where he stood and looked at the city and wept. And the Garden of Gethsemane, where Jesus prayed (and the disciples slept) the night before his death.

The olive branch is rich in this symbolism and much more besides in many ancient traditions, not solely Christian.

Here is a representative sample of how schools in Cork, Cloyne and Ross used the olive trees in their recent commemorations.

Midleton ~ Saint John the Baptist National School

The school says:

We held a special school assembly on Friday to mark the centenary of the First World War. Many students from 6th class lead the assembly. An olive tree was presented to the school by Dean Susan Green, a present from Bishop Paul Colton. The Olive tree is a symbol of peace and reconciliation.

Dean Susan Green speaks at the assembly in Midleton.

Dean Susan Green speaks at the assembly in Midleton.

Clonakilty ~ Kilgariffe National School

Clodagh Nicholson, Acting-Principal, wrote:

Kilgarriffe National School Armistice 100 School Assembly took place on Tuesday 13th November in our senior classroom and was led by both the Rev. Kingsley Sutton and Dean Chris Peters. The whole school were in attendance and 4th to 6th Class pupils lead all the readings.

It was a lovely gathering which was made extra special with the presentation of the symbolic ‘Olive Tree’ to the children, which we thank you very much for. Our principal Susan Hanbidge, had already formally received this on behalf of the school, on Sunday 11th at the Kilgariffe Church Armistice Service.

The Olive Tree has now been planted in a big pot and is being lovingly cared for indoors for the winter months, as recommended by our local garden centre.

Clergy, teachers and students at Kilgariffe National School in Clonakilty.

Dunmanway ~ The Model School

Sharon Hosford, the school Principal wrote:

Thank you for your most symbolic gift to commemorate Armistice Day. We have planted it in a pot for the moment, so it may grow outside, but so that we can bring it in if the weather gets too cold this winter. I understand that it can stand temperatures as low as -10C anyway, so we’re hopeful we’ll keep it alive!

Our Armistice Service was a lovely event. Led by the Rev. Cliff Jeffers and attended by some parents as well as the children, we discovered that 43 of those who died were Dunmanway men. Of these 8 were Church of Ireland,  1 was Methodist and 34 were Roman Catholic. Some died at sea, on the battlefield, of wounds in hospital or of ‘Spanish flu’.

The war affected all stratas of society and religious groups and remembering them made us more aware of the awfulness of war and the high price paid by both the people who fight and their families. We remembered that wars are still happening making life miserable for those who suffer.

Our Olive tree plus the dove from the top of the commemorative plaque in St. Mary’s Church will help us remember our aspiration for peace and tolerance in the world today.

Children at the Model School Dunmanway with their olive tree, and the Reverend Cliff Jeffers, and Sharon Hosford, Principal.

Skibbereen ~ Abbeystrewry National School

Abbeystrewry National School in Skibbereen also entered into the commemorations, as seen in this gallery of photos:

Bandon ~ Bandonbridge National School

The Principal of Bandonbridge National School, Harriet Pritchard wrote:

Thank you for the Olive Tree and the script for the assembly which was a huge success. he assembly , as well as commemorating Armistice 100, was an effective tool on forgiveness , “letting things go” and taking the first step. The Katie Perry and Taylor Swift reference brought the peace process bang up to date as many of the older pupils knew all about it.  Attached are some photos of the event. It was a joint presentation between the Reverend Denis Mac Carthy and 6th class.

The Reverend Denis MacCarthy spoke to the pupils and staff at Bandonbridge National School.

At Bandonbridge the commemoration was led by SIxth Class.

Kinsale ~ St Multose National School

Kinsale sent in this report:

Grandparents, parents, staff and children gathered for our assembly on 8th November. The Rev. Peter introduced the assembly and led our time of silence leading up to 11 a.m. He recalled about last week’s assembly when he spoke of the United Nations flag and the symbolism of the olive tree which took pride of place at the front, surrounded by photographs and medals brought to school by the children.

Project work about World War 1 decorated the classroom walls.

5th and 6th class pupils recited The Soldier’s Grave by Francis Ledwidge and narrated the assembly accompanied by displayed images.

As the Roll of Honour from St. Multose Church was read aloud, children from 4th class brought up the poppies they’d made, using a shamrock as background; each had the name of a soldier from the parish who had died during the First World War written on it. The Rev. Peter Rutherford used these poppies during his Remembrance Sunday service.

Before the blessing, Isaiah 2: 4-5 was read, and then parents, children and staff shared their personal histories; stories of relatives who had fought in WW1 – those who returned and those who did not. It was a poignant occasion and those visitors who attended found it moving and beautifully prepared.

Some of he young people who participated in Kinsale.

Enniskean ~ Desertserges National School

In Desertserges National School Devyn brought in a WW1 shell and some iron pellets. Harry brought in a picture of his great-grandfather who fought in WW1.  The school has written a blog about commemorations there, including a special project about animals during the war.  It is here.

At Desertserges there was also a special project undertaken about animals in the FIrst World War.

Carrigaline ~ St Mary’s Church of Ireland National School

The Principal, Valerie Eliffe, wrote:

Senior pupils led the special Assembly for Armistice Day together with some staff and members of the Board of Management. The olive tree, received as a gift from Bishop Colton took centre stage in the Assembly. Garrett Wrenne, a parent of one of our pupils  is currently serving in the Irish Army and has completed seven peacekeeping missions, the last being in Syria. Garrett spoke to us about the use of the olive branch as a symbol. Pupils from 2nd and 4th class had decorated the hall with poppies and a banner for the assembly.

Dr. Andrew Gleasure Chairperson of the Board of Management of St Mary’s Church of Ireland National School in Carrigaline, with Garrett Wrenne (a parent), Valerie Eliffe (Principal) and the Reverend Elaine Murray.

Remembering in St Mary’s Church of Ireland National School, Carrigaline.

Cork ~ St Fin Barre’s National School

Gillian Brady, the school principal, wrote:

In St Fin Barre’s National School we had an assembly for Armistice Day led by the children of 5th and 6th Class on Wednesday 7th November 2018.The whole school attended. The oldest and the youngest children in our school will be responsible for planting our Olive tree so kindly given to us by the Bishop as a symbol of remembrance and peace.

Commemoration at St Fin Barre’s National School, Gilabbey Terrace, Cork.

Youghal ~ South Abbey National School

Sending in photographs, the school principal, Sinéad Solleveld said

Here are some pictures of the Armistice Day assembly in South Abbey N. S., Youghal on Friday, 9th November, with the children, staff and parents. The  Rev. Andrew Orr gave the closing address.

In Youghal, the Reverend Andrew Orr spoke with the pupils and staff at the school.

Pupils of South Abbey National School, Youghal, with their tree.

South Abbey National School, Youghal.

Cork ~ Saint Luke’s, Douglas and Saint Michael’s, Blackrock

A special Commemoration of Armistice Day Assembly was held on 9th November in St. Luke’s Church, Douglas. Pupils from the two schools in the parish of Douglas Union with Frankfield – St. Michael’s, Blackrock and St. Luke’s School – came together for this special occasion.

Children from St Luke’s National School, Douglas, and St Michael’s National School, Blackrock at their special joint commemoration in St Luke’s Church, Douglas with the clergy and school principals of the parish.

Children from St Luke’s National School, Douglas, and St Michael’s National School, Blackrock at their special joint commemoration in St Luke’s Church, Douglas with their olive trees from the Bishop.  They also did a special study of the flag of the United Nations with its olive branches.

Second Level Schools in Cork, Cloyne and Ross

The Bishop himself visited the three second level schools in the Diocese to speak about the commemorations, to hear from students about research they have been doing, and to present each with an olive tree.

Presenting the olive tree at Bandon Grammar School, first at junior school assembly.

And then, at Bandon Grammar School, at Senior Assembly.

Ashton School, Cork, in front of the Cork Grammar School war memorial naming 53 past pupils who died in the First World War.

Midleton College.

Posted in Anniversaries, Ashton School, Bandon Grammar School, Centenaries in Ireland, Centenary, Church in Society, Community Involvement, Cork, Diocese, Education, Five Marks of Mission, Remembrance, Schools in the Diocese, Students