Young Adults from Fermoy Church of Ireland Parish Respond to Appeal to Ring Bells in Solidarity with Refugees and Migrants

The younger adults  attending Christ Church Fermoy on Sunday, 19th March, were called upon to fulfil a surprising task – they rang the Church bell in response to the ‘Joy Bells’ initiative started in Christ Church Cathedral, Waterford.  Fermoy Parish was delighted to be able to join in this act in support of the call for solidarity, justice and truth with those across five continents to share the message of love and welcome to refugees and migrants, and against racism and xenophobia.

In Fermoy (to take turns ringing the bell for 15 minutes) were (l-r) Adam Douglas, John Teeling, Jilly Fleming, Rachel Smith and Dave Johnston.

Posted in Bells, Community Involvement, Contemporary Issues, Diocese, Parish News, Special Events

Annual Civic Service in St Fin Barre’s Cathedral Cork to Celebrate St Patrick’s Day

Saint Patrick’s Day began early in Cork with a Civic Service and Festival Eucharist of Saint Patrick’s Day held in St Fin Barre’s Cathedral where the city’s patron saint first founded his monastic settlement. The Bishop of Cork, Dr Paul Colton, presided assisted by the Dean of Cork, the Very Reverend Nigel Dunne, the Dean’s Vicar, the Reverend Ted Ardis, the Archdeacon, the Venerable Adrian Wilkinson, Canon Eithne Lynch, the Rev. Anne Skuse and the Rev. Edwin Hunter. They were joined, as every year, by Father Christopher Fitzgerald, ecumenical officer of the Diocese of Cork and Ross.

Bishop Colton’s Sermon may be read here.

The Bishop of Cork, Dr Paul Colton (left) with Cllr Joe Kavanagh, Deputy Lord Mayor, and Ms Ann Doherty, CEO of Cork City Council. Photo: David Barry

The civic attendance was led by the Deputy Lord Mayor of Cork, Cllr Joe Kavanagh, as the Lord Mayor had accepted an invitation to be at the White House in Washington, DC, U.S.A.  ‘This year, for the first time in 18 years, I’ve been “Trumped”‘ joked Bishop Colton. Members of the City Council (from all parties and non-party) were present as were heads of department in Cork City Hall led by the CEO of Cork City, Ann Doherty.  Former Lords Mayor of Cork present included: Michael Ahern, Paud Black, Jim Corr, Brian Bermingham, Donal Counihan, Dan Wallace and Toddy O’Sullivan (who was also representing St Fin Barre’s GAA Club).

Bishop Colton and Mrs Susan Colton welcome Minister Simon Coveney TD to the reception after the Service

From the Oireachtas, Mr Simon Coveney, T.D., Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government, was present together with: the Leader of the Opposition, Mr Micheál Martin, T.D., Ms Margaret Murphy-O’Mahony, T.D.,  the Leader of Seanad Éireann, Senator Jerry Buttimer, and Senator Colm Burke.  Mrs Deirdre Clune, M.E.P. accompanied by her husband, Conor Clune, was present.  Brigadier General Patrick Flynn (Office Commanding, Southern Command), Commodore Hugh Tully (Naval Service), Chief Superintendent Barry McPolin (An Garda Síochána)

The Reverend Anne Skuse and Father Christopher Fitzgerald chat in the ambulatory before the Civic Service

Honorary consuls present were:  Mr Michael Mulcahy (Poland) who is also chairman of Cork Civic Trust, Mr George Barter (Portugal), Sir Freddie Pedersen (Denmark).  Cathy Goode, Honorary Vice Consul of Spain also attended.

Sir Freddie Pedersen, Honorary Consul of Denmark, and Mrs Pedersen are greeted by the Bishop

Among those also present were: Dr Brendan Murphy (President of the Cork Institute of Technology), Mr Ted Owens (CEO of the Cork Education and Training Board), Philip GIllivan (Vice President of the Cork Business Association), Ms Carol Jermyn (Jermyn and Co, Solicitors who is the Diocesan Solicitor), Billy Skuse (Diocesan Secretary), Bill Brady (Diocesan Architect) Ms Helen Arnopp (Allied Irish Banks),  Ian Coombes (Principal of Bandon Grammar School),   Paddy O’Brien (Over 60s Singing Competition and Irish Heart Foundation),  Manus O’Callaghan (Southern Advertising),  Robin O’Sullivan and Ms Ann-Marie O’Sullivan (AM O’Sullivan PR and Strategic Communications), David Barry (scouting and David Barry, Photographer) Jennifer Dowler (Dogs for the Disabled), Mrs Deirdre Henley (Irish Girl Guides), Mr and Mrs Alan Campbell (Saint Luke’s Home, Cork), Conor Crowley (Scouting),  Don Trotter (Scouting), Finbarr O’Shea (Flying Enterprise, Cork),  Ruairi O’Connor (The River Lee Hotel), Mr Eric Paterson (Birchill Landscapes), PJ Coogan (96 FM), Ted Crosbie (Irish Examiner), and Vincent O’Donovan (Carrigdhoun).

PJ Coogan, 96FM attended the reception after the Service

So many  facets of Cork life were represented: the media; the commercial life of the City, voluntary groups, agencies, and associations. the Cork Federation of Women’s Associations, the St Aloysius’ Past-Pupils Association, the Ursuline School Past-Pupils Union, Cork Rape Crisis Centre; St Vincent de Paul, and many voluntary and youth organisations.  The remarkable Cork charity organized by students in Cork – SHARE – were represented by six young people: four from Presentation College, Cork and two from Regina Mundi, all accompanied by Brother Patrick Fitzgibbon.

Sporting organisations included representatives of the GAA Cork County Board,  St Finbarr’s GAA Club and the Incorporated Church of Ireland Cork Young Men’s Association.

The Cathedral choir under the direction of Peter Stobart, Director of Music, with James Taylor playing the organ sang Missa Brevis in B flat (Little Organ Mass) by Haydn , and also, during Communion the motet was O quam gloriosum est regnum by Tomás Luis de Victoria.

Afterwards nearly 150 invited guests were received by the Bishop and Mrs Susan Colton at the Bishop’s Palace for tea, coffee and plenty of home baking.  In time honoured tradition, the scouts of  2nd Cork (St Fin Barre’s)  – the Bishop’s own old scout group – were on hand to do the washing up.  A full gallery of photographs is found here.

The Bishop with the scouts who supervised the parking and did the washing up after the reception.

Posted in Cathedral, Church in Society, Church Services, Community Involvement, Cork, Saint Patrick's Day, Saints Days

At Cork St Patricks’ Day Civic Service Bishop Paul Colton speaks about Mother and Baby Homes

In his sermon at the annual Civic Service and Festival Eucharist for St Patrick’s Day in St Fin Barre’s Cathedral, Cork, the Bishop, the Right Reverend Dr Paul Colton, spoke about the place of religion in Irish society in the wake of the harrowing accounts about Mother and Babies Homes.

St Fin Barre’s Cathedral, Cork

He said:

… [T]here’s something curiously unsettling and profoundly challenging, against this background, about being here today celebrating our national saint on our national day, to be here cherishing the place of religion in Ireland and its contribution to who and what we are, when we know full well that all was not well, and unless we acknowledge too the mistakes of the past.   There is much in our religious legacy to be worked through, and not only in institutional religion in Ireland, but also its relationship with the State, to come to understand, and to be reconciled about, even within ourselves perhaps.  Many people, including many people who are religious, find themselves in an emotional heap – a heap that has tilted their world on its axis.  We live in times when the relationship of many Irish people with religion is, at best, complicated.

He referred again to his call in 2015 for the terms of the Commission of Enquiry to be broadened to include Protestant-run Mother and Baby Homes.

Here is the full text of the Bishop’s sermon:

Sermon at the Civic Service of St Patrick’s Day, 2017

by the Right Reverend Dr Paul Colton,

Bishop of Cork, Cloyne and Ross in St Fin Barre’s Cathedral, Cork

I never listen back to Liveline on RTE One Radio on RTEPlayer; I did twice last week – to the car-stopping, heart-rending testimony of women and children who were speaking about their recollection of mother and baby homes.  I wasn’t surprised, in the wake of those harrowing personal accounts, to read later the outbursts of anger against institutional religion , and indeed the State, on Twitter, including one or two calling for a boycott of St Patrick’s Day this year.

Naturally I would not agree with such a hyperbolic response but, if I’m honest, there’s something curiously unsettling and profoundly challenging, against this background, about being here today celebrating our national saint on our national day, to be here cherishing the place of religion in Ireland and its contribution to who and what we are, when we know full well that all was not well, and unless we acknowledge too the mistakes of the past.   There is much in our religious legacy to be worked through, and not only in institutional religion in Ireland, but also its relationship with the State, to come to understand, and to be reconciled about, even within ourselves perhaps.  Many people, including many people who are religious, find themselves in an emotional heap – a heap that has tilted their world on its axis.  We live in times when the relationship of many Irish people with religion is, at best, complicated.

And so a new week – this week – started last Sunday. On Sunday night I tuned in to the season finale of the BBC period drama – Call the Midwife.

Set in the early 1960s, this episode opened at the tea table at the Community of St John the Divine – an Anglican religious order (a phenomenon not much known on this side of the Irish Sea) – and Sister Julienne, the nun in charge announced to the other sisters and the midwives:  ‘I was told today that the family contraceptive pill is to be launched in district clinics in an attempt to cut down waiting lists.’  They were to take place on ‘Tuesday afternoons’, she said,  ‘in the small room at the back.’ ‘It has been suggested that patients use the side door’, she announced.

One of the younger nuns protested: ‘But the unmarried mothers use the side door!’

Then Nurse Barbara Gilbert, the one engaged to the local clergyman, piped up stridently ‘Why can’t everyone come in the front? They’re just women, not criminals.’   She wasn’t at all content about a separate entrance for either the unmarried mothers or the contraceptive clinic.

It was a coincidental and challenging reminder of how, sadly, things were in those days, and of how few in number were the challenging and prophetic voices, it seems, and of how religious views, nurtured by religious teaching of the day, fostered outlooks and approaches that now attract our anger and shame at this remove.  

It is clear that far too many articulations of and manifestations of Christianity over the years have themselves been, to use the words of today’s opening prayer, ‘darkness and error.’  I’m not saying anything that many of you have not heard me say before.  Long before I was elected bishop I preached, in 1995, in my parish in Dublin about the Church’s attitude to single mothers and their children.   

When I was preaching to you here in 2015 I used the phrase that, when we engage in the issues and debates of life, ‘we are walking on the holy ground of other people’s lives.’  I feel this again now.  The current times have opened up many questions for many people we all know, perhaps even for ourselves, and for some of you here today. I specifically mentioned single mothers here that year too.  Repeatedly over the years I have included the Church of the day’s attitudes to unmarried mothers and their babies as part of the litany of people who have been wounded by things done in the name of the Church and even more shamefully, of injustices committed in the name of Christ.  Later that year I wrote to Judge Yvonne Murphy asking that, in the interim report of her Commission of Investigation, she recommend to Government that the terms of reference of her enquiry be expanded to include Protestant Mothers and Babies homes also.  Such an appeal is not to prejudge any place, people or issues, nor is it to impute wrong-going on anyone’s part, but it is important the whole story is openly looked at.

When I received the honour of being invited as guest of honour to launch Cork LGBT Awareness Week, the year before, in 2014, I acknowledged that from the outset of institutional religion the:

… story has been one of prejudice, injustice, labelling as ‘the other’ and failing to show Christ’s love,  being overcome step by step:  slaves, Jews, science,  single mothers, children born outside marriage, people in interchurch marriages, victims of suicide, the downfall of apartheid, divorcees, women (first in decision-making in the Church and then in the ordained ministry); standing up to racism.  Think in our own lifetime of how, arising from our sense of the love of Christ, our attitudes have changed in the Church to many of these people, issues and situations.

As we gather all these years on, on this St Patrick’s Day,  not so far away in time from these events, which are still very vivid in the hearts, memories and emotions of many people, including, no doubt, some, as I say, here today,  we have an opportunity to recall fundamental principles of our faith.  The call in our first reading from Tobit to us was ‘to turn to him with all [our] heart and with all [our] soul … to turn back and to what is right before him.’   This desire to be instruments of what is right is not the monopoly of one religion or, indeed, of religion at all.  It is something that, whatever our background, we share as a matter of the common good.

‘Look around’ says Jesus in today’s Gospel, ‘and see how the fields are ripe for harvesting.’  There’s work to be done.  There are needs to be met and good news to be both proclaimed and put into practice.  That is why, as we reflect on the current love/hate relationship many in Ireland seem to have with religion that we truly need

  • to know the truth of what happened in the name of religion in the past and to acknowledge it;
  • to look around and to ensure that the needs of our own time are truly being addressed and met, and that we do so in a way that is just, generous, wholehearted and compassionate;
  • to ensure that we are not unwittingly or unthinkingly complicit in new atrocities in our own time.

What it all comes down to is how Christians understand God and how they reflect that understanding and translate that view of God into their own lives and work.   And so in these times of great turmoil,  it is worth, I believe underscoring on this St Patrick’s Day (and every day for that matter), as I say, a fundamental.  

This New Testament – the New English Bible – is the one that was handed to me that day in 1984 when I was ordained.  When I look at the First Epistle of Saint John, I see that it is is given the heading ‘Recall to Fundamentals’.  John reminds us in no uncertain terms that faith must have a proper understanding of the person of Jesus as Son of God.  Faith must be based on truth and it cannot be separated from love.  The absence of love is proof of the absence of faith, he says:  

Dear friends, let us love one another, because love is from God.  Everyone who loves is a child of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.  (1 John 4.7 and 8)

Belief and love go together.  Faith without love is not faith. And, indeed for the Christian, love is rooted in the love that God has sown to us.

No one has ever seen God; says St John, ‘ but if we love each other, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.’(1 John 4.12)

A person who does not love does not know God.

– Ends –


Further information from:

Sam Wynn Church of Ireland Diocesan Communications Officer

Telephone:   +353 (0)86 813 7659

E mail

Posted in Bishop, Cathedral, Church Services, Saint Patrick's Day, Sermons

Cumann Gaelach na hEaglaise Prize for Ashton School, Cork

Gach bliain eagraíonn Cumann Gaelach na hEaglaise Comórtas speisialta i rith seachtain na Gaeilge chun an Gaeilge a chur chun cinn I méan scoileanna Eaglais na hÉireann.

Sé an tainm atá ar an Comórtas seo ná Comórtas Bedell . Ba easpag Kilmore  é William Bedell sa 17 iú aois agus b’é an céad duine a d’aistrigh  an Bíobla go Gaeilge. Bhain  Scoil Chuimsitheach Ashton amach an  dara áit  sa comórtas  i mbliana. Ag tionól sa scoil le déanaí  bhronn an tUrramach Tony Murphy teastas ar múinteóirí gaeilge na scoile.

Pictiúr: : Carmel Ní Deasúnaigh; An tUrramach Tony Murphy; Deirdre Ní Cárthaigh agus Máire Ní Críodáin


Each year Cumann Gaelach na hEaglaise(The Irish Guild of the Church ) organises  a special  competition during Seachtain na  Gaeilge to help promote the use of the Irish Language in Church of Ireland second level schools.

The competition is named after Bishop Bedell, a 17th Century Bishop of Kilmore, who first translated the scriptures into the Irish Language. This year Ashton Comprehensive School won second place in this competition.  At a recent assembly the Reverend Tony Murphy presented a certificate to the Irish Teachers in the School.


Posted in Church of Ireland, Diocese, Irish Language, Irish Language Services

Irish Language Visit to Bandon Church of Ireland Parish


Bhí Caroline Nolan, Oifigeach Forbartha, i nDroichead na Bandan ag bualadh le cléir na háite, ina measc, an tUrr. Kingsley Sutton (Cloch na Coillte),  an tUrr Anne Skuse (Moviddy Union), an tUrr John Ardis (An Sciobairín), an tUrr. Denis MacCarthy (Droichead na Bandan), agus bhí an Canónach George Salter agus an tUrr Tony Murphy ó Chumann Gaelach na hEaglaise ag roinnt a saineolais leo. Táimid buíoch do Denis MacCathy a thug an-aire, agus ceapairí álainn, dúinn ann.

Ní thiocfaidh linn dul go Droichead na Bandan gan smaoineamh ar an Onórach Richard Boyle (1st Earl of Desmond) agus a mhac iomráiteach, Robert Boyle, atá clú agus cáil ar de bhrí a chuid oibre ceannródaíochta i gceimice nua-aimseartha.    Ach tá clú air Robert Boyle i saol na Gaeilge freisin de bhrí go raibh ról lárnach aige sa chéad fhoilseachán don Bhíobla i nGaeilge, Bíobla Bedell.   Chuir  William Bedell tús leis an aistriúchán nuair a bhí sé ina Propast i gColáiste na Tríonóide agus, ina ndiaidh sin, ina Easpag i gCill Mór.  Ach fuair sé bás sular raibh an tionscnamh críochnaithe aige.

De réir Choláiste an Rí, Londain (According to King’s College London):

The manuscript of the translation was rescued by his friend Denis Sheridan, who many years later gave it to Narcissus Marsh (1638–1713), provost of Trinity College Dublin. With the aid of two Jesuit scholars, Andrew Sall and Paul Higgins, and of the scientist Robert Boyle, Marsh revised the translation. Boyle nursed it through the printing process in London and an edition of 500 copies was finally published in 1685.

In recent weeks Caroline Nolan, Development Officer with Cumann Gaelach na hEaglaise met with a number of clergy in Bandon to encourage the greater use of Irish in services. St Peter’s Church Bandon could not have been a more fitting location as it was Richard Boyle’s son, the Hon Robert Boyle, considered by many as the ‘father of modern chemistry’ who oversaw, and financed, the first translation of the bible into Irish.

William Bedell, an Essex man, was Provost of Trinity College and later became the Bishop of Kilmore.  He began the work of translating the bible into Irish but died before it was completed.  This is just one example of how members of  Church of Ireland have been influential in supporting and preserving the Irish language down through history.

Posted in Church of Ireland, Diocese, Education, Irish Language, Schools in the Diocese

Cork Church Bells also to ring out against Racism and Xenophobia

On Sunday 19th March church bells in a number of churches in the United Dioceses of Cork, Cloyne and Ross will ring out around the globe in solidarity with immigrants and refugees who are facing increasing racism and xenophobia throughout the world.

The ‘Joy Bells’ initiative started in Christ Church Cathedral, Waterford, and is the brainchild of Dean Maria Jansson. The wave of empathy has spread and the ‘Joy Bells’ will now be sounded on five continents on Sunday next.

Some of the bells of St Fin Barre’s Cathedral, Cork.

Dean Jansson points out that bells can sound alarm but also solidarity. She said:

Bells are part of many cultures and religions, ringing out the old and ringing in the new. Their sound will herald joy not hate, welcome not exclusion, co–responsibility not exploitation. It is time for the Christian message of love to be proclaimed in solidarity with women and men terrified by the increased legitimising of hate that has emerged over the last months. We will ring out hate, xenophobia, exploitation and fear and ring in a call for solidarity, truth and justice.

St Fin Barre’s Cathedral (Cork), St Anne’s, Shandon (Cork), St Mary’s Church (Carrigaline), Abbeystrewry Parish Church (Skibbereen), St John the Baptist (Midleton), the Chapel of Kingston College (Mitchelstown), and Saint Anne (Castlemartyr) all in the United Dioceses of Cork, Cloyne and Ross, will be among the many Christian Churches across the world ringing their bells at 11am on March 19. The ringing will continue for 15 minutes while the gathered congregations pray in solidarity with all who are terrified by the growing acceptance of hatred and racism, increased fear and suspicion of ‘the other’ and all who are affected by deepening divisions in our world.

Posted in Church in Society, Community Involvement, Contemporary Issues, Cork, Diocese | Tagged ,

Schools Singing Workshop at St Fin Barre’s Cathedral, Cork

On Tuesday morning last (7th March) seven schools gathered in Saint Fin Barre’s Cathedral, Cork for a workshop and performance led by Peter Stobart, Director of Music.  All are schools which Peter has been visiting regularly as part of the Cathedral’s Music Outreach programme to lead choirs and teach singing and so this was an opportunity for each school to show what it could do.

Over 200 children, teachers and parents gathered for the Schools Singing Workshop at St Fin Barre’s Cathedral, Cork

Some schools were local; St Maries of the Isle and St Fin Barre’s National School simply had to walk across the road to be there.  However Togher Boys’ National School and St John the Baptist, Midleton had to come a little bit further.

The music was varied in style but enthusiastically performed. St Luke’s National School, Montenotte began the showcase with a beautiful two-part rendition of Panis Angelicus whilst Cork Educate Together National School ended with the more jazzy Goodnight Sweetheart.  St Michael’s National School, Blackrock even gave a dance routine in full costume to the song Superstar.

The Schools Singing Workshop with Director of Music, Peter Stobart at the piano

The highlight of the day however was when all of the schools joined together both for the traditional Spiritual Nobody Knows the Trouble I’ve Seen and Consider Yourself from the musical Oliver!  There were over 200 children taking part as well as some supporting parents who could not resist joining in either.  The effect was breathtaking and as good an advert as any for the promotion of singing in our schools.

Posted in Cathedral, Children's Ministry, Church Music, Community Involvement, Education, Schools in the Diocese, Youth Work