Just hours after being officially
announced as the Coadjutor Archbishop of Armagh, Derry’s Monsignor Eamon Martin drove home to wish his mother, Catherine, a happy 85th birthday on
Just hours after being officially announced as the Coadjutor Archbishop of Armagh, Derry’s Monsignor Eamon Martin drove home to wish his mother, Catherine, a happy 85th birthday on Friday.
The 51 year old - who will become Ireland’s youngest Catholic Bishop and Archbishop in the coming months - said he was delighted at his appointment which he found out about during a meeting with the Papal Nuncio, Archbishop Charles Brown, in Dublin in recent weeks.
During a visit to the Journal offices on Friday afternoon, Mons. Martin admitted he was also nervous about his new role.
“When you become a priest, you open yourself up to God’s calling in your life. You don’t choose your assignments, you don’t choose where you’ll be asked to go so that’s the kind of approach I’ve taken to this - that this must be what God wants of me,” he said.
“I said to the Papal Nuncio that I was very nervous and that it was with some trepidation that I heard the news but that I would accept whatever the Holy Father asks of me.”
The former St Columb’s College President said he’d been blessed during his many enjoyable years in Derry and would be sad to leave the city. “It’s only now when I look back that I can see I’ve been able to develop as a person, as a priest, as a minister and as a pastor during all of the placements I’ve had here, and I’ve been blessed in Derry,” he said. “From my first appointment in St Eugene’s Cathedral to my time in St Columb’s College, those roles exposed me to all sorts of new experiences and all sorts of difficult situations. I feel now looking back that I’ve been so blessed to have had those experiences and also to have very very good people in my life. “I’m thinking particularly about people who have influenced me, like Bishop Daly and the priests I’ve worked with who have been a great inspiration and help to me, and in St Columb’s the staff and the pupils of the college who have always kept me feeling that I need to engage with a new generation of people and with young people.”
Mons. Martin thanked his family and close friends for their support and revealed he could only tell them the news of his appointment within the last few days.
“Just yesterday (Thursday) and this morning I’ve been telling my family,” he said. “They’re delighted and they think as long as I feel ok about it, they’ll support me one hundred per cent. I have some very very good and close friends. I’m going to need them and continue to need them in the future. There are people that I dearly love who have really supported me, sometimes having to bring me to my senses and keep my feet on the ground and remind me that I’m just a person trying to answer God’s call as best I can,” he said.
Remaining Administrator of the Derry Diocese until he is ordained as a bishop, Mons. Martin said one of his first questions to the Papal Nuncio had been the appointment of a new bishop for Derry.
“I asked the Papal Nuncio what would happen in Derry and he said that like a number of other diocese he currently has to fill he hopes to be able to do that in the coming months, so I hope it won’t be very long before Derry gets its own new bishop as well and I would like to think that I’ll work very closely with whoever that will be,” he said.
Mons. Martin is one of a family of twelve and grew up in Balmoral Avenue on the Racecourse Road, where his mother Catherine still lives. His father John James died in 2006. He is a past president of St Columb’s College and in 2008 was appointed executive secretary to the Irish Episcopal Conference in Maynooth. In 2010, he was elected Diocesan Administrator of the Derry Diocese.