Archbishop Eamon Martin has said the people of Derry will remain in his thoughts and prayers as he begins his new role as Coadjutor Archbishop of Armagh.
Speaking following his Episcopal Ordination in St Patrick’s Cathedral, Armagh, on Sunday, Archbishop Martin said he will miss the people of Derry and thanked them for their support over the years.
“To the people of Derry, and the priests and retired Bishops of my native diocese, it has been a privilege to serve you and work alongside you. I’m going to miss you and you shall always be in my thoughts and prayers - please keep me in yours,” he said.
Archbishop Martin said the motto for his episcopate will be ‘Cantate Domino canticum novum’ - ‘Sing a new song to the Lord.’
He explained that he chose the motto after conversations with a number of people following the announcement of his appointment.
The motto provided the theme of the newly consecrated archbishop’s address and he encouraged others to reflect on its meaning.
“It suggests renewal. It calls on us to seek fresh ways of presenting the message of the Gospel. But how can this be done? How can we sing the song of the Lord in these strange times?
“For me that new song is a song about love and peace, a song of forgiveness and reconciliation.
“It sings out good news about the sacredness of all human life and the wonder of God’s creation; it tells of the dignity of every person and it challenges us to reach out to the poorest and most vulnerable in the world; it’s a song about family and solidarity, about charity, truth and justice.”
Archbishop Martin also acknowledged that the modern church faces many challenges.
“Of course there are some who will not want to listen. There are others too who have been so hurt and betrayed in the past, that understandably they find themselves unable to trust our message,” he said.
He also said that the lay community has a role to play. “The singing of the new song is not simply a task for Bishops, priests and religious. It belongs to all God’s people.
“During this Year of Faith I pray for a renewed outpouring of the Holy Spirit in Ireland, enkindling the fire of God’s love in the hearts of all the faithful.
“Sing the new song of the Lord with all your hearts and your lives by witnessing to Christ in your families and workplaces, and in the new mission fields of media, culture, business and politics,” he said.
As the Episcopal Ordination took place on Vocations Sunday, Archbishop Martin also encouraged an increase in vocations. “I pray also that the Holy Spirit may reawaken in Ireland that wonderful spirit of self-giving which inspired so many young men and women in the past to give themselves totally to the service of the Gospel as priests and in consecrated life,” he said.
The new Archbishop warned that it is not always easy to live as he envisaged. “Of course we must all be sure that it is the Lord’s song that we are singing and not simply our own composition with a catchy rhythm and some clever lyrics,” he said.
Archbishop Martin also thanked his family for support and asked for the prayers of the people of Derry and Armagh as he takes up his new role.