Archbishop Eamon Martin was ordained as the Coadjutor Archbishop of Armagh and next leader of catholics of Ireland at St Patrick’s Cathedral.
Archbishop Martin was ordained to the Episcopate by Cardinal Sean Brady, Archbishop Charles J Brown, and Bishop Gerard Clifford.
St Patrick’s Cathedral was packed to capacity with visitors from all over Ireland, including many who had travelled from Derry for the Ordination Mass.
The new Archbishop was joined by his mother and siblings, a number of whom participated in the Mass.
A large number of priests from the Derry Diocese were also in Armagh for the ceremony and took part in the ceremonial procession which led Archbishop Martin to the Cathedral.
In his homily, Cardinal Brady welcomed Fr Martin to Armagh and thanked his family. “I thank your mother, Catherine, and your late father, John James for bringing you to the waters of baptism, the fountain of life from which your vocation as a priest, and now as a Bishop, had its source.
“We also thank and congratulate your brothers and sisters, your family, and the people of Derry Diocese,” he said.
Paying tribute to his new Coadjutor, Cardinal Brady said; “You have fearlessly proclaimed the gospel of life, promoted peace, safeguarded the weak and the abused, the unborn and the vulnerable, and upheld the cause of Catholic education,” he said.
As he was ordained, an Episcopal ring, mitre, and staff were given to Archbishop Martin.
Addressing the congregation, Archbishop Martin thanked his family and friends for their support.
“I feel a whole mixture of emotions about this new calling in my life - excitement, nervousness, a sense of my unworthiness and inadequacy - but your prayers, good wishes and generosity have lifted me up,” he said.
He also thanked the people of his home city. “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 will always be in my thoughts and prayers - please keep me in yours.”
The new archbishop announced his new motto - Sing a New Song to the Lord - and this formed the theme of his first address.
“For me that new song is a song about love and peace, a song of forgiveness and reconciliation.”
He also said that everyone, not just priests and bishops, have a role to play in singing that song.
The Derry born cleric also expressed his hope for more vocations to religious life.
A deacon from Derry, Micheal McGavigan, played a key role in the ordination, assisting the ordaining bishops on the altar.
Archbishop Martin was attended by Derry priests and lifelong friends, Fr Colm O’Doherty and Fr Michael McCaughey.
Dignitaries from the worlds of politics and civic life, as well as the leaders of the other main churches in Ireland also attended the ordination.
Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness was among the first to greet Archbishop Martin following the ceremony.
Ulster Unionist leader Mike Nesbit, Secretary of State Theresa Villiers, SDLP leader Alastair McDonald and Nobel Laureate John Hume were also in attendance.
Archbishop Martin was greeted by the priests of his former and new diocese as he left the Cathedral following the Ordination Mass.
See this week’s Tuesday Journal for extensive coverage and pictures of the ordination.