Wednesday 17 April 2024

New Down and Connor bishop calls for political leaders to make Stormont work ‘for good of all’ at installation mass in Belfast


The new bishop of Down and Connor has spoken of the importance of peace during his first official homily and encouraged the north’s politicians to be “bold” in making Stormont work.

Bishop Alan McGuckian was installed in his new role on Sunday in a service at St Peter’s Cathedral in Belfast.

The former bishop for the Raphoe Diocese in Co Donegal, the senior cleric was appointed by Pope Francis in February.

He now replaces the Bishop of Derry Donal McKeown, who had been serving as the Apostolic Administrator for Down and Connor.

An Irish language enthusiast, Bishop McGuckian was previously the editor of spiritual magazine An Timire, and worked with religious publisher Foilseacháin Ábhair Spioradálta.

He also translated the autobiography of Saint Ignatius Loyola from the Spanish original into Irish.

The bishop previously served as chaplain of the gaelscoileanna in the Diocese of Down and Connor and was chaplain in the University of Ulster at Jordanstown and Belfast, among other roles.

Bishop McGuckian, who is from Cloughmills in Co Antrim, was joined at Sunday’s service by All Ireland Primate, Archbishop Eamon Martin; the Apostolic Nuncio to Ireland, Archbishop Luis Mariano Montemayor, and members of the Irish Bishops’ Conference.

In his homily, Bishop McGuckian said Christians should be “channels of peace in our world”, and spoke of the need for political leaders to fulfill their roles.

He continued: “We will reach out confidently in love, with our brothers and sisters of other Christian communions, and together we will encourage our local politicians to be generous and bold as they seek to make our political institutions work for the good of all.

“On the global level even today the escalation of war is an awful threat. Christians who are channels of peace are ever more necessary.”