Tuesday, 12 August 2008

Canon-in-residence in the cathedral

Canon Patrick Comerford with Archbishop Ephraim Adebola Ademowo of Lagos and his wife Oluranti after the mid-day Eucharist in Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin, on Monday

Patrick Comerford

Throughout this week, I am the canon-in-residence in Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin. There was no visiting choir in the cathedral for the Eucharist on Sunday morning, but the guest organist was Vincent Lynch, a former organ scholar in the Chapel at Trinity College Dublin.

As canon-in-residence, I preached at the Cathedral Eucharist on Sunday morning, and I am in the cathedral each evening for Evening Prayer at 5 p.m.

In addition, I have been in the cathedral a few days between this week and last week as the priest-chaplain, leading the mid-day Peace Prayers at noon, presiding at the Eucharist at 12.45, and generally being available for the visitors and tourists who appear to be arriving in the cathedral in great numbers.

There seems to be a large number of Italian tourists this year. But I’ve also sat and talked with people from Argentina, Canada, England, France, Germany, Israel, Jamaica, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, South Africa, Spain and the United States, among other places … on Monday afternoon, three priests from the Romanian Orthodox Church arrived, unannounced, with their families and friends.

And then there was the family from Dublin – father, mother, two children – who had never been in the cathedral before, and were sorry that as “True Dubs” they never knew what it was like inside.

On Monday, when we remembered John Henry Newman in the cathedral calendar, the Archbishop of Lagos, the Most Revd Dr Ephraim Adebola Ademowo, and his wife Oluranti, were present at the mid-day Eucharist. Archbishop Ephraim pronounced the absolution and the blessing, and the congregation also included an interesting group of visitors from Canada.

Afterwards, the Archbishop and his wife, known in her diocese as “Mama Lagos,” were brought on a guided tour of the cathedral by the Administrator, Mr Michael Denton.

On the previous evening, there was a welcome dinner in the Orlagh Retreat Centre for the Archbishop of Lagos and his wife in the Orlagh Retreat Centre. Archbishop Ademowo was in Dublin to baptise his grandson in Whitechurch Parish Church on Sunday morning. The guests at the dinner included Archbishop John Neill of Dublin, his wife Betty, members of the Augustinian community and retreat team at Orlagh, and clergy, readers and parishioners from Tallaght and Whitechurch parishes.

Like all the Anglican bishops in Nigeria, Archbishop Ephraim was not present at the Lambeth Conference this year. But his presence in the cathedral and in Whitechurch, the good fun we had at dinner on Sunday, and his meeting with Archbishop Neill in See House today (Tuesday) all go to show that the Anglican Communion is still holding together despite what some commentators and observers may say.

Canon Patrick Comerford is Director of Spiritual Formation, the Church of Ireland Theological College