06 June 2018

Continuing Ministerial Education:
Visiting three cathedrals

The ‘field trip’ ended with a lively discussion in the churchyard at Saint Brendan’s Cathedral, Clonfert (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

The following half-page news report and photographs are published in the current [July 2018] edition of ‘Newslink, the Diocesan Magazine in Limerick, Killaloe and Ardfert:

A large group of priests and readers visited the three cathedrals in the united dioceses as part of the diocesan programme of training and education in ministry. These three cathedrals function in a variety of ways, from city cathedral to parish church, to a church in a rural setting. Each has a unique story and historical dimension and attracts tourists for very different reasons.

The field trip began in Saint Mary’s Cathedral, Limerick, where Noreen Ellerker brought the group on a tour of the cathedral, which is celebrating its 850th anniversary. She introduced the history of the cathedral, from its foundation in 1168, to recent changes and innovations introduced by the Dean, the Very Revd Niall Sloane.

In Killaloe, Co Clare, the group was taken on a tour of Saint Flannan’s Cathedral by the Dean, the Very Revd Gary Paulsen, and climbed the cathedral tower for views of Saint Flannan’s Oratory and sweeping, breath-taking views of the River Shannon, before enjoying lunch in the town.

The field trip continued on by road to Saint Brendan’s Cathedral, Clonfert, Co Galway, with its unique Hiberno-Romanesque doorway and the grave of Saint Brendan. The visit concluded with a celebration of the Eucharist.

Later, Clonfert parishioners welcomed the visiting group with tea and coffee.

During the day, the participants crossed the Shannon many times, and travelled through all three provinces and many of the counties embraced by this diocese.

‘This was an interesting way to get to know and understand the different dimensions of cathedral life in our dioceses,’ said Canon Patrick Comerford, who organised the day. ‘The best way to learn history is to visit the very places where history was made and to experience it at first-hand. We saw sites associated with the early Celtic church and saints, the Viking invasions, and the Anglo-Norman and mediaeval churches, as well as seeing the changes made to these buildings as the needs and fashions of liturgy and worship changed over the centuries.’

The ‘field trip’ participants enjoy coffee with the parishioners of Saint Brendan’s Cathedral, Clonfert (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

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