By Cian Molloy - 11 February, 2019
Forty-three years after he was ordained a priest, Msgr Larry Duffy stepped forward on to the altar at St Macartan’s Cathedral in Monaghan yesterday to be ordained a second time, this time as Bishop of Clogher.
In his homily at the Mass of Consecration, Archbishop Eamon Martin of Armagh, primate of All Ireland, described the call to be a bishop as a “call within a call”, a phrase used by Saint Mother Teresa to describe the overwhelming desire that suddenly came upon her to leave her teaching role in the Loreto order to establish a new congregation, the Missionaries of Charity, working among the poorest members of society.
“To become bishop is your ‘call within a call’,” said Archbishop Martin, addressing Ireland’s newest bishop. “But do not lose your priestly and pastoral instinct to serve, and to build up hearts. This is one of your gifts and you can bring it to your episcopacy. Your choice of episcopal motto – ‘God is Love’ – is simple, yet profound and challenging.
“Remember how St Paul, and his companion Barnabus, known as ‘son of encouragement’ went around putting fresh heart into the churches. Keep encouraging your people! As Pope Francis says, do not allow them to be robbed of hope.”
The cathedral was packed for the ceremony. In addition to 26 members of the Church hierarchy, also present were Clogher diocesan clergy and religious, former seminary colleagues and priests from the Diocese of Kitui in Kenya where Bishop Duffy, 67, served as a missionary for four years, plus many well-wishers from civic and public society and those who had formed bonds of friendship with the Ballybay man over the years.
Archbishop Martin told them: “The Holy Spirit is constantly building up and rejuvenating the Church. This is not a time for us to yearn for, or mourn for, a bygone era, but to prepare and till the soil for the new springtime.
“I am convinced that the Spirit is already at work here in Ireland preparing us for new growth in faith. Our task, as bishops and priests, is to walk with our lay faithful and to carefully discern with them what the Spirit is saying to the Church in Ireland – to search for what Pope Francis calls the new ways for the journey in faith that the Spirit wants for this time and this place.”
He added: “We must never think, as bishops and priests, that we are in this alone. It is time to encourage and form our lay faithful, and especially our young people, to be alert and open to the promptings of the Holy Spirit, calling them and gifting them for the service of the Gospel.”
Archbishop Martin said he prays every day for vocations to the priesthood and religious life.
“But I also pray that every member of the Church – married or single, ordained or consecrated – will realise that they are called by the Sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation to be part of the new springtime for the faith.
“Imagine, if everyone here present could find their unique ‘call within a call’; say their personal ‘Here I am, Lord’ and become part of the new evangelisation in Ireland! Together we could haul in ‘a huge catch’ for the Lord!”