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Former president among first lay ecumenical canons for Church of Ireland

By Ann Marie Foley - 27 September, 2017

Former President of Ireland, Dr Mary McAleese is among Christ Church Cathedral’s new lay and ecumenical canons. The Church of Ireland’s first Lay Cannons to be installed on 1st October 2017 also include Professor Jim Lucey, Medical Director of St Patrick’s Mental Health Services and Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Trinity College Dublin, The Revd Lorraine Kennedy-Ritchie, of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland, and Dr David Tuohy SJ will be installed as Ecumenical Canons.

A Bill allowing for the appointment of the honorary Canons was passed at the General Synod of the Church of Ireland in May. “The opportunity afforded to Christ Church Cathedral by the decision of the General Synod of the Church of Ireland is one we value and appreciate,” said the Most Revd Dr Michael Jackson, the Archbishop of Dublin.

“In a small yet significant way I hope that the cathedral will be able to recognise, in the year of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, the distinct and unique contributions of a wide range of people associated with public and religious life in Ireland from a wide variety of perspectives.”

The move to appoint honorary Canons reflected the desire to honour lay people who had given particular and distinguished service to cathedral or public life.

The Dean of Christ Church Cathedral, the Very Revd Dermot Dunne, said: “The cathedral has a strong outreach to the community of Dublin reflected in its cultural and liturgical life. In creating Lay Canonries the Chapter seeks to recognise the contribution gifted lay people have made to the life of the cathedral and the life of the community.”

The appointment of the Ecumenical Canons reflects the cathedral’s mission and ministry in the city amid a changing ecumenical culture.

Dean Dunne said: “The cathedral provides a tangible and visible ecumenical expression where all traditions of the Christian faith can come together in a space that is neither threatening nor exclusive. This is already happening in the cathedral where ecumenism is expressed in many of our liturgies and gatherings. Having Ecumenical Canons on the Chapter of Christ Church will broaden the ecumenical landscape of both the cathedral and the dioceses.”

Clockwise: Dr Mary McAleese, the Revd Lorraine Kennedy–Ritchie, Professor Jim Lucey and Dr David Tuohy SJ.

The installation of these honorary Lay and Ecumenical Canons will take place during a Service of Choral Evensong in Christ Church Cathedral on Sunday 1st October 2017. Each will serve for five years. Honorary ecumenical lay canons may attend chapter meetings at the cathedral and preach.

During the service, Dublin & Glendalough’s new Youth Ministry Coordinator, Susie Keegan, will also be commissioned.

Dr Mary McAleese was President of Ireland from 1997 until 2011. Almost 20 years ago there was much controversy, when in her capacity as President of Ireland, Mrs McAleese received Communion at the cathedral. She was the first President to come from Northern Ireland and the theme of her presidency was Building Bridges. Since leaving that position she has been studying and is currently pursuing a doctorate in Canon Law at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome.

Professor Jim Lucey Professor Jim Lucey is Medical Director of St. Patrick’s Mental Health Services and Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Trinity College Dublin. For more than 30 years he has been working with adults with a range of mental health problems, specialising in the assessment, diagnosis and management of OCD and other anxiety disorders. He features regularly on Today with Sean O’Rourke on RTE Radio 1.

The Revd Lorraine Kennedy-Ritchie was born and raised in Johannesburg South Africa where she lived on wealthy estates and in impoverished townships alike, experiencing the reality of her country in a time of struggle. She studied at a Theological college in Johannesburg. She came to Ireland when her husband was recruited to work in Dublin. She is part of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland ministry in Dublin and she serves Clontarf & Scots Presbyterian.

Dr David Tuohy is a Jesuit and most of his ministry has been in education. In 2011 he was involved with the Church of Ireland primary schools, producing a report, “Who is Coming to our Schools?” with Dr Anne Lodge and Dr Ken Fennelly for the Forum on Patronage. In 2015, he was again involved in a report with Dr Anne Lodge, “Small Schools, Value for Learning”. He was also on the Review Committee for the Church of Ireland Theological Commission in 2016.

Susie Keegan took up the role as Dublin & Glendalough Youth Ministry Development Officer in August.

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