By Sarah Mac Donald - 16 July, 2019
“Eucharist is at the heart of priesthood. When Eucharist is celebrated, God walks among his people."
Bishop Larry Duffy told his predecessor Bishop Liam MacDaid that the diocese of Clogher was “privileged” to have had him as their bishop.
At a Mass to give thanks for Bishop MacDaid’s 50 years of faithful service to the priesthood, Bishop Duffy told the congregation gathered in St Macartan’s cathedral: “Gratitude is our overwhelming feeling; gratitude for God’s call and for Bishop Liam’s generous response.”
Bishop MacDaid was ordained a priest on 15th June 1969 at St Patrick’s College, Maynooth. He was Bishop of Clogher from July 2010 until October 2016, when his retirement was accepted by Pope Francis on grounds of ill-health.
In his homily, Bishop Duffy quipped that from his earliest years as a footballer, “Bishop Liam was always considered a tight marker, a safe pair of hands, and a real team player. A defender in the full back line with his club, St Joseph’s, it’s said that one would need passport clearance to get past him!”
Bishop MacDaid has been a lifelong member of the GAA and played with the now former St Joseph’s club in Bundoran and Ballyshannon. With the team he won several Donegal senior football championship titles and an All-Ireland club title (then an unofficial competition) in 1968. He also won an Ulster under-21 championship medal with Donegal in 1966.
He studied for the priesthood during the Second Vatican Council (1962-65) and was ordained in June 1969. He became a priest when renewal and change was in the air in society and, especially, in the Church, Bishop Duffy noted.
Elsewhere in his homily on Sunday, Bishop Duffy – who succeeded Bishop MacDaid at the helm in Clogher – said, “Eucharist is at the heart of priesthood. When Eucharist is celebrated, God walks among his people. He invites us to open the door of our heart and welcome him in.”
But he underlined that Eucharist is also a challenge – a challenge to live life for others like Jesus Christ did; to be a kind and caring neighbour to all.
“A challenge to accept that the road from Jerusalem to Jericho passes through our home, our parish, our community. It is a challenge for us, like it was to the Good Samaritan, to see that we are called to have compassion, and to go the extra mile when need calls.”
The Mass of Thanksgiving for the Golden Jubilee of Bishop MacDaid’s ordination to the priesthood brought together representatives of many strands of Bishop MacDaid’s life.
Joining Bishop Duffy as the chief celebrant, the concelebrants included Bishop Joseph Duffy, Bishop Emeritus of Clogher; Bishop Leo O’Reilly, Bishop Emeritus of Kilmore and a classmate of Bishop Liam Duffy at Maynooth; as well as friends in the priesthood and priests of the Diocese of Clogher.
The place of honour was given to Archbishop Michael Jackson, Church of Ireland Archbishop of Dublin and Glendalough, and Bishop John McDowell, Church of Ireland Bishop of Clogher.
Bishop Liam MacDaid is a native of Bundoran, Co Donegal. He was born there on 19 July 1945.
Having completed his studies at St Macartan’s College, Monaghan, and at St Patrick’s College, Maynooth, he was ordained to the priesthood by the then Archbishop of Dublin, Dr John Charles McQuaid, on 15 June 1969.
He joined the teaching staff of St Macartan’s College, Monaghan in 1970 and was president of the college from 1981 until 1989.
From 1990 until 1993 he served in the parish of Aghavea & Aghintaine (Fivemiletown and Brookeboro) in Counties Tyrone and Fermanagh before being appointed Diocesan Secretary and Chancellor of the Diocese. He was at the same time administrator of the parish of Tyholland in Co Monaghan from 1993 until 2010.
Bishop MacDaid was appointed Bishop of Clogher by Pope Benedict XVI in May 2010 and ordained bishop on 25 July 2010 in St Macartan’s Cathedral, Monaghan. He led the diocese for over six years until his retirement on health grounds was accepted by Pope Francis on 1 October 2016.
In his concluding remarks, Bishop MacDaid thanked all involved in the occasion. “It gave us all the opportunity to acknowledge that what we have to offer one another are gifts from God, which ripen and reach full bloom only when we relate to each other in a spirit of unselfish love.”
He added, “We also had a welcome opportunity today to express our gratitude to one another for the help and support we received on challenging stretches of the journey of life. Ní neart go cur le chéile.”