Former president of Ireland Mary McAleese was one of four honorary lay canons appointed to the Church of Ireland’s Christ Church Cathedral last weekend.
The four were the first honorary lay canons installed at the Church of Ireland cathedral in Dublin. Also installed was Prof Jim Lucey, clinical professor of psychiatry at Trinity College Dublin, while Jesuit priest Fr David Tuohy and Clontarf Presbyterian minister Rev Lorraine Kennedy- Ritchie were installed as honorary ecumenical canons.
Last May, the Church of Ireland’s General Synod passed a bill to allow for the appointment of honorary canons as a means of giving recognition to ‘lay people who had given particular and distinguished service to cathedral or public life’ and that such appointments would reflect ‘the cathedral’s mission and ministry in the city amid a changing ecumenical culture’.
“All four of them, first and foremost, represent themselves,” said the Church of Ireland Archbishop of Dublin, Michael Jackson.
“They represent the contribution they have made to life for others and with others, in a wide range of fields and over sustained periods of time. This has been both professional and personal.
“This has been by public duty and by personal conviction. Each and all of them can and do instruct us, inform us and inspire us in regard to what it is to live a life of service and leadership in contemporary Ireland.”
In a statement the cathedral said: “This is a historic occasion in the life of these dioceses when canons are drawn from the wider community to become part of the active life of the cathedral. Both lay and ecumenical canons are recognised for their service to the community of Ireland and it is fitting that Christ Church Cathedral, the spiritual heart of Dublin should invite them to be part of its foundation as it seeks to continue to serve the community of Dublin and its environs.”