MESSAGE FROM ARCHBISHOP DIARMUID MARTIN – 29 December 2020

MESSAGE FROM ARCHBISHOP DIARMUID MARTIN

 29 December 2020

Later this morning the Holy See will announce that Pope Francis has accepted my resignation as Archbishop of Dublin that I had presented at the beginning of this year.  The Pope will also announce the name of my successor  (Announcement is .already made and Most Reverend Dr Dermot Farrell is the Archbishop-elect of Dublin.)

             As I take leave of my ministry, I wish to thank all those who have sustained and encouraged me in my mission as Archbishop.  I was genuinely moved over these past few weeks at the large number of people who have affectionately written to thank me and to wish me well at this new stage in my life and ministry. I thank them.

             At the same time, I am aware of those who may feel that I have let them down or who have been offended by something I said or did or did not do.  I ask their pardon.

             I have given sixteen years of my life to this ministry as Archbishop of Dublin.  I will never forget the faith and the generosity the commitment of the clergy and people of this diocese. Your faith has encouraged me.

             The Church in Dublin is a very different one today than it was sixteen years ago. Parishes have become more vibrant than at any time in their history.  We were the first diocese to introduce the permanent diaconate.  We introduced parish pastoral workers.  Families and schools have shown great commitment in transmitting faith in Jesus Christ to their children.  Lay women and men have willingly taken on responsibility in parish life.

             I remember the annual Holy Thursday Chrism Masses.  They were always an occasion in which we saw the sincere commitment of priests to renewal in their ministry.  I remember the close cooperation with the Diocesan Council of Priests on a wide exchange of pastoral reflection and proposals.  Only once in those sixteen years was I unable to attend a meeting.

             I remember the priests that I had the privilege to ordain. It may seem strange to say but I remember in a special way the funerals of priests.  They were occasions at which the affection of people for their priest became manifest and they were occasions that made me recall what the call to priesthood means.  In this context, I commend to your prayers the late Monsignor Tom Stack a priest of extraordinary qualities who died in these days.

             I remember the events in the RDS at the Eucharistic Congress and the World Meting of Families.  They were occasions in which we realised that there are great things happening in the Irish Church, especially with the participation of religious and missionary societies.

             I remember the difficult past year with lockdowns and restrictions on our ministry.  I think of those who died, of the bereaved, of the sick and of those who lost their livelihood. Our parishes faced challenges but were far from being undaunted.  

             I remember the hurt experienced by survivors of sexual abuse.  My meetings with them were harrowing but I never came away from them without learning something of how survivors have to cope with their horrific experiences until the present.  I thank the Child Safeguarding and Protection Service of the Diocese for the way it changed the culture of the diocese.  I thank the lay people in every parish who work in this area.   I thank the survivors who contributed to our response at a time when they had every reason to abandon us.

             I thank those who worked closely with me personally in Archbishops House and in the diocesan administration.  I enjoyed good relations of cooperation with leaders in public life, the city authorities, and the world of education. The Church must be present constructively in society.   I was blessed with the friendship of two Church of Ireland Archbishops, John Neil and Michael Jackson, as well as leaders of other Christian Churches, the Islamic Community and both Jewish communities.

             In my life, I had the remarkable experience over thirty years of working for the Holy See in international life.  It was a privilege to know and serve four Popes. The greatest honour, however, was of course to be called to be Archbishop of the city and the diocese where I was born and grew up. I am and have always been a proud Dubliner. 

             The name of my successor will be announced later this morning.  In the period until he can be fully installed as Archbishop, Pope Francis has appointed me as Apostolic Administrator of the Archdiocese of Dublin with all the rights, faculties and duties of a diocesan bishop.

             I know that my successor will receive the full support of the priests and people of this Diocese.  I wish him well and pray the Lord that the Lord will bless him with good health and strong pastoral vision to lead the Catholic community in what will be challenging times.

             Finally, I ask you to keep me in your affection and in your prayers.

 +Diarmuid Martin

Archbishop of Dublin