KNOCK THREE TIMES FOR THE FINAL TIME
Day of Fanfare in St Canice’s Cathedral, Kilkenny
Sunday, February 5th, 2023
Bishop Adrian Wilkinson enthroned as Bishop of Ossory
Sunday afternoon, February 5th was a day of fanfare in St Canice’s Cathedral, Kilkenny as the new Bishop of Cashel, Ferns & Ossory, The Right Reverend Adrian Wilkinson, was enthroned there.
The service of enthronement formally began his ministry in the diocese of Ossory, one of the six dioceses in the Church of Ireland’s United Diocese of Cashel, Ferns & Ossory.
The service was organised and conducted by the Dean of Ossory, The Very Reverend Stephen Farrell, in the presence of County Kilkenny civic and religious dignitaries.
As per tradition Bishop Wilkinson knocked three times on the west door of the cathedral with his pastoral staff before being admitted and greeted by a young parishioner. He was then introduced to clergy, ecumenical colleagues, and congregation before being led, and installed, by Dean Farrell, on this occasion, in his two seats – Saint Ciarán’s chair and also the Diocesan throne.
(The word ‘cathedral’ comes from the Latin word ‘cathedra’ which means the seat where a bishop sits to teach the faith to the people of the diocese.)
Religious dignitaries who joined the Bishop in St Canice’s on this memorable occasion were The Most Reverend Niall Coll, Bishop of Ossory and The Most Reverend Ger Nash, Bishop of Ferns as well as The Reverend Susan Gallagher of the Methodist Church and The Very Reverend Jim Murphy, Parish Priest of St Canice’s Church.
Civic dignitaries present were John McGuiness TD, Cathaoirleach of Kilkenny County Council Pat Fitzpatrick and Mayor David Fitzgerald. Two members of An Garda Siochána also attended.
In his sermon Bishop Wilkinson spoke about how this sixth and final enthronement in St Canice’s as Bishop of Ossory was the end of his first chapter as Bishop of Cashel, Ferns & Ossory. Summarising his approach at each of his previous enthronements in Waterford, Leighlin, Cashel, Lismore and Ferns over the past two months he recalled his themes at each service.
They ranged from making a distinction between the living tradition of faith and the dead traditionalism of intransigence to change (Waterford), Christ the Servant King being the embodiment of our agenda for social justice (Leighlin), the language of hope (Cashel), Jesus’ banner question ‘What are you looking for?’ and his invitation to ‘Come and see’ (Lismore) and in Ferns he drew on the pilgrimage links between Ferns and St Edan/Aidan and St David’s in Wales.
“It has been a great joy to meet so many people in all six cathedrals,” he said, before concentrating on the next chapter.
“Readings for today give much food for thought,” he said, mentioning the themes of defending the vulnerable, and making a positive difference in our communities.
Church and state can support each other at times for the common good but it is also about being critical of each other and holding each other to account when necessary,” he said.
“It’s not about the church having special status but about fostering a mature relationship between people of different faiths and no faiths, about supporting those who have political leadership and responsibility for our common life. This is particularly important when some seek to emphasise difference in society rather than what unites us all as part of humanity.”
He concluded by talking about what the foundation – the enduring melody (of faith and ministry) – is for us today.
“None of us can know what shape the church will take in years to come,” he said. “Change is inevitable but what I do know is that prayer, worship and the sacraments have always been the heart of Christian communities in this diocese.
I also know that the people will not cease to be in need of love, pastoral care and affirmation and to be reminded that God loves them as they are, more than they can ever appreciate. That is the enduring melody of faith, for me.”
Lessons were read by Margaret Hawkins, Diocesan Communications Officer, Heidi Good, Diocesan Lay Reader and the Gospel was read by The Most Reverend Niall Coll, Bishop of Ossory.
The Registrar who read the mandate for the Enthronement was The Venerable Ruth Elmes, Rector of Tinahely and Carnew Union of Parishes.
Hymns chosen for this special occasion were All People That On Earth Do Dwell, Come Down O Love Divine, Be Still For The Presence Of The Lord, Be Thou My Vision, We Turn To Christ Anew, Praise My Soul The King Of Heaven and Guide Me O Thou Great Jehovah.
The St Canice’s Cathedral Choir led by Director of Music, Harry Meehan, sang Psalms 121 and 112, the Gospel Acclamation and The Anthem I was glad by C.H.H. Parry.
The fanfare, Ecce Sacredos Magnus, by H Meehan sounded as the Bishop proceeded to the West door at the end of the service to bless the city. The organist was Dr David O’Shea who concluded the service with the Organ Voluntary, J.S. Bach’s Fantasia super Komm, Heiliger Geist.
Before and after the service the bells were rung by the Cathedral Bell Ringers under the direction of Tower Captain, Ian McCullagh.
Refreshments were served in Kilkenny College afterwards.
With thanks to Harry Reid for photos above.