DIOCESE OF CASHEL FERNS & OSSORY
DIOCESE OF LEIGHLIN
PARISHES OF BALTINGLASS with BALLYNURE,
RATHVILLY & STRATFORD-ON-SLANEY.
THE INSTITUTION TO THE INCUMBENCY OF
THE REVEREND MÁIRT HANLEY
St Mary’s Church, Baltinglass
Sunday 11th January 2015
The institution of the Revd Máirt Hanley to Baltinglass took place on Sunday 11th January 2015 with the Procession heralded by the hymn ‘Dear Lord and Father of mankind,’ and the Bishop welcomed everyone as gaeilge and then went on to lead the service celebrating the new ministry of Máirt. The Bishop welcomed the parishioners and those from further afield supporting Máirt associated with his journey from Kerry, Wexford and Waterford to this particular point. The Bishop also made special mention of those who had come from the wider, ecumenical, civic and political community of Baltinglass and beyond commenting on the excellent ecumenical atmosphere in this part of the country.
The Bishop thanked everyone who had been involved in the preparation for the occasion and also those who had been involved in the very considerable work on the rectory. He thanked all those who have stepped in during the vacancy: the Revd Dr Stella Durand, the Revd Margaret Sykes, Bishop Walton Empey along with Hazel Burgess and Mary Jackson.
He remembered with fondness the last incumbent the late Canon Mervyn McCullagh and acknowledged that the parish was still grieving but with the coming of Máirt, his wife Una and their three children Sive, Oscar and Cathal and extended family, a new chapter was beginning. He remarked that it is not insignificant that it has been 27 years since a service of institution has taken place in the church.
The organ was played by Freda Jones, Drinda Jones and Hilary Jackson.
The Archdeacon, the Ven. Andrew Orr presented Mr Hanley to be introduced by the Bishop
In the Service of the word the lessons were read by Eric Champ from Killorglin and Lily Carpenter Principal of Taney National School and the Gospel by the Revd Dr Stella Durand.
The Sermon was given by the Revd Dr Adrian Empey Phd, MRIA and former Principal of the Theological College.
In his address he alluded to much of Máirt’s background which was well covered by Máirt himself in last month’s magazine and there is no need to repeat these biographical details. Dr Empey’s text quoted Samuel: that appearances can deceptive and that the Lord looked to the heart rather than stature.
The former Principal of the Theological College described Máirt as someone who did his own thing paddling his own canoe to the mystification of the more orthodox students. Máirt is not one to follow the crowd and Dr Empey described him as among the unique or even ‘quirky’ of students who found it impossible to ‘pigeon-hole’ him.
His wide interests brings Máirt out of the confines of the Church of Ireland community and into touch with both other religious and secular groups which will stand to him in this his new ministry here in Baltinglass. His experience ranges from cricket to the Irish language to gardening.
Dr Empey reminds the congregation that a new rector brings with him a rectory family and Una is equally interested in community based activities and there is little doubt that this family of five will find a warm welcome in the parish community. Church of Ireland communities are by reputation somewhat conservative and with a rather unconventional pastor coming amongst a parish, a period of adjustment may be needed. But, Dr Empey emphasised that Máirt once found something spiritual in the Church of Ireland which many people often do not and to give it time. Do not look on his stature and outward appearance but as the Lord does, look on the heart – ‘quite so!’ concluded Dr Empey.
‘Signing the Contract’
This Institution service is the nearest there is under God to a contract between priest and people in terms of their mutual responsibilities and duties.
The first part encompasses the legal and public side of the institution. The acting registrar, the Ven. Andrew Orr read the certificate of appointment and with declarations and signings completed, the Bishop presented the Revd Máirt to the congregation and commended his ministry, asking him to accept a share in the care of God’s people here in Baltinglass and surrounds and invited him to serve as Rector of the cure of parishes.
The Bishop and Máirt then stood and faced the people as the Bishop presented him to the congregation as priest asking them to support and encourage him in his ministry, praying for him as he will pray for them to which they agreed and they welcomed him with enthusiastic applause.
Then followed the more pastoral and symbolic outworking of the preceding legal section. The congregation is called to witness to the love of Christ and to serve others in the name of Christ. This is shown by presenting symbols of the teaching, pastoral and sacramental ministry of a priest by members of the congregation.
Norman Styles brought a bible from the pulpit; Hazel Burgess presented a container of water from the font; Mary Jackson brought a copy of the Book of Common Prayer from the Prayer Desk; Frances Wynne brought forward bread and wine; Frances Hopkins presented a vial of oil; Helen Jones presented a towel representing the washing of feet; and the Ven. Andrew Orr presented copies of the Diocesan Directory and finally David Edwards brought forward a key of the church. The Bishop exhorted the new rector to be more enthusiastic about keeping the churches open rather than closed.
The Prayers of the People were led by Máirt both in English and as gaeilge. He included prayers for his new neighbouring cleric in Portlaoise and for the young people who had lost their lives in the recent road accident and also for the people of Paris as they come to terms with a week of terrorism. In all those who have gone before he remembered his own mother and the Revd Canon McCullagh.
He then announced the services for the Union for the following Sunday in Rathvilly and Stratford-on-Slaney.
The final hymn, not usually heard at an institution, was remarked as appropriate being by the Slaney as everyone had indeed ‘gathered at the river!’
The Bishop concluded the service as he had begun with the closing blessing as gaeilge and then proceeded to the font with Máirt in an act of baptism, it being the feast of the Baptism of Jesus.
Following that conclusion some words of welcome were spoken in the church. A number of representatives including Fr Tommy Dillon (Baltinglass), Abe Carpenter from the parish, Billy Timmins TD (Baltinglass) and Pat Deering TD (Carlow) formally welcomed the new incumbent. Again there was reference to water linking the Slaney with Máirt being described as paddling his own canoe – plenty of scope for that nearby! Half jokingly, half seriously, was that if one was of contemplative nature, there is the adjacent Abbey for communion with the saints for inspiration.
Finally Máirt replied by saying how delighted he was coming among the people of Baltinglass and for giving him this opportunity. He thanked all those who had travelled, all those who been involved in the preparation of the rectory. He acknowledged the recent, difficult past it has been for the parish but that they were ready to start a new chapter with him and build bigger, greater, more ‘chocolatey’ moments!
The evening concluded with refreshments (including plenty of chocolate!) offered in the adjacent school hall afterwards.