The unseasonably wet summer weather did not dampen the enthusiasm of the large congregation, or the warmth of their welcome to the Revd Paul Fitzpatrick at the service of the institution in St Mary’s Church, Carlow on Friday 14th July. It was the first institution service presided over by Bishop Wilkinson.
The worship began with the singing of the hymn Be thou my vision, during which the procession of diocesan and local clergy, as well as diocesan readers and visiting clergy from Paul’s former Diocese of Tuam, Limerick and Killaloe, entered the church. Early in the service, Revd Paul Fitzpatrick was formally presented by Archdeacon Mark Hayden to the Bishop. The first and the second readings were read by Seán Fitzpatrick and Lilly McLeod and the Gospel was read by Revd Ger James.
In her sermon, Canon Jane Galbraith from Roscrea Group of Parishes, referring to Jesus’ teaching on the Vine and the Branches in John 15, emphasised that we should all work together in collaboration for the community.
Then the Registrar, the Very Revd Stephen Farrell read the certificate of appointment and the Revd. Paul Fitzpatrick made the formal declarations, before being instituted as rector. The next hymn, I the Lord of Sea and Sky, emphasised call and response in ministry however the new incumbent and congregation were reminded that this ministry is a shared one rooted in a particular local context. The members of the congregation brought forward symbols of the teaching, pastoral and sacramental ministry to the new incumbent. Following the hymn Ag Críost an síol, the new rector led the congregation in prayer.
At the end of the service, speeches of welcome were made by An Cathaoirleach of Carlow County Council, Cllr Andrea Dalton representing the civic life of the town and the Administrator of the Cathedral of the Assumption Fr Thomas O’Byrne representing the other local churches. As secretary of the Select Vestry, Ms Carolyn Good spoke on behalf of the congregation welcoming their new Rector.
The new Rector responded by thanking all those present, particularly those who spoke, for their kind words of welcome. He thanked Canon Jane Galbraith for her sermon which offered ‘wisdom and guidance’ and said he looked forward to working with the Revd Ger James as a colleague. He noted that the sound of the pealing bells from the tower of Saint Mary’s before the service reminded all that ‘faith is alive and well in our midst.’ Revd Paul Fitzpatrick also remembered some absent friends who were part of his pilgrimage of faith. He ended by thanking his wife Betty and daughter Maebh for their love and support.
The fellowship continued with refreshments served in the parish house and adjoining marquee.