Fr Martin Magill’s Ecumenical Tithing: Abbot Mark Hederman at Trinity College Chapel

tcd chapelThis weekend Fr Martin Magill found himself in Dublin, and his ecumenical tithing took the form of attending Choral Eucharist at Trinity College Dublin. Abbot Mark Hederman, the prominent Abbot of Glenstal Abbey in Co. Limerick, was the guest speaker.

Hederman urged those present to engage with the Holy Spirit, which is urging us towards a ‘less male, less sexist, less patriarchal church.’ Like Fr Magill, I was also struck by how the Trinity students prayed for ‘our Archbishops, Michael and Diarmuid,’ naming both the Anglican and Catholic leaders in a commendable ecumenical gesture.

Fr Martin Magill’s Ecumenical Tithing: Chapel at Trinity College Dublin

As I was in Dublin at the weekend, I chose to worship in the college chapel of TCD for Choral Eucharist.  There was a slight delay in the congregation taking seats as the choir was rehearsing before the beginning of the service.  As the choir members left the chapel, I noticed that most of them appeared to be in their early 20s – clearly the Church of Ireland here has found a way of connecting with younger members and connecting younger members to the Church.

The Eucharist was celebrated by the Anglican chaplain, Rev Darren McCallig.  I liked the phrase from the opening prayer asking God that we might ‘serve you with a quiet mind’.  Darren also read the epistle from 2 Timothy 3:14-4:5.  After the reading, the choir sang the Gradual hymn.

The preacher in the series ‘Credo – I believe’ was Abbot Mark Hederman OSB from Glenstal Abbey, a Benedictine community in Co. Limerick

In just under 12 minutes, Hederman talked about how God interferes in our world whilst remaining anonymous. The abbot also talked about the language of silence on the other side of the grave.

He suggested that the Holy Spirit is always working to bring God’s Kingdom on earth and now we need to engage with the Holy Spirit. He told us he looks forward to a less male, less sexist, less patriarchal church when it comes to be.  He is confident the Holy Spirit is urging us towards a new way of being. 

To that end, our purpose is to be doing what we were created to do in the first place: We need to read the signs of the times – listening for the still small voice of God, ‘not forcing my free will.’ He acknowledged his own impetuousness but reflected that mistakes can also sharpen our antenna and hone judgement. 

In light hearted comment, he said he makes no move unless ‘signed in triplicate by all three persons of the Trinity’. 

A student then led the intercessions – with prayers for ‘our Archbishops, Michael and Diarmuid,’  for the poor, for the university,  for peace and reconciliation, for the sick and those in any kind of need. 

We were then invited to a prayer of silence for those in need of healing and those who have asked for our prayers – and then finally to remember and give thanks for those who have died.

Before the Eucharistic Prayer, we had the sign of peace at which Darren acknowledged the contribution of the community at Glenstal to the life of the nation and to some people within Trinity College. 

After the offering was taken up, we continued with the Eucharistic Prayer. At the breaking of the bread in the service, Darren prayed: ‘we being many are one body, for we all share in the one bread’ – very poignant for someone like myself observing Catholic discipline.   During holy communion, the choir sang a beautiful motet: ‘Hear O my Lord (Whitlock).

The service ended with the blessing in Irish and we left the chapel to go for refreshments.

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