Archbishop Martin’s Crozier and the Killasser Connection
Article by Fr John Durkan.
I remember the very first talk I gave on the Bible. It was in Nazareth and a strange thing happened to me while I gave that talk to Indian sisters. Jesus came and stood at the back of the room. I got a bit of a surprise when I saw him and I don’t think the sisters saw him because he was behind them. Over two years ago I told Fr Eamon Martin that he was going to be the Archbishop of Armagh while I was visiting him in Derry. Jesus appeared again in the room where we were but I have never told Eamon Martin that I saw him. My words came to pass and my friend Eamon Martin is now the Archbishop of Armagh. He was a friend of mine in Maynooth and since as well. He has always been a kind friend to me and has always been concerned about my health and well-being. The priests of Armagh have a Bishop who will take care of them and be kind to them. He is very talented and musical and he enjoys fun and has a good sense of humour. He has visited Killasser many times since I came there. We recently had a celebration with him in Killasser and he was presented with a Chess Piece Bishop which was made by Ray Chuck. Assumpta Loftus made the presentation to him. She has been a wonderful force in the Pastoral Council since she joined it.
Ray Chuck comes from England and in 2003 he asked me to help him prepare for becoming a Catholic. The process involved is called the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults. Ray and his wife Cathy came every Wednesday to Kiltimagh to be given catechesis by a catechist called Maureen O’Boyle and I used to be there as well. Other people used to come to these sessions and we had quite a few people wanting to be Catholics at the time. I got to know Cathy and Ray very well during that time and we became friends.
The day I came here to Killasser I had to answer the phone for the first time here and I felt very much a stranger wondering who it might be and knowing they would be a stranger to me. But it turned out to be Cathy Chuck. She wanted a notice put in the newsletter! Ray and Cathy have done so much for the Parish here since they came – doing the readings (they would say “proclaiming the Word”) singing in the Choir. Ray is a fantastic carpenter and artisan and he made a wonderful Chess Piece for Archbishop Eamon Martin. Cathy lived the early part of her life in Derry and has often met up with Eamon Martin while he was here visiting me in Killasser to catch up on old times (particularly to catch up on nuns they both know).
Archbishop Eamon asked Ray to make a wooden Crozier for him. Ray put a huge amount of effort into this and, when it was done, we all went to Armagh to give it to Archbishop Eamon. It is very specially made for Archbishop Eamon with his coat of arms on it and it is made from oak wood because Derry means an oak grove and Eamon Martin comes from Derry. There is also an oak leaf on it and a few acorns.
We all wish Eamon Martin very well and he will be here again in Killasser to see me from time to time. I know he would like me to ask you who read this to pray for him. He needs all the prayers we can give him as you can imagine. He was very nice to us when we went to Armagh and we got tea and Vincent Conlon got to see the sacristy of St Patrick’s Cathedral in Armagh. The Sacristan there too is crazy about GAA as is Vincent Conlon. We are all grateful to Vincent for what he does for our Parish.