Priest named as first Catholic chair of Council of Churches

Fr Mc Neice first Roman Catholic priest to hold position in 50 yr history of council

Fr Damian Mc Neice  has been named the first Catholic chair of the Dublin Council of Churches. Photograph: Cathal McNaughton/Reuters

Fr Damian Mc Neice has been named the first Catholic chair of the Dublin Council of Churches. Photograph: Cathal McNaughton/Reuters

 

Ecumenical history has been made with the appointment for the first time of a Catholic priest as chair of the Dublin Council of Churches (DCC).

Fr Damian Mc Neice (47) is the first Roman Catholic priest to hold the position in the 50 year history of the DCC. He takes over from Rev Mary Hunter of the Presbyterian Church.

The Catholic Church only became a full member of the council six years ago, when it was invited to be such during the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity in January 2008. Prior to that Protestant Churches had objected.

The DCC encourages co-operation between Christian traditions in the city. Members include patrons and representatives from the Church of Ireland, Roman Catholic, Lutheran, Methodist and Presbyterian Churches, the Religious Society of Friends, the Greek, Romanian, Antiochene and Indian Orthodox Churches, as well as the Salvation Army and Christian Aid.

Fr McNeice is from Navan Road parish in Dublin. He was ordained in 1992 after which he taught in Coláiste Dhúlaigh, Coolock, and worked in the Diocesan Communications Office.

He studied at Sant’ Anselmo Pontifical Institute of Liturgy in Rome from 2004 to 2007. Currently he is Master of Ceremonies to Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, assists in the Diocesan Liturgical Resource Centre and is parish chaplain in Whitehall.

On his appointment as DCC chair he said: “I’m very conscious that the trust being placed in me is the fruit of the great ecumenical relationships built up over decades through the Dublin Council of Churches. I hope that with the help of all the patrons and members, we’ll journey together ever closer to Christ who is the source of our life and unity.”