The Second Vatican Council in its Decree on Ecumenism placed on the bishops of the world the duty of promoting and guiding the work of restoring unity among Christians. The last four decades have seen considerable progress in ecumenical dialogue and activity in Ireland, most notable in increased cooperation among Christians of different communions in works of charitable and social service of every kind. Each diocese in Ireland has an ecumenical director who is a member of the Catholic Bishops’ Advisory Committee on Ecumenism. This committee advises the hierarchy on ecumenical affairs in Ireland and maintains contact with the Secretariat for Promoting Christian Unity in Rome.

It was Cardinal William Conway who appointed Canon Francis Dean MacLarnon (later Dean) as the first ecumenical director in the archdiocese in 1968. Fr Gerard Clifford (now Bishop) was appointed as director by Cardinal Ó Fiaich in 1979, and was succeeded in 1991 by Fr Pádraig Murphy, who had been assistant director since 1986. The current assistant director, Fr Sean Dooley, was appointed in 2001.

On a diocesan level it is the role of the director and assistant director to promote ecumenical work by:

  • fostering spiritual ecumenism according to the principles laid down in the Decree on Ecumenism (n.8) about public and private prayer for the unity of Christians;
  • promoting friendliness, cooperation and charity between Catholics and their brothers and sisters of other Christian denominations;
  • advising on the implementation of the rules and instructions issued by the Apostolic See in regard to ecumenical matters;
  • giving advice and assistance to priests and people within the diocese who are involved in ecumenical work at parochial level;
  • promoting in common with our brothers and sisters of other denominations joint witness to the Christian faith as well as cooperation in such areas as social and cultural matters, learning and the arts, in accordance with the Decree on Ecumenism (n.12) and the Decree Ad Gentes (n.15);
  • epresenting the Cardinal when required at certain ecumenical meetings and inter-church services and keeping him informed of relevant ecumenical developments within the diocese.

Contacts:   Diocesan Director:
                Very Rev. Pádraig Murphy, PP,
                Parochial House,
                Dundalk, Co. Louth.
                Tel: 042-9371327
                e-mail: [email protected]

                Assistant Director:
                Rev. Seán Dooley, CC,
                Parochial House,
                42 Abbey Street,
                Armagh, Co. Armagh,
                BT61 7DZ.
                Tel: 028-37522802
                e-mail: [email protected]