On Sunday March 24th, a campaign inviting prayer and asking for donations was launched in the Archdiocese in preparation for the unveiling of a new statue of Saint Oliver Plunkett, bishop and Martyr, in St Patrick’s Cathedral, Armagh. This statue will be unveiled by the Archbishop on July 9th 2019 to mark the350th anniversary of the Appointment of his 23rd predecessor St Oliver to the See of Armagh on July 9th 1669.
In the prayer leaflet available in all the Churches of the Archdiocese, Archbishop Eamon Martin writes “Last November, during the annual Mass for Red Wednesday to remember Christians around the world who suffer for their faith, I announced my hope to erect a Shrine in St Patrick’s Cathedral to our former Archbishop, Saint Oliver Plunkett, and to all those, who like him are persecuted or martyred for the faith.
Saint Oliver was appointed Archbishop of Armagh on 9th July 1669, 350 years ago this year. Since my arrival in Armagh, people have encouraged me to establish a fitting monument in the Cathedral to the memory of this man of courage and ardent faith who shed his blood for Christ. We are, of course, most grateful to the faithful of Drogheda and the surrounding area who continue to honour his relics there. In this significant year I believe it is time to acknowledge St Oliver Plunkett in a special way at St Patrick’s Cathedral, Armagh. I ask for your prayers and invite your financial support to help bring this project to fruition.”
It will also honour the Martyrs of Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow. Martyrs such as Fr Ragheed Ganni of Iraq, who like Saint Oliver studied in Rome and resided as a Seminarian in the Irish College. Fr Ganni was shot to death in his native Iraq in June 2007. Martyrs like the 21 Coptic Christians beheaded in February 2015 or again the 20 people killed and 80 injured, some with life changing injuries as a result of a bomb explosion in the Cathedral on the island of Jolo in the Philippines on January 21st this year yes the list is long and shows no sign of abating. Yet whenever there is persecution there is hope; Saint Pope VI who canonised Saint Oliver was wont to quote the 2nd century Church Father, Terullian, “The blood of the Martyrs is the seed of the Church.”
Donations can be forwarded to Rev Canon B Fee P.P. Secretary of the Organising committee3 Cloghog Rd, Clonoe, Co –Tyrone BT71 5EF
Cheques/money orders should be made payable to Archdiocese of Armagh (St Oliver Plunkett Appeal)
Prayer leaflets, envelopes etc are also available from Rev Canon B Fee.