Press Release: Friday October 3rd 2014
Dublin Priest makes history as first Catholic Chair of Ecumenical Council
A ground-breaking ecumenical decision has been taken with the appointment of a Roman Catholic Priest as Chairperson to the Dublin Council of Churches.
Set up over half a century ago the Dublin Council of Churches (DCC) is focused on encouraging co-operation between the varied Christian traditions in the city area.
It’s membership includes 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. Damian Mc Neice is the first Roman Catholic to hold this position in the fifty year history of the DCC. He takes over from Rev Mary Hunter of the Presbyterian Church. Dr Niamh Hardiman of the Religious Society of Friends assists as Vice-chair and Uta Rabb of the Church of Ireland is Secretary.
Fr McNeice 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.”
Fr Damian McNeice (47) is from Navan Road Parish in Dublin. Ordained to the priesthood in 1992, he worked as priest teacher in Coláiste Dhúlaigh, Coolock, and in the Diocesan Communications Office before further studies in Sant’ Anselmo Pontifical Institute of Liturgy in Rome from 2004 to 2007. As part of his Licentiate in Sacred Liturgy, he wrote a thesina on “Liturgical Themes in the writings of Br Max Thurian”, one of the founding members of the ecumenical monastic community of Taizé, France. He is Master of Ceremonies to Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, assists in the Diocesan Liturgical Resource Centre and is Parish Chaplain in Whitehall.
Fr McNeice has attended the Dublin Council of Churches (DCC) meetings since 2007 and witnessed the moment the Roman Catholic Church was invited by the other patrons of the DCC to become a full member of the Council during the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity in January 2008. ENDS
The Objectives of the DCC are
· To encourage co-operation between churches and inter-church groups, at both local and district (city) level.
· To explore within a Christian fellowship, based on mutual love and the presence of Christ among us, the calling of the People of God to pray and work together for the fulfilment of Jesus’ prayer “that all may be one” [John 17:21].
· To facilitate and exchange information and views of member churches on matters of concern.
· To support joint study and action.
· To disseminate information on ecumenical activities and resources.
· Website: www.dublinchurches.ie