The Installation of the Revd Diane Matchett as Dean of Tuam and Incumbent of the Tuam and Omey Group of Parishes took place at the Cathedral Church of St Mary, Tuam on the Second Sunday of Epiphany, the 14th January 2024.
The service was conducted by the Rt Revd Michael Burrows with readings from 1 Samuel 3:1-10, Psalm 139; 1-5, 12-18 and Revelation 5: 1-10. The Gospel of the Epiphany, Matthew 2: 1-12, was read by Revd Suzanne Cousins.
We were joined by the choir of the choir from the Cathedral of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Tuam, led by Dr Mark Keane.
The Sermon was delivered by the Revd Canon Paul Hoey the Rector of Faughanvale, in the Diocese of Derry and Raphoe. Canon Paul took his themes from the Epiphany Gospel reading likening the journey of the Magi and their gifts to the journey of Diane and Mark and the gifts she brings to the parishes.
Canon Paul prayed for discernment to see what God is doing and see best how to join in. He reminded everyone that the church is not just a club for likeminded people but should continually push to embrace new ideas and people. This is something he says Diane does well, her heart lies in coming alongside people who think they don’t fit in and reaching out to people on the edge of things and simply loving them into the embrace of God’s love.
The parishes should not focus on internal things but should allow and encourage Diane to look outside .
Lastly Canon Paul prayed for the gift of Courage for Diane. The tide is turning against the church he warned, and he prayed for courage and daring to keep worshiping, keep serving and to keep praying that God will support and encourage new things in Ireland today.
Then there followed the formal declarations and Institution of Diane as Dean of Tuam by Bishop Michael.
After the Prayers of the People and there were words of welcome from Prof Paul Johnston on behalf of the parishes in the Tuam and Omey Group. He expressed relief, hope, joy and gratitude that Diane, Mark and Casper had arrived safe and sound.
Looking back to the 6th century Jarlath founded the monastic settlement in Tuam. Professor Paul related the story that as Saint Jarlath reached his declining years, he wanted to retire but God, through Brendan told him that he could retire but he should stop where ever the wheels of his waggon broke. History tells us that a wheel broke as Jarlath tried to leave Tuam. That broken wheel features on the town’s crest. Professor Paul hoped that a broken wheel won’t be needed to keep Diane in these parishes.
Bishop Michael then welcomed local leaders of other denominations.
The Most Reverend Francis Duffy, the Catholic Archbishop of Tuam warmly welcomed Diane on behalf of the archdiocese and looked forward to working with her. The Archbishop explained that though Diane was a blow in like him he assured her of a very warm welcome. The Archbishop understood that Diane was passionate about people and passionate about environmental issues, she shared with Pope Francis. All stem from love of God. Archbishop Duffy welcomed Diane on behalf of people he serves.
Helen Freeburn spoke on behalf of the Methodist and Presbyterian communities in Galway and said it was truly wonderful for her to be in Tuam Cathedral welcoming Diane. She brought warm and loving greetings from the United Methodist and Presbyterian church in Galway.
Helen quoted two verses from scripture. From Deuteronomy 31:6 & 8 Do not be afraid, do not be discouraged for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.’ and from Genesis 15, I am your shield and your strength.
Bishop Michael then introduced civic and political leaders and highlighted how we pray for politicians in our services, and both share the word ‘minister.’
Eamon O’Cuiv, TD for the Galway West constituency, welcomed Diane, Mark and Casper and explained that he was a near neighbour of theirs and he looked forward to getting to know her in the years to come. He wished her a long and worthy ministry.
Sean Canney, TD for the Galway East constituency, then welcomed Diane to Tuam in the historic setting of St Mary’s Cathedral. It was a special occasion for people of Tuam. He looked forward to working with Diane and didn’t want them to be strangers. He looked forward to meeting Mark and Casper and working together with Diane to do things to improve people’s lives.
Bishop Michael reminded everyone that we were on the cusp of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity and thanked the choir from the Cathedral of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary for joining us in worship.
Bishop Michael also thanked all those who had worked behind the scenes to organise the day. He mentioned particularly the Bill Fennell working to coordinate all the participants and thanked Professor Paul Johnston for his work project managing the refurbishment of the Deanery in Cong ready for Diane to move in.
After the final blessing the congregation were invited to go into the Synod Hall for refreshments and conversation.
Stephen Fletcher, Diocesan Communications Officer 18th January 2024