Bishop of Derry installed
Former auxiliary bishop of Down and Conor, Donal mcKeown has been formally installed as new bishop of Derry.
Parishioners from every corner of the Derry diocese were joined by church leaders and clergy from all over Ireland at yesterday's installation ceremony at St eugene's Cathedral.
Church leader Cardinal Sean Brady presided over the rite of Installation assisted by the Apostolic Nuncio to Ireland, Archbishop Charles Brown.
Coadjutor Archbishop of Armagh, eamon martin also took part.
An estimated 200 Catholic clergy took part in the ceremony which was also attended by the Church of Ireland bishop of Derry and raphoe, Ken Good, and the leaders of the other main Churches in the diocese.
Bishop McKeown's installation follows the retirement on health grounds of the diocese's former bishop Seamus Hegarty in 2011.
Political leaders at yesterday's ceremony included deputy first minister, Martin McGuinness and SDLP MP mark Durkan. Environment minister mark H Durkan also attended as did assembly members, Pat ramsey and Raymond McCartney and Donegal north east Fianna Fail TD Charlie McConalogue.
President Michael D Higgins and Taoiseach Enda Kenny were represented by their aides de camp, Lieutenant David Lyons and Commandant Kieran Carey respectively.
Queen Elizabeth was represented by Derry's Lord Lieutenant, Angela Garvey. Earlier yesterday, Bishop McKeown extended an ecumenical hand of friendship to the Church of Ireland in Derry when he visited the neighbouring Church of Ireland Christ Church.
A diocesan spokesman said Bishop McKeown was given a warm welcome by Christ Church rector, Rev Robert miller.
The spokesman said: "rev miller presented a Book of Psalms and extended his heartfelt good wishes to Bishop mcKeown on this special day."
In his homily at the mass of Installation, Bishop mcKeown said the Catholic Church needed to work hard to ensure it bore fruit for future generations.
He said Christians of all traditions also had a role to play at a time when "sclerosis" appeared to have beset politics in Northern Ireland.
Bishop mcKeown said: "I know that many politicians are embarrassed at the failure of the Northern Ireland assembly to focus on delivering the reforms that people need.
"But, as Churches, we cannot merely criticise them.
"We have the chance to play the part of critical friends, speaking on behalf of the many who feel that human needs are being neglected in the service of political priorities.
There is no more room in society for self referential politics than there is for a Church that falls prey to ecclesial introversion."
Following yesterday's rite of Installation, Bishop mcKeown braved the often stormy - if sunny - weather to greet each of his new congregation as they left St eugene's Cathedral.
* SERVICE: The new bishop of the Diocese of Derry Dr Donal McKeown is installed at St Eugene's Cathedral in Derry yesterday. Attending were retired Derry bishops Seamus Hegarty and Edward Daly, Cardinal Sean Brady, Archbishop Eamon Martin, Archbishop Charles Brown the Apostolic Nuncio to Ireland. Former SDLP leader John Hume, bottom left, also attended PICTURES: Margaret McLaughlin