RELIGION: THE FIRST visit by Queen Elizabeth to a Catholic church in Northern Ireland yesterday has been praised by the local parish priest, Very Rev Canon Peter O’Reilly, who said it was an example to all in Northern Ireland.
After attending a ceremony in the Church of Ireland’s St Macartin’s Cathedral in Enniskillen, Co Fermanagh, Queen Elizabeth went to the nearby St Michael’s Parish Church for a meeting with community leaders from both sides of the religious divide.
Speaking to reporters afterwards, Canon O’Reilly stressed the significance of “the Queen coming out of St Macartin’s Cathedral and walking up the street and across into St Michael’s”.
He added: “It’s a bit like what Jesus said in the Gospel, ‘I have set you an example for you to copy’.”
Canon O’Reilly said he had presented the Queen, in a “special introduction”, to Cardinal Seán Brady, who was among the attendance.
Among the groups represented were local schools, businesses, tourism, farmers, scouts and guides, charities, public services and sport, including the local Gaelic Athletic Association.
President of the Enniskillen Rotary Club, Colin Beattie, said: “I was amazed at how relaxed the whole thing was.”
James Lunny and Robert Fitzpatrick, of St Michael’s Choir, which performed at the event, said: “It’s a great honour for our choir to receive this kind of recognition.”
Fr Brian D’Arcy, a native of Co Fermanagh, said the “wonderful” events of the day, in both the Protestant and Catholic churches, were “a long way” from the bombing of November 1987 in which 11 people were killed.