Saturday, August 26, 2023

Homily By Bishop Larry Duffy At The Funeral Mass For Bishop Liam MacDaid, RIP

The following is the text of the Homily by Bishop Larry Duffy, Bishop of Clogher, at the Funeral Mass for the late Bishop Liam MacDaid, in St Macartan’s Cathedral, Monaghan, on Saturday 26 August 2023. 

Jesus Christ did not have it easy.

His Life and message were not always understood or accepted.

In today’s Gospel reading, his close friends and apostles, James and John, and indeed their mother, were far removed from the attitude of Jesus himself. Their thoughts were all about self; their future status and glory. In contrast, Jesus lived and died for others.

For Jesus, greatness is about service, being the good Samaritan, washing feet of others.

Mary, his mother, had given Jesus wonderful examples of service.

On Tuesday last, 22 August,  we celebrated the Feast of the Queenship of Mary, and the Gospel passage was the Annunciation. As I read it my thoughts were about Bishop Liam and his call to be Bishop 13 years ago. Like Mary, the Angel said to him “rejoice so highly favoured one the Lord is with you. I have important news, The Lord has chosen you to be Bishop of Clogher.”

And Liam thought how can this come about because of my health- and- surely there are others in the Church more suited to this than me. But the Angel said, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you and the power of the most hight will cover you with his shadow.”

In response, Liam said “I am a servant of the Lord let what you have said be done onto me.”

Liam was to serve as Bishop of Clogher for the following 6 years. Gratitude was the reaction of priests and people of the Diocese to his decision.

We were blessed by his wisdom and deep faith; his ability to listen, his sense of humour and his spirit of compassion.

Liam believed in forgiveness and in the possibility of redemption – that there is always a second chance. No doubt his experience as a teacher and as a principal in St. Macartan’s College was invaluable and helped him in his time as Bishop. So also did his pastoral experience in Fivemiletown and in Tyholland.

Liam was a proud Donegal Man. A tight defender for both club, county and college, it is said that you needed passport clearance to get by him.

He loved to travel abroad particularly with The Willow Wheelers Cycling Club, founded by his brother Christopher. Liam was happy to support their charitable work which brought him to many places in the Third World where he saw at first hand the possibilities that charity and sharing of resources can have for people.

Liam valued greatly the deep and friendly relationships he had with many families. I know that today he would want me to thank them for this friendship – and especially to thank those who supported him in recent times, Margaret and Marie and Anne Tuffy and Family as well as all the nursing and medical staff who cared for him.

Liam loved to quote Archbishop Oscar Romero. Let me conclude with one of Oscar Romero’s reflections, one which invites us to take a step back and take the longer view:

“We plant the seeds that one day will grow. We water the seeds already planted, knowing that they hold future promise. We lay foundations that will need further development.

“We may never see the end results, but that is the difference between the master builder and the worker. We are workers, not master builders, ministers, not messiahs.

“We are prophets of a future not our own.”

We pray that Bishop Liam’s future is in the hands of our loving God and that in His presence he may share in eternal life. May he rest in peace.