‘Holiness Knows No Denominational Boundaries’ – Annual John Sullivan Mass
The annual John Sullivan Commemoration Mass took place in Gardiner Street Church, Dublin, last weekend (Saturday February 18). The Mass was celebrated by Archbishop Diarmuid Martin and Archbishop Michael Jackson was in attendance along with some of Fr John Sullivan’s Anglican relatives. The church was filled with people from all over Ireland.
Born an Anglican, Fr John Sullivan (8 May 1861 – 19 February 1933) was an Irish Jesuit priest who was known for his life of deep prayer and personal sacrifice. On November 7 2014 he was declared to be Venerable and his beatification received the papal approval of Pope Francis on April 26 2016.
In his homily last Saturday, Archbishop Martin acknowledged Fr Sullivan’s Church of Ireland roots saying that “holiness knows no denominational boundaries. The holiness of John Sullivan was the fruit of his education in both Catholic and Church of Ireland traditions… his faith was the product of two traditions and always remained so and was enriched by that fact”.
In his reflection, Archbishop Jackson, highlighted the links between the modern day Dioceses of Dublin and Glendalough and the Jesuits through the Five Marks of Mission of the Anglican Communion and the Come & C programme which has been worked out in conjunction with Dr David Tuohy SJ.
He said Fr Sullivan “continues to inspire adventure and ecumenism in a spirit of reformation while encouraging by his holiness and simplicity people throughout Ireland to be true to the fullness of the tradition in which they stand – in a spirit of inclusion rather than exclusion. John Sullivan was many things, but he was for part of his life Anglican and for part of his life Jesuit. Ireland today needs openness to changefulness without using: changefulness as a term of disrespect. Ireland today needs this voice. Ireland today needs this witness. Ireland today needs a person of the grace of John Sullivan OPSJ to pull us forward through obstacles and barriers that beset and upset us daily and to show us something of the way, the truth and the life”.