New chapter begins in Castlemacadam and Ballinaclash with Aughrim
There was a joyful celebration in the Diocese of Glendalough on Friday evening (June 17) when the Revd Suzanne Harris was instituted Rector of Castlemacadam and Ballinaclash with Aughrim. The service in Holy Trinity Church, Castlemacadam, was celebrated by Archbishop Michael Jackson who said he was delighted that the parish had chosen Suzanne as their Rector. She has been Priest in Charge there for the past year.
The large congregation included Suzanne’s husband Richard Meates, their children Andrew and Jessica, her mother in law Muriel and two of her sisters.
The sermon was preached by Canon Leonard Ruddock who highlighted Suzanne’s faith, passion for ministry and her ability to make faith come alive for people. “As a parish I think that you are very blessed to have had Suzanne’s ministry amongst you and I am delighted that her ministry will continue now as she is appointed as your new Rector,” he stated.
He said that Suzanne had chosen the readings for the service (Joshua 1: 1–9 and John 15: 12–17) and both had encouragement for the parish and provided direction for the future: to be strong and courageous, bear fruit that will last and do it all in a spirit of love.
Canon Ruddock said that the parish was fortunate to have Suzanne as their Rector but pointed out that every Rector needed help and encouragement and practical and prayerful support. He added that at ordination, priests were told of the greatness of trust to be committed to them but there was little mention of parish life.
“Isn’t it strange that there is nothing there to cover certain things in parish life like when a parishioner pops their head into the vestry just as you are about to start the service and says ‘Rector, we can’t ring the bell because it is ready to fall’ or that the stained glass windows (beautiful and all as they are) are leaking, or we can’t find the keys to the press which has the communion linen in it. I could go on but you get my point. No rector is to be a one man (sorry Suzanne) one person show,” he said urging parishioners not to take her ministry for granted.
He noted that there were representatives from the wider parish community present and said that by now they would know that Suzanne is a person who builds bridges not walls, who opens doors rather than closing them, who extends a hand of friendship.
Speaking after the service Fr Diarmuid Byrne from Aughrim congratulated Suzanne on her appointment. He said that following Jesus often involved taking the road less travelled and asked the Holy Spirit to guide her in her ministry.
On behalf of the parishioners of Aughrim and Ballinaclash, Alan Pierce noted that a year ago the parish got an extraordinary deal – they got some goods to sample and if they didn’t like them they could give them back! Now, he said, parishioners were delighted that Suzanne had chosen to stay with them and pledged to support her and welcome her. Echoing these sentiments, John Sutton spoke on behalf of Castlemacadam and added that they were also delighted to play golf with Richard.
Suzanne said that she was delighted that the nominators and the Archbishop had put their trust in her and said she and Richard had received a wonderful welcome. She praised the dedicated ministry team in the parish, made up of Uta Raab, Janet Kirwan, Bruce Middleton and Alan Pierce, and the parishioners. She thanked her family for all their support and her husband Richard for his help and humour as they embarked on the new chapter of their lives in the Wicklow hills.