CARDINAL KEITH O'BRIEN APPOINTED 'SPECIAL ENVOY' BY POPE BENEDICT XVI
Pope Benedict XVI has appointed Cardinal Keith Patrick O'Brien, as his
Special Envoy to the celebrations marking the Centenary of the Foundation
of Longtower Church in the Irish City of Derry, due to be held on 9 June
The Longtower Church is regarded as the home of Christianity in Derry - even
though the construction of St Eugene's Cathedral as the Mother Church of the
Diocese took place in 1873. It is believed that St Columba himself
established his first monastery on the site of the present Longtower Church
in 546 before he left for Iona in 564.
Expressing his delight at the appointment as Personal Envoy or Legate,
Cardinal O'Brien said: 'Having been born and brought up in Ballycastle in
Country Antrim, it is a very great privilege for me to have been asked by
Pope Benedict XVI to return to Ireland to represent him personally at
these anniversary celebrations in Derry."
"I know that I am one of a long succession of Irish priests who have helped
to spread the Gospels from Ireland to Scotland and to other parts of the
world. Representing the Holy Father in Derry will be for me a small way of
thanking Ireland for the wonderful missionary work which has continued from
the whole country for the past 1,500 years'.
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Note to Editors:
1. The present Longtower Church began life, though on a much smaller scale
in 1783; and the present building was opened in 1909, with the
consecration of the church taking place by a previous Bishop of Derry,
Bishop Neil Farren.
2. The late Cardinal Winning represented the Pope in 1997 in Derry at the
1400th anniversary celebrations of St Columba's death. Cardinal O'Brien
will represent the Pope at the Centenary of the Foundation of the present
Longtower Church in that same City of Derry.