The annual ecumenical prayer service to mark the feast of Pentecost was held at Camagh Bay on the shores of Lower Lough Erne on Sunday last, 20 May. Camagh Bay looks out at the ancient Christian site of Inishmacsaint, an important monastic settlement which can trace its roots back to the sixth century.
Approximately one hundred people from all over the Diocese of Clogher took part in Sunday’s service, which was presided over by the Church of Ireland Bishop of Clogher, Right Rev John McDowell and the Roman Catholic Diocesan Administrator, Monsignor Joseph McGuinness. Also participating were local clergy from the surrounding parishes of Innishmacsaint and Botha, Rev. Chancellor David Skuce, Rev. Sampson Ajuka and Fr Jimmy McPhillips. The music was led by Michele Elliot. During the service, two young people, Blaithin Bogue from Mount Lourdes Grammar School and Lewis Anderson from Erne Integrated College spoke of the power and influence of the Holy Spirit in their lives.
Bishop McDowell delivered a short sermon in which he spoke of the importance of Christians gathering together in places associated with the rich heritage of Christian faith, such as Inishmacsaint. He compared the gathering that day with that of the disciples on the day of Pentecost. He urged all present to recognise and utilise the gifts of the Spirit in their daily lives, including those moments of tension and challenge.
The Prayer Service was followed by refreshments at the Tir na Vat Centre in Derrygonnelly. There, local historian Seamus MacAnnaidh gave a very informative and well-delivered talk on the history of Inishmacsaint, which traces its roots to a Christian settlement established there by St Ninnidh in the year 530. He described the place as part of a ‘water-based camino’ stretching along Lough Erne.
The Feast of Pentecost marks the anniversary of the beginning of the Christian Church. The descent of the Holy Spirit on the disciples began a transformation in the world, as the message and power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ spread. In Ireland, its effects began to be seen from the fifth century. The sites associated with the early Church are reverenced by Christians of different traditions. Hence, the significance of the Pentecost Prayer Service, a notable event in the life of the local churches here over the past decade.