On Saturday last, 28 April 2018, during the Vigil Mass for the Fifth Sunday of Easter, a set of liturgical copes were formally presented to St Macartan’s Cathedral, Monaghan. The copes – a festive cope and a funeral cope – are the gifts of the priests and people of the Diocese of Clogher and are given as an expression of their gratitude for the episcopal ministry of Bishop Liam MacDaid during the years 2010 to 2016. Both copes are appropriately inscribed
A cope is a liturgical vestment used by bishops, priests and deacons during liturgies apart from the Mass. These include celebration of the Prayer of the Church (Office), Processions, Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament and some of the funeral rites. The cope is a long cloak, made of high quality cloth, which is open at the front and clasped by an ornate band. A festive cope is coloured white or gold with various decorations. This is worn at liturgies of a festive or joyful character and at Benediction. A funeral cope is purple in colour and is worn at services of penitential character and for leading funeral prayers.
The Chief Celebrant of the Mass was the Diocesan Administrator of the Diocese of Clogher, the Right Rev. Monsignor Joseph McGuinness, and he was joined by the Cathedral Administrator, Very Rev. Patrick McGinn, Fr Stephen Duffy CC and Fr Kevin Malcolmson CC. Bishop MacDaid presided in the sanctuary. The music was led by the Cathedral choir under the direction of organist Deirdre Macklin and conductor Claudine Marron.
Before the conclusion of the Mass, Mgr McGuinness gave a short explanation to those present, about the origin and usage of copes and of their liturgical significance. He said that the presentation of such beautiful vestments to the Cathedral was a fitting tribute to the pastoral ministry of Bishop MacDaid. In reply, Bishop MacDaid expressed his thanks to the priests and people of the diocese for their gifts. He also paid tribute to the people of Monaghan town and county for their sense of community, which was demonstrated in the life of parishes and also in terms of the GAA and local enterprises and community activities. This interdependence of all in the community was also referred to by Mgr McGuinness in the course of his homily during the Mass, which was based on the Scripture readings, from the discourse by Jesus concerning the vine and the branches.