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dublin diocese

Dublin archbishop to ask Pope to designate new cathedral and basilica in city centre

Dublin does not currently have a Catholic cathedral in practice.

THE CATHOLIC ARCHBISHOP of Dublin intends to ask the Pope to designate a new cathedral and basilica in the city centre.

Archbishop Dermot Farrell announced plans today to ask Pope Francis to make St Mary’s Pro Cathedral on Marlborough Street the Cathedral of the Archdiocese and to designate St Andrew’s Church on Westland Row a Minor Basilica.

The Archbishop is setting up an implementation group to oversee a renewed pastoral and missionary strategy as he seeks the new designation at the two places of worship.

Dublin does not currently have a Catholic cathedral in practice; Christ Church Cathedral was designated a cathedral by the Pope in the 12th century but has been under the ownership of the Church of Ireland for around five centuries.

St Mary’s status as a “Pro Cathedral” indicates its role as an “acting” or provisional cathedral, a designation it has held since 1886.

Delivering a homily today, Archbishop Farrell said that St Mary’s and St Andrew’s would be well placed to be developed as “twin pillars” of the faith in the Dublin diocese.

“Across these islands we see cities are being hollowed out. There is a call to work actively towards restoring a ‘centre of gravity’ to our cities. There is so much more to a living city-centre than being a ‘commercial centre’,” he said.

“The centre of a city—its heart—needs people, and people need worthy spaces to live and to be—to be with each other, and to be with ‘the Other’—our God who constantly creates us and re-creates us, who brings us to life.”

He said that he expressed a year ago that he believed there was a need for the Church in Dublin to strengthen its capacity for outreach “to the many people with no established links with the Church or an individual parish”.

“For that purpose, I expressed my desire that our Diocese and this City should have a cathedral both in name and in fact,” the archbishop said.

“I also began to see that such a cathedral would need to be complemented by a church on the other side of the Liffey whose status and dignity would be formally recognised and supported. I expressed the view that St Mary’s Pro-Cathedral and St Andrew’s Westland Row were well placed to be developed as twin pillars of a renewed pastoral and missionary strategy.

“A decision of this nature is not to be made lightly. Having consulted widely, and have brought the questions before the Lord in prayer, I have discerned that it would be appropriate to seek the approval of the Holy Father for the designation of St Mary’s as the Cathedral of the Archdiocese.

“It is also my intention to initiate the process for the recognition of the special tradition and role of St Andrew’s in the life of the Archdiocese by its designation as a Minor Basilica. I am now inviting St Mary’s and St Andrew’s to begin to implement the proposals they presented to develop their liturgical and pastoral ministries.”

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