Cross-community healing service in honour of Bishop Daly

The late Bishop of Derry Edward Daly.
The late Bishop of Derry Edward Daly.

An open-air, cross-community prayer service of healing will be held in Londonderry in honour of the late Bishop Edward Daly next week.

Protestant church leaders and local people from communities across Londonderry and Donegal have been invited to attend the public event.

It will take place at the recently unveiled Bishop Daly monument in the newly created Garden Of Reflection beneath the Civil Rights mural on Tuesday, September 27 at 4pm.

Catholic Bishop of Derry Donal McKeown will officiate at the event, and invitations are also being issued to church leaders of other denominations in the city.

One of the organisers, Vincent Coyle, said it will be a great chance to honour the legacy of Bishop Daly by bringing people together in prayer.

The event comes after the unveiling of the Inishowen stone monument to Bishop Daly inside the Garden of Reflection at Glenfada Park earlier last week. The dedication was attended by relatives of Bishop Daly, and civil rights leaders including John Hume, Ivan Cooper and Mr Coyle.

Mr Coyle said: “This prayer service will give all people the opportunity to pay their respects to Bishop Daly.

“The Bishop will also be giving a blessing to people attending and offering prayers for the sick and the infirm, just as Bishop Daly himself did at the Foyle Hospice.

“On the day of Bishop Daly’s funeral all the church bells of this city rang out in celebration of a man of peace and reconciliation so we feel this event is very much in the spirit of the work he dedicated his life to.

“This is also to give a thank you back to the people of all denominations who came together at that time.

“A man like Bishop Daly should be remembered; remembered so that his legacy can be passed on to the next generations.”

Local people are being asked to open their windows in a symbolic gesture to let the healing enter their homes during the service.

Representatives from the Foyle Hospice will be in attendance. The CholmCille Ladies Choir, founded by Bishop Daly, who was also its lifetime patron, will be performing at the service ahead of their attendance at a at a major event in Vienna.

Bishop Daly died in hospital last month following a short illness. He was 82.

Known as ‘the People’s Priest’ locally, his funeral was attended by other a thousand people and clergy from all Christian denominations.

In March 2015, the then Retired Bishop Daly and his Church of Ireland counterpart, Right Rev Dr James Mehaffey were afforded the ‘Freedom of the City’ at a special ceremony at the Guildhall.

Bishop Daly said at the time: “My experience here over five decades has convinced me of one thing above all others – that we can do much more together than we can do apart.

“Difference should be seen as enriching rather than threatening. There is a rich tapestry of cultures here – and each of them has made an important contribution to who we are and what we are and each should be cherished by us all.”