‘Today is a day of celebration, of joy and of gladness’

Reflection of Archbishop Michael Jackson, Church of Ireland, Archbishop of Dublin, at the beatification ceremony of Fr John Sullivan SJ on Saturday 13 May 2017 in St. Francis Xavier’s Church, Gardiner Street, Dublin.

Today is a day of celebration, of joy and of gladness. We mark with the Jesuit Order in Ireland and worldwide along with the Christian Church everywhere the beatification in the Roman Catholic tradition of John Sullivan SJ. We do so mindful of the unending need for reconciliation in Ireland and expectant of the abundant grace of God.

Today is a day of fruitfulness and discernment, the harvest of faith and action, of mercy and justice, of pastoral care and teaching commitment in a human life lived for others in obedience and service of God and neighbour, young and old, rich and poor.

Today John Sullivan has a special place in the hearts of all of us who are members of the Church of Ireland and of all of us who have an association with Portora Royal School and Clongowes Wood College. Tomorrow is The Fifth Sunday of Easter and, as I have frequently done before in this church when we have commemorated John Sullivan ecumenically year by year, I quote a Collect, the Collect for tomorrow, from the Church of Ireland tradition for our reflection and our discernment on this great day. We Anglicans tend often to begin on a somewhat sombre note and then proceed to ask God to help us to rise to joyfulness through the hopefulness of faithfulness. I trust that these cadences are helpful to us all in our daily walk with God and I offer them as a gift from the Church of Ireland tradition that John Sullivan also loved:

O Almighty God, who alone canst order the unruly wills and affections of sinful men; Grant unto thy people, that they may love the thing which thou commandest, and desire that which thou dost promise; that so, among the sundry and manifold changes of the world, our hearts may surely there be fixed, where true joys are to be found; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Floreat John Sullivan!