A bedside vigil is being held for the former Primate of All Ireland Dr Cahal Daly who is seriously ill in hospital.
Cardinal Daly, who is originally from Loughguile, Co Antrim, was admitted to Belfast City Hospital yesterday morning.
It is understood the 92-year-old was being treated at the coronary care unit. His condition last night was described as seriously ill.
A spokesman for the Catholic Church said their “thoughts and prayers” were with both the cardinal and his family and friends.
It is understood he had been suffering from ill health for some time.
Cardinal Daly was Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland in the early 1990s.
He was created cardinal in 1991 and retired as Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland in 1996.
Declan O’Loan, SDLP MLA for North Antrim, said Dr Daly is regarded with “great respect”.
“It is very sad to hear he is so ill at this time,” he said.
“When a man of his age is ill as he is, it is very worrying.
“He still has a huge family circle in and around this area so obviously our thoughts and prayers would be with them all at this time.
“He is regarded with great respect, hugely so.”
Dr Daly has written a number of books, which include Philosophy In Britain From Bradley To Wittgenstein and The Minding Of Planet Earth.
Mr O’Loan said Dr Daly gave “great leadership” to the Church at many levels.
“He has been a man who has been unique in Catholic Church circles in the last century in terms of the quality of his scholarship and through that scholarship what he has given to the Church.
“He gave great leadership initially to the diocese of Down and Connor and then to the whole Catholic Church in Ireland when he was Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland. Particularly because he was in those leadership positions through the most violent days of the troubles.
“He was a steadfast critic of violence as a way to achieve political progress. He made a great contribution to the eventual achievement of peace.”