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Derry dean's Dublin installation s 'bridge of peace and reconciliation'

By Alf McCreary

Published 26/09/2016

Newly installed Very Rev Dr William Morton, Dean of St Patrick’s Cathedral, with President Michael D Higgins
Newly installed Very Rev Dr William Morton, Dean of St Patrick’s Cathedral, with President Michael D Higgins
Canon Mark Gardner, the First Minister of Northern Ireland Arlene Foster, Brian Foster, Deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland Martin McGuinness and the Taoiseach’s Aide de Camp, Commandant Kieran Carey

The installation of Londonderry cleric, the Very Rev William Morton, as Dean of St Patrick's Cathedral in Dublin represents "a bridge of peace and a door of reconciliation coming together to reveal a window of opportunity".

The Very Reverend Dean Morton - formerly of St Columb's Cathedral in Londonderry - became the 67th Dean of the ancient Irish cathedral.

The position once held by Gulliver's Travels author, Jonathan Swift, is the most senior in the Church of Ireland cathedral - built on the site of a well that was supposedly visited by St Patrick - and dates back to 1220.

Among the guests at the weekend installation service were Irish president Michael D Higgins, First Minister Arlene Foster and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness.

Addressing the congregation, retired Archdeacon of Raphoe, the Venerable Scott Harte, said: "Today, at this service of Installation, a bridge of peace and a door of reconciliation come together to reveal a window of opportunity.

"Arresting new vistas are in prospect."

He added: "In welcoming William Morton as Dean of St Patrick's, we journey from the city of Derry with its Bridge of Peace to a cathedral in Dublin which also symbolises the healing of divisions.

"Dean Morton's rich and distinctive giftedness has much to contribute to the life of St Patrick's, not only in pursuit of musical and liturgical excellence, but also in the mission to support those agencies on the front line that seek to address the needs of the local community and beyond.

"In his varied ministry, not only in St Columb's Cathedral in Derry, but also in Limavady, Letterkenny and Garan, he will do what he has always done - building bridges, opening doors, caring, affirming, supporting, encouraging, uplifting and working alongside you."

William Morton was elected as Dean of St Patrick's by the Cathedral Chapter in May, after spending the previous 19 years of his ministry as Dean of St Columb's Cathedral.

In an earlier interview, he said his new role is to promote St Patrick's, not only in terms of shared worship and in reaching out to people of all backgrounds, but also to make the cathedral a rich focus for music, lectures and other cultural events.

Dean Morton, who was born in 1956, comes from a farming background, and once was a trainee journalist with the Ulster Gazette in Armagh before entering the ministry.

He and his wife Rosemary, who were married in 1988, met when they were both appointed as organ scholars. They have two sons. The Mortons have taken up residence in the Cathedral Deanery in Dublin. Dean Morton joked that one of his worries was whether their 11-year-old pet Labrador dog, Duke, would behave himself and not dig up the Deanery gardens.

Belfast Telegraph

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