Monday, 12 July 2010

12th July

Today, Orangemen throughout the world will be celebrating the 320th Anniversary of the Battle of the Boyne.

As well as the pageantry, there is also a deeply spiritual side to the Order as shown in the following video - which shows an Orange Order Service in St Patrick's Cathedral, Armagh. This video was made in the Tercentenary Year (1990), less than 2 months before I left Northern Ireland to return to England. I was received into Full Communion with the Catholic Church on 28 September 1991. For the past two years I have been living in the Scottish Highlands.

It is worth recalling that Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II visited this very Cathedral on the Thursday in Holy Week 2009, in order to distribute The Royal Maundy. Here we see her and the Duke of Edinburgh pictured with the Most Rev Alan Harper, Archbishop of Armagh. Alan was my Rector in Belfast between 1986 and 1990.

O God, our help in ages past,
our hope for years to come,
our shelter from the stormy blast,
and our eternal home:

Under the shadow of thy throne,
thy saints have dwelt secure;
sufficient is thine arm alone,
and our defense is sure.

Before the hills in order stood,
or earth received her frame,
from everlasting thou art God,
to endless years the same.

A thousand ages in thy sight
are like an evening gone;
short as the watch that ends the night
before the rising sun.

Time, like an ever-rolling stream,
bears all its sons away;
they fly, forgotten, as a dream
dies at the opening day.

O God, our help in ages past,
our hope for years to come,
be thou our guide while troubles last,
and our eternal home!

Isaac Watts (1674-1748)

I send loyal greetings to all my Protestant friends in Northern Ireland on this special day.

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