CLERGYMEN may be cut from different cloth as the old saying goes but two Portadown church figures, the Reverend Canon Terence Cadden and Father Martin McAlinden, share more in common than their respective parishioners realise. For both were ordained into the church on the exact same date.
The Seagoe Parish Church of Ireland rector and Moyraverty Parish priest recently celebrated a milestone in their ministry; the pair - who are good friends - were ordained into the church of God on Friday, June 24 in 1990.
And despite knowing each other since 2002, when Rev Cadden was based in Gilford and Fr McAlinden was close by in Tullylish Parish, the clergymen were unaware of the amazing coincidence until recently.
“We are not aware of this happening with any group of clergy working together elsewhere,” says Terence, who was ordained in St Anne’s Catherdal in Belfast while his Roman Catholic counterpart was ordained at St Peter’s Church, Lurgan.
While the pair started their life’s devotion to God on the same date, their church careers began in very different geographical locations; Fr McAlinden served as curate in Newry while Rev Cadden headed north to Coleraine. Terence was also ordained alongside the first two women to be ordained priests in the Church of Ireland.
When the pair first met in Gilford, Martin had just returned from two years in Chicago where he was studying pastoral theology at Loyola University. During that time away Martin says that he felt called to work more closely with clergy from other denominations, and so joined the fellowship group of the local clergy in the Tullylish area. Not only did the pair appreciate each other’s partnership in the Gospel, they add that they became very close friends.
Following Martin’s appointment as parish priest of Moyraverty it was more difficult for the pair to see each other while Terence remained in Gilford. However, When Bishop Harold Miller appointed the latter as rector of Seagoe a few years later the friends were able to engage again with a number of inter-church projects.
“We believe that it is crucial to focus on what Christians hold in common whilst not neglecting, in a spirit of friendship and mutual respect, a desire for understanding of difference through discussing issues together,” explains Terence.