The peace process will only work if both sides of the NI community start to learn to live together, Archbishop Robin Eames has said.
Archbishop Robin Eames said people must learn to live together
Speaking on the eve of a return to Stormont by NI politicans, he said he was optimistic about the future.
He said the people would determine whether the process succeeded.
"There is evidence... that people want change, they want a shared future, they want to see this place moving forward," he said.
"Unless you get people at the local level where they are, living and working and loving and being with their loved ones, politicians can do everything they like, but they will never bring about reconciliation."
Dr Eames, 69, who is Archbishop of Armagh, announced last week that he would step down on 31 December.
He was ordained in 1964, and has been a bishop for more than 30 years. Dr Eames was appointed archbishop in 1986.