Category Archives: Diocesan News

Maynooth Appointment Announced

Dr Tomaás Surlis

The Trustees of Saint Patrick’s College, Maynooth have appointed Reverend Dr Tomás Surlis as Pro-Rector of the Seminary at Saint Patrick’s College, Maynooth, for a period of five years, effective from 1 August 2018.  In welcoming the appointment Archbishop Eamon Martin, Chairman of the Trustees, said:

“I warmly congratulate and send my prayerful good wishes to Father Tomás Surlis on his appointment to the role of Pro-Rector of the Seminary at Saint Patrick’s College Maynooth. Father Surlis brings rich experience to this new responsibility and is well equipped to lead the formation community at the College.

“Last year, on the appointment of Father Michael Mullaney as President of the College, the Trustees indicated that a revision of the governance structures of the College, with particular reference to the Seminary and the Pontifical University as two interrelated but distinct entities, would be undertaken, and that a Pro-Rector with dedicated responsibility for seminary formation at Maynooth would be appointed. The ongoing implementation of the vision for priestly formation set out in the new universal norms The Gift of the Priestly Vocation published by the Congregation for the Clergy in December 2016, has given an impetus to greater reflection on formation. The appointment of a dedicated Pro-Rector for the Seminary is one of the fruits of that ongoing reflection and it underlines the commitment of the Bishops’ Conference to the task of the formation of priests in contemporary society.

“As was also noted last year, Saint Patrick’s College, Maynooth, is not only home to our national seminary, but its Pontifical University offers courses to many students, lay and seminarian, from Ireland and from further afield.  The Trustees are firmly committed to the College as a key contributor to the future of the Church in Ireland as it prepares both clergy and lay people to fully exercise their baptismal calling and bring their gifts to the service of God’s people.”

Archbishop Martin added, “I want to thank sincerely Father Mullaney for his dedication and commitment to the staff and community of Saint Patrick’s College, and I look forward to working with him in ensuring that the college continues to serve the needs of the Church at this time.”


Father Tomás Surlis was ordained a priest of the Diocese of Achonry in 2003.  A catechist by training, he taught Religion and English for four years in Coláiste Iognáid, Galway, before studying for the priesthood at Saint Patrick’s College, Maynooth.  His first appointment as a priest was to the staff of Saint Nathy’s College, Ballaghaderreen as Chaplain and Teacher of religious education.  In 2005, he was appointed as curate to the parish of Ballymote, Co Sligo.  From 2006 to 2010 completed a doctorate in Dogmatic Theology in the Pontifical Gregorian University Rome.  In 2010, he was appointed to the parish of Gurteen, Co Sligo and Diocesan Advisor for Post-Primary Religious Education for the dioceses of Achonry and Killala.  He was also appointed as Director of Formation for the Permanent Diaconate in the diocese of Achonry.  In 2011, he was appointed as President and Principal Teacher of Saint Nathy’s College, Ballaghaderreen, where he served until March 2017 before taking up appointment as Director of Formation and Lecturer in Theology and Education in Saint Patrick’s College, Maynooth, in August 2017.

Dear Parishioners ….

Dear Parishioners,

Normally a letter to the people of the diocese comes from the bishop but as we currently have no bishop in the diocese of Achonry, we, the priests of the diocese, wish to place before you, the people of our parish communities, some points for your consideration. We offer these points as pastors and as teachers of the message of life at the heart of the Good News of Jesus Christ.

On May 25th, we are being asked to vote on the Eighth Amendment to our Constitution. This amendment was voted into our Constitution by the people of Ireland after a referendum in 1983. The wording of that amendment states:

The State acknowledges the right to life of the unborn and, with due regard to the equal right to life of the mother, guarantees in its laws to respect, and, as far as practicable, by its laws to defend and vindicate that right.

The referendum on May 25th is asking voters whether they want to keep this wording in our Constitution or remove it. The wording as it stands recognises the right to life of the unborn and equally the right to life of the mother. Removing the wording would mean that babies in the womb would have no rights under our Constitution and it would allow the Dáil to introduce legislation for abortion.

The debate on the forthcoming referendum raises serious issues which we all need to consider carefully before casting our vote.

In our parishes, we are privileged to share the joy of mothers and fathers in the birth of a new baby. We witness again and again their wonder at the new life they have helped to create and the tenderness of their care for the infant who is so entirely dependent on them. We see too the wider welcome given to a baby by older brothers and sisters, grandparents, aunts and uncles.

Working in our parishes, we have walked with mothers – and fathers – who have been overwhelmed by news of pregnancy, who struggle to cope, who are unsure and uncertain about the future, but who choose to welcome their child with the support, compassion, care and love of family, friends and community.

As pastors, we have also shared the journeys of mothers and fathers who become aware during pregnancy that their baby has a life-limiting condition. Though there is heartbreak, we have seen so often the gratitude of parents for precious days, hours, even minutes with their baby after birth, giving them time to name and baptise their child, making memories that live long in the heart.

These experiences with the people we serve leave us with the firm conviction of the wonder of human life that begins at conception. On a purely human level, that sense of wonder is supported by developments in science and medicine that give, in our time, ever greater insight into the hidden life of the little child in the womb with his or her own unique and never to be repeated DNA structure, whose heart begins to beat at 21 days, who by 12 weeks can yawn and stretch developing limbs. In all of this, we see the hand of God for whom human persons are the high point of Creation, made in God’s image and likeness. The insight of the Psalmist rings so true,

For it was you who created my being,

knit me together in my mother’s womb.

I thank you for the wonder of my being. (Psalm 138)

Life is God’s gift and the right to life comes from God and not from any law or constitution. Because it terminates human life which begins at conception, abortion can never be condoned in any circumstances. The circumstances in which human life begins are sometimes far from ideal and in such circumstances compassion is certainly called for, compassion which cares for and supports the mother in a crisis situation and compassion which sees the baby she carries in her womb as entirely innocent and deserving of the right to life.

The Eighth Amendment to our Constitution gives protection to the most vulnerable and voiceless members of our society. The forthcoming referendum calls us to be their voice and defend their right to life. It challenges us to be communities that show genuine compassion and practical care in every way for mothers – and fathers – for whom pregnancy causes a crisis.

We all need to be as fully informed as we can be on the issues before us in the referendum on May 25th and on the implications of our vote.  We pray and encourage you to pray with us that God will guide us and all citizens of our country to make the best decision for the unborn and their mothers.

Yours in Christ,

The priests of the diocese of Achonry.

Cathedral Reopens

Following some months of intense and skillful works, the Cathedral of The Annunciation and St Nathy has re-opened.  Much of the works carried out lie beneath the surface and tended to electrical, plumbing and essential repairs.  There were some changes made too that are obvious and a clear improvement. Well done to all involved and all who have supported this project over recent years.

 

 

Permanent Diaconate Ordinations

Ordinations to the Permanent Diaconate took place for the first time in the Diocese of Achonry on Easter Monday, April 2nd, 2018.  Bishop Brendan Kelly returned to the diocese to ordain two men to the Permanent Diaconate. Fr Dermot Meehan, Diocesan Administrator and Director of the Permanent Diaconate programme in the diocese was the homilist.

A packed congregation in the Church of St James’, Charlestown, Co. Mayo watched and prayed as Martin Lynch (Parish of Kiltimagh) and Kevin Flynn (Parish of Collooney) became the first Permanent Deacons in our diocese.  Both men are married and their families were in attendance along with many friends and well wishers.

After the homily, both candidates are called forward by a deacon – answering “present” to the calling of their name is symbolic of their response to God’s Call to ministry.  Having presented themselves for ordination they are, in turn, presented to the bishop as candidates for ordination.

Having been called to Ministry and accepted for ordination, both candidates committed themselves to the ministry of Deacon and responded to the questions put before them by Bishop Brendan Kelly.

Both will assume ministry in the diocese and we pray God’s continued blessing on them and their families.

Ad multos annos.

Data Protection Officer

The Dioceses of the Western Province are recruiting for a Data Protection Officer.  The purpose of this role is to assist a number of Dioceses of the Western Province (Tuam Ecclesiastical Province) and their constituent parishes and agencies in achieving compliance with the requirements of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). The Western Province comprises the Diocese of Tuam, Galway, Elphin, Killala, Achonry and Clonfert. The Catholic Church recognises that good pastoral care and respect for the dignity of every person requires that personal data should be sourced, stored, processed and eventually disposed of in an appropriate manner and welcomes the essential principles underlying the GDPR.


dpo

DOWNLOAD JOB DESCRIPTION AND APPLICATION DETAILS

Application also available on IrishJobs.ie 

Diocesan Administrator

Fr Dermot Meehan, Diocesan Administrator Diocese of Achonry

 

Fr Dermot Meehan, Parish Priest of Swinford, Co. Mayo has been elected Administrator of the Diocese of Achonry with immediate effect.

The diocese wishes him every blessing in this role and the priests and people of the diocese will support him in this undertaking and remember him in prayer.

As Diocesan Administrator, Fr Dermot assumes responsibility for the diocese and will represent the diocese at meetings of the Episcopal Conference.  He will manage the day to day affairs of the diocese until such time as a new bishop is a appointed.

February 12th, 2018

 

Evening Prayer with Religious

On Sunday, February 4th, Bishop Brendan gathered with the Religious of the Diocese and a number of our diocesan priests and laity to pray with and for all who have given their lives in service of the Religious Life.  This was Bishop Brendan’s last official engagement in the diocese before he takes up his new role as Bishop of Galway on Sunday next.

He spoke of the absolute need for faith and trust in the future; “We can’t go back”, he said “like Jesus in this weekend’s Gospel, we need to go elsewhere …. in prayer, Jesus received and found what he needed to carry on”.  He reflected on his own move to Galway and that the future is totally in God’s hands – as is all of the future.  “Religious life is always about encountering people, encountering where they are.”  “Churches”, he said “were built so that people could gather together and be alone in the encountering of Jesus.”

His encouragement to all gathered was to keep engaging with people – meeting and being with them for that is the core of the Religious calling.

He used the occasion to thank all the Religious of the diocese for the wonderful support they had been to him over the past ten years.  He asked them to continue to keep him in prayer as he will keep them.

Fr Steve Gibson, CSC, spoke on behalf of all the Religious gathered and wished Bishop Brendan every success in his new role and concluded with a prayer of blessing.

Catholic Schools Week 2018

WELCOME

To celebrate Catholic Schools Week 2018, Bishop Brendan Kelly will be Principal Celebrant at Mass in St James’ Church, Charlestown on Wednesday January 31st at 7pm.  This Mass will be a Diocesan Gathering to celebrate the life lived in the schools of our Diocese. Prayers will be offered and blessings sought for all pupils, teachers, families and staff.

Please know that you are welcome to come along, join us in prayer, and to support the work done in classrooms and behind the scenes in all our schools.


The theme for Catholic Schools Week 2018 is:

“Catholic Schools: Families of Faith”.


For information on Catholic Schools Week 2018, please click HERE


Some images from Mass in Charlestown on Wednesday, January 31st.

Sr Mary Richardson and Mrs Marian Maloney (Diocesan Advisors to Primary Schools) were very instrumental in arranging this evening’s Liturgy.  At the end of the Mass, Sr Mary spoke words of thanks to Bishop Brendan on behalf of those gathered.  She thanked him for his commitment and dedicated service to the school communities of the diocese during his ten years as Bishop of Achonry.  She wished him continued blessings as he prepares to move to Galway, where he will become Bishop of Galway on February 11th.

She concluded her words with a brief quotation from the late poet and writer, John O’Donohue

Bishop Brendan, in response, made the following comments before offering his prayers and blessings to all gathered.

Venerable Patrick Peyton CSC

VENERABLE PATRICK PEYTON, CSC

On Monday, December 18, Pope Francis received His Eminence Cardinal Angelo Amato, S.D.B., Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, and authorized the Congregation to promulgate the decree recognizing the heroic virtues of Father Patrick Peyton, a priest of the Congregation of Holy Cross, thus recognizing him as Venerable by the Roman Catholic Church.

The Positio on the life, virtues and reputation of holiness of Father Peyton had previously been discussed and approved by a panel of nine theologians and more recently by a group of 15 Cardinals and Archbishops who voted affirmatively to recognize his heroic virtues. The Positio refers to the volume containing the evidence that was collected from witness testimonies and supporting documents during inquiries carried out by special tribunals in several dioceses.

Hundreds of testimonies to Father Peyton’s heroic virtue and holiness of life have been recorded. Tens of thousands of prayer cards containing a prayer for a favor through Father Peyton’s intercession are in circulation. Hundreds of favors have been reported. Some of these favors are remarkable healings for which there is no medical explanation. Should one of these healings be officially recognized as having no scientific explanation and approved by the Vatican as a miracle due to his intercession, it would lead to his beatification.

The essence of Father Patrick Peyton’s ministry, which spanned half a century, began in his family. Father Patrick Peyton was born January 9, 1909, in Carracastle, County Mayo, Ireland. His parents, John and Mary Peyton, gathered their family to pray the Rosary every evening.

After emigrating from Ireland to the United States, Patrick Peyton became gravely ill as a seminarian and the doctors had no hope of recovery. So he followed his parents’ example and turned to Rosary prayer.

“Father Peyton was a seminarian, studying for the priesthood, when he was stricken with tuberculosis,” said Father Wilfred Raymond, C.S.C., President of Holy Cross Family Ministries. “He prayed his Rosary to the Blessed Mother and made a miraculous recovery. From that moment, he knew he was to be the one to carry out her apostolate, her ministry to bring families together for Rosary prayer, just as his family had done.”

Over the years, Father Peyton advocated for families by preaching two powerful and memorable messages, “The Family That Prays Together Stays Together” and “A World at Prayer is a World at Peace.”

Known the world over as “The Rosary Priest,” he began Family Rosary, in Albany, N.Y. in 1942, more than 75 years ago with the goal of building family unity through daily prayer of the Rosary. He went on to lead millions in prayer at 40 Family Rosary Rallies that drew 28 million people, including 2 million each at events in Sao Paulo, Brazil and Manila, Philippines.

Father Peyton, a Catholic media pioneer, spent the 51 years of his priesthood serving the spiritual needs of families.  In 1947, he founded Family Theater Productions in Hollywood. Family Theater Productions produced 900 radio and TV programs that featured hundreds of star actors and other celebrities and had more than 10,000 broadcasts.

The essence of Father Peyton’s ministry is relevant and vibrant to families today. Father Peyton still inspires people all over the world by his holiness of life and the example of his strong and tender devotion to Our Blessed Mother. The ministry has grown and engages families through a variety of media and social platforms as well as several websites, FamilyRosary.orgFamilyTheater.org, and the newest ministry, CatholicMom.com, the apostolate founded by Lisa Hendey, nationally known Catholic author and speaker. One of the many social platforms to reach families, Family Rosary Facebook page, has more than 1.2 million followers. The latest media project of Family Theater Productions, “Catholic Central,” was recently released on YouTube. These short videos offer entertaining and authoritative answers to questions about Catholic thought, spirituality and practice, CatholicCentral.com.

Holy Cross Family Ministries also established The Father Peyton Family Institute, based in Lima, Peru, and Bangalore, India. The Institutes provides direct services through research and education to enrich the spirituality of families. 

A site to inspire families and honor Father Peyton, FatherPeyton.org shares his life story from his humble beginnings in Ireland to his fame working with the “stars” of the Golden Age of Hollywood.

HCFM’s “Family of Ministries” are under the sponsorship of the Congregation of Holy Cross. The Congregation in June of 1997 requested that a cause for canonization for Father Peyton be initiated. In June 2001 the “nihil obstat” was granted from Rome and Father Peyton was given the title, “Servant of God,” when his Cause was opened. Since then, significant work has been completed to present Father Peyton’s heroic practice of virtue and reputation for holiness.

Holy Cross Family Ministries, which carries on the works of Father Peyton, has headquarters in North Easton, Massachusetts, with its media production company, Family Theater Productions, in Hollywood, California, and mission offices in 16 countries. The ministry serves Jesus Christ and His church by inspiring, educating, and entertaining families all to support their spiritual well-being and encourage family prayer.

For more information:

 


Taken from catholicmom.com and Holy Cross Ministries


FR PEYTON CENTRE, ATTYMASS, CO. MAYO

PRESS RELEASE
peytoncentre

Bishop Brendan appointed Bishop of Galway

Bishop Brendan Kelly

Bishop Brendan, appointed Bishop of Achonry in November 2007 and ordained in January 2008, has today been appointed Bishop of Galway.  The Diocese, in thanking him for his wonderful leadership over the past nine years, is tinged with sadness as we prepare to bid him farewell.  Returning to his native diocese, we wish him every happiness and blessing and know that his contribution to the life of Galway diocese will be meaningful and rooted in the Gospel he so cherishes.


STATEMENT OF MONSIGNOR THOMAS JOHNSTON, VICAR GENERAL

I congratulate Bishop Brendan Kelly on his appointment as Bishop of Galway, Kilmacduagh and as Apostolic Administrator of Kilfenora, and with the priests, religious and people of Achonry I pray God’s blessing on him in this new ministry.

Bishop Brendan was ordained bishop of Achonry in January 2008 and he brought to that office many fine qualities, personal and pastoral. We thank him most especially for his kindness to priests and people alike, his commitment to priesthood and dedication to ministry.

We appreciate the initiatives he introduced, encouraged and supported within the diocese, his deep appreciation of the work of priests, his encouragement for their various ministries and his understanding of their ever increasing work-load.

As bishop, he was always deeply aware and encouraging of the ministries and activities carried out by the many volunteers at parish and diocesan level.

His appointment to the see of Galway takes him back to the place of his birth and early priesthood and while we would love to see him remain in Achonry, we know that God’s will comes first.

We remain forever grateful for the time Bishop Brendan spent in our diocese and assure him today and always of our continued prayers.

Monsignor Thomas Johnston,

Vicar-General Diocese of Achonry

11th December 2017


STATEMENT OF ARCHBISHOP EAMONN MARTIN

Following the appointment today by Pope Francis of Bishop Brendan Kelly as the new Bishop of Galway, Kilmacduagh and as Apostolic Administrator of Kilfenora, Archbishop Eamon Martin has published the following statement of congratulations:

“I wish to offer my warmest congratulations and prayerful support to Bishop Brendan Kelly for his generous acceptance of a new episcopal appointment.

“Bishop Brendan’s ten years of pastoral service as Bishop of Achonry have been characterised by a natural warmth and empathy towards the people, priests and religious of the diocese, and a gentle, prayerful and caring leadership.

Now he returns to his roots! As a native of Craughwell, and a priest of longstanding, dedicated service in the diocese of Galway, Bishop Brendan will no doubt receive a wholehearted welcome home from the clergy and faithful of his native diocese. He returns with the benefit of new wisdom and experience garnered among the faithful people of Achonry.

“I am pleased that Bishop Brendan will continue his valued service to the Irish Episcopal Conference. His contribution, to date, has been immense – as a member of Standing Committee, the Commission for Catholic Education and Formation, Council for Liturgy and as chair of the Bishops’ Council for Education.

“In recent days, we rejoiced with Bishop Brendan as he brought to completion a project that has been dear to his heart as a native Irish speaker – the launch of the new altar edition of An Leabhar Aifrinn Rómhánach, the Irish translation of the Roman Missal.  One of the most important recent cultural achievements in this country, its preparation and production was the fruit of years of intensive work and collaboration of many individuals from throughout the Church, and Bishop Brendan deserves great credit for delivering an Irish Missal that we can all be proud of.

A man of great gifts, I wish him happiness and fulfilment in his new appointment.

“May Saint Colman, Saint Fachanan and Our Lady Assumed into Heaven guide Bishop Brendan in his new role in Galway, Kilmacduagh and Kilfenora.

Guím gach rath Dé air agus ar a chuid saothair.”


STATEMENT OF ARCHBISHOP MICHAEL NEARY

“On behalf of the Bishops of the metropolitan province of Tuam, I wish to take this opportunity to warmly congratulate Bishop Brendan Kelly on his new appointment as Bishop of Galway, Kilmacduagh and Kilfenora.

“Bishop Brendan was ordained a priest of the Diocese of Galway in 1971 and will now return as its bishop.  As both priest and bishop, Bishop Brendan has been a much loved local pastor and a very popular shepherd to the faithful of Achonry since his ordination as bishop on 27 January 2008.  His personal integrity, generosity of spirit and outstanding ministry to the people of the diocese will surely be missed.  No doubt he will bring the same natural enthusiasm and pastoral leadership to the people of his diocese of origin in Galway.”

Archbishop Neary concluded, “On this special day for the diocese and for the country, I ask the faithful to join with me in prayer to ask the Lord to guide and bless Bishop Brendan as he undertakes his new and important Episcopal appointment.”


APPOINTMENT WELCOMED BY CANON MICHAEL McLOUGHLIN,

Please see below the statement of welcome by the Very Reverend Michael Canon McLoughlin, Diocesan Administrator, regarding the news today that the Most Reverend Bishop Brendan Kelly has been appointed by Pope Francis as the new Bishop of Galway, Kilmacduagh and Apostolic Administrator of Kilfenora:

“With great joy and with a feeling of some relief, I am honoured and I am proud to say to our new bishop – ceád mile fáilte romhat abhaile arís.

“We, the priests and people of these three ancient dioceses, have been through a sixteen-month Advent since the retirement of Bishop Martin Drennan in July 2016.  We have been waiting daily in expectation and in hope for white smoke.  Now that hope has been fulfilled with news from Rome and we at last can begin preparations to welcome one of our own back home to lead us and to be our shepherd.

“We have no doubt that Bishop Brendan will be a good shepherd.  The people of Lisdoonvarna and of Spiddal can testify to his compassion and his dedication, to his gentleness and his kindness when he were their priest.  Those many pupils he taught in Coláiste Éinde and in Our Lady’s College, Gort will also know of his abilities and commitment both inside and outside the classroom.  Although he left us ten years ago for Ballaghaderreen, we watched and regarded him with pride and we always kept him in our prayers.

“And now we are very pleased indeed that he has come back to us. We look forward to making him feel welcome and to helping him readjust.  We know some of his many gifts.  Like Bishop Drennan and Bishop McLoughlin before him, he has a passion for the Irish language and for Irish culture.  In his work he has always prioritised evangelisation and the wonderful potential of Catholic education. We know from his words in Oranmore last September, when he ordained our newest priest – Father Declan Lohan – that fostering and inspiring vocations to the priesthood and the religious life has always been to the fore in everything he says and does.  And we know too that he is a man of integrity and of deep faith.  These things are important to us: the priests and people of this diocese.  We look forward, with the help of God and our Blessed Mother, to sharing the journey in the years ahead with our new Bishop.  May God bless our work together mar ní neart go cur le chéile !

“On a personal note, as my time as Diocesan Administrator draws to a close, I would like to take this opportunity to thank, with deep gratitude, those many people who have supported me in my work these past sixteen months.  I will be forever indebted to our retired bishop, Martin Drennan, for his wisdom and unfailing kindness and to all those many people who worked closely with me in the Diocesan Office, in Moycullen, throughout Galway, Kilmacduagh and Kilfenora and beyond.  I believe that Bishop Brendan is coming back home to a diocese full of enormous potential and promise and I wish him, and pray him, bountiful blessings.

“When a priest is first ordained, each priest at the ceremony goes at once to him, offers him the kiss of peace and whispers quietly in his ear ‘ad multos annos’, which means ‘to many years’.  Bishop Brendan, on my own behalf and on behalf of your priests and your people, from our hearts, we also say on this special day: ad multos annos!” 


BISHOP BRENDAN KELLY REFLECTS ON APPOINTMENT

A Cháirde dhíl,

Go mbeannaí Dia dhaoibh … Níor shíl mé riamh go mbeinn anseo, ná go mbeadh an ócáid seo ag tarlú.  Go raibh maith agaibh as teacht agus fanacht.

I am still somewhat in shock.  Having settled happily in Achonry, I never expected I never expected to be asked to take on the shepherding of another diocese.  However, the fact that it is my own native diocese of Galway, Kilmacduagh and Kilfenora makes it much easier to say yes to this appointment with which Pope Francis has chosen to honour me.  I am very grateful to the Holy Father for his trust.  And it is good to be coming home.

Tá mé sásta freisin bheith ag freastal arís i ndeoise ina bhfuil paróistí bhreátha Gaeltachta. Ba mhór an bheannacht  dom féin blianta a chaitheamh i measc muintir Chois Fharraige  i bparóiste An Spidéil.  Is maith bheith ar ais libh arís.

It is now over 10 years since I was appointed by Pope Benedict as Bishop of Achonry.  I have been very happy in Ballaghaderreen. I am deeply grateful first of all to the priests of the Achonry diocese.  Their welcome to me from the beginning was entirely generous and warm. I believe we have worked together well. I want to thank them with all my heart for their constant support, kindness and acceptance of all I asked of them. I will miss them, but I believe the bonds of friendship and fraternity will endure and continue to sustain me.

From the start, the welcome and acceptance I experienced from the people of Achonry, including the Religious, has been warm and generous, too.  It has been a grace from God to serve them and I trust they will continue to carry me in prayer as I will them. There are those then who worked with me on a daily basis in Achonry. I owe them a special debt of gratitude. I thank them and will miss them.

Now as I stand here in this beautiful Cathedral of Our Lady Assumed into Heaven and St. Nicholas, I am conscious of all that lies ahead.  I look forward to working again with the priests of Galway diocese, colleagues since the day I was ordained up to the time I left here 10 years ago.  Many of you have been good friends to me for years.  And I am thinking today with deep gratitude to God of so many of them atá imithe ar shlí na fírinne, great mentors and friends.

I realise there is much work to be done. Somewhere all of us in the Church in Ireland need renewal in faith and in prayer at this time.  Pope Francis is very clear. All of us who have been baptised are missionaries and all of us must be on a continuous journey of conversion. The world needs the Good News as much or more than at any other moment in history.  We have all, priests and people, been solemnly commissioned at Baptism to carry that Good News to the people of our times, most particularly to those who are  experiencing exclusion, isolation and rejection and who are in need of good shepherds.  I invite you all to assume along with me a new determination to be those good shepherds and bearers of the Good News, priests and people together.

I want to say a particular word of thanks here today to my friend Canon Michael McLoughlin, with whom I served happy years in Lisdoonvarna.  Canon Michael has carried the burden of the Administration of the diocese since Bishop Martin retired.  I thank you, Michael, for the courage and faith with which you took on the task, the work you have done and the kindness with which you have dealt with each situation and the people involved.

I want to thank also Bishop Martin, my predecessor as bishop, for honouring the occasion with your presence, and I am so glad you are here today. Thank you for the years you gave shepherding all of us here in the diocese of Galway. Your prayers and scholarly love for God’s Word along with your wise counsel are still needed and I will be availing of them. We are glad that, in retirement, you have chosen to make your home among us and I personally look forward to your ongoing prayerful presence in the years ahead.  And speaking to you as a Kilkenny man, I have to say that I am glad to be returning at a time when Liam McCarthy is making his home again very happily west of the Shannon in this great County!

At the present time we are all looking forward to the World Meeting of Families in August in Dublin and particularly, please God, to a visit from Pope Francis. Pope Francis has set a very clear path for the Church in our time: He has placed the family at the heart of his programme from the start.  The theme he has given for the World Meeting in Dublin is “The Gospel of the Family, Joy for the World”. We are all called to be and to build family domestically and at every level.  It is nothing short of tragic that in a time of unprecedented prosperity for so many, too many families are finding that there is no house for them, no room for them in the Inn. Then there is Our Holy Father’s focus on young people who must always be our first priority in the Church of Jesus Christ.  Along with family and young people, there is the critical mission in Ireland at this time that is Evangelisation: discovering anew the wonder and gift that Jesus Christ is for ourselves and learning anew how to share this gift with others.  We are becoming a smaller, weaker and poorer church.  This is not necessarily a bad thing.  I look forward to working closely with the priests and people of our parishes and diocese, with colleagues and good friends in the other Christian communities represented in our city and beyond, and with all people of good will, men and women, both the young and those who have the wisdom of years, as we build together the Kingdom of God. We must work together in new ways and as never before so that we will be a church that is open and welcoming, humble and full of mercy, and cherishing human life at its most fragile and vulnerable, no matter what the price: in other words, a church that confidently takes our stand always with the one who was crucified and whose birth outside and in abject poverty we are preparing now to celebrate again at Christmas.

Finally, mo bhuíochas ó chroí daoibh ar fad as bheith anseo ar maidin.  Please pray for me that I may give my life as Jesus did in service of you, his people.


BIOGRAPHY (Catholic Communications Office)

He was ordained to the priesthood on 20 June 1971 by Bishop Brown in the Cathedral of Our Lady Assumed into Heaven and Saint Nicholas in Galway city.

His first appointment was to the parish of Kinvara as a curate before being appointed to the teaching staff of Coláiste Éinde in Salthill in 1972, completing a Higher Diploma in Education in the then University College Galway (now the National University of Ireland, Galway) in 1973.

Bishop Brendan remained on the staff of Coláiste Éinde until 1980 when he was transferred to the teaching staff of Our Lady’s College, Gort, becoming President in 1986.

Following the 1995 amalgamation of the three Gort secondary schools, Bishop Brendan applied for and was granted sabbatical leave from his diocese for one year and went to live with the L’Arche Community at Cuise-la-Motte in France.  Founded by Jean Vanier in 1964, the worldwide L’Arche movement seeks to create inclusive, creative and caring families where people with and without intellectual disabilities live and work in friendship, joy and mutual respect.

Returning to his diocese in 1996, Bishop Brendan was appointed by Bishop James McLoughlin as

Parish Priest of Lisdoonvarna in Co Clare and subsequently as Parish Priest of An Spidéal in 2003.

On 20 November 2007, Bishop Brendan was named by Pope Benedict XVI as the Bishop of Achonry, succeeding recently retired Bishop Thomas Flynn.  On 27 January 2008 he was ordained to the episcopate by Cardinal Seán Brady in the Cathedral of the Annunciation and Saint Nathy in Ballaghaderreen.

Today, 11 December 2017, Pope Francis, named Bishop Brendan as Bishop of Galway and Kilmacduagh and Apostolic Administrator of Kilfenora, succeeding Bishop Martin Drennan who retired in July 2016.

It is planned that Bishop Brendan’s ‘Installation Ceremony’ will take place in the Cathedral of Our Lady Assumed into Heaven and Saint Nicholas on 11 February 2018, the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes.

Bishop Brendan’s episcopal motto is ‘De réir d’fhocail’ (‘According to your word’ Lk 1:38).  He:

– is a fluent Irish speaker and has a working knowledge of the French language;

– was a member of the Standing Committee of the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference for six years;

– is a member of the Bishops’ Council of the Liturgy;

– is a member of the Bishops’ An Coiste Comhairleach um Liotúirge i nGaeilge;

– is a member of the Bishops’ Commission for Catholic Education and Formation;

– is Chairman of the Bishops’ Council for Education;

– is a member of The Council for the West.

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