Pope appoints new Bishop of Ardagh and Clonmacnois
Father Francis Duffy, from Co Cavan, appointed this morning
Father Francis Duffy has been appointed the new Bishop of Ardagh and Clonmacnois.
Pope Francis has appointed Father Francis Duffy, a priest from Co Cavan, as the new Bishop of Ardagh and Clonmacnois.
At a ceremony on the steps of St Mel’s College in Longford Town this morning the newly appointed Bishop thanked members of the diocese for welcoming him.
“The story of Ardagh and Clonmacnois is long and distinguished in the annals of this country, a place of pilgrimage and mission dating back to the fifth century.” he said.
“The diocese is in three separate parts and spread over seven counties. So I think that a map and ‘sat nav’ will be necessary for a while!”
A catholic population of over 70,000 lives in the diocese which includes 41 parishes in counties Cavan, Offaly, Roscommon, Sligo, Westmeath, Longford and Leitrim.
Father Francis also added that the area is characterised by communities with a strong sense of identity and a strong tradition of faith.
Cardinal Seán Brady, archbishop of Armagh and primate of Ireland, has known Father Francis Duffy for many years and congratulated him on the appointment.
“I am confident that he has the gifts and qualities needed,” he said. “His experience in Catholic education, parish ministry and diocesan administration have shown his excellent ability to lead people by word and example and prepared him well for this day”.
Outgoing Bishop for the diocese, Colm O’Reilly, said that the new Bishop has a wide range of experience in teaching and a first-hand understanding of ministry in the parish context.
“All this experience will stand him in good stead,” he said. “I hope he will feel immediately at home in our midst”.
“Throughout the diocese we will get accustomed to praying for Francis, our Pope Francis, our Bishop,” he said.
“May this coincidence of a name shared also be symbolic of the sense of new beginning which is felt in the Church worldwide and in a particularly joyful way in Ardagh and Clonmacnois”.
The new Bishop said that his predecessor was an “inspirational figure”.
“I shall continue the Herculean efforts of Bishop Colm whose pastoral care for this diocese created a welcoming, safe place for children and compassionate church, even during the most challenging of times,” he said.
“I am conscious that I am following a wise and compassionate pastor and a much-loved bishop,” he said. “I hope to tap into his great wisdom and extensive knowledge gained over thirty years as Bishop”.
Bishop Francis also offered support to the Bishops of Ireland and other anti-abortion people who believe that human life is “both sacred and of immeasurable value in all its stages”.