Bishop Brendan Kelly installed as Bishop of Galway
Former Bishop of Achonry notes ‘diverse’ turnout including other Christian and Muslim representatives
Bishop Brendan Kelly blesses the congregation during his installation. Photograph: Joe O’Shaughnessy
The new Bishop of Galway, Most Rev Brendan Kelly, meeting with members of the public after his installation at Galway Cathedral on Sunday. Photograph: Joe O’Shaughnessy
More than 2,000 people – including the President Michael D Higgins – attend the Installation of Bishop Brendan Kelly as Bishop of Galway on Sunday.
Bishop Kelly, formerly Bishop of Achonry was installed during Mass in the Cathedral of Our Lady Assumed in to Heaven and Saint Nicholas – a cathedral for which he as a child had collected money, he recalled.
In his words of welcome to the congregation Bishop Kelly a native Galwegian, noted the “incredibly rich and diverse” Christian community present for his installation which included representatives of the Romanian Orthodox Community, the Coptic Church, and the Anglican, Presbyterian and Methodist Churches.
Bishop Kelly also welcomed an Imam from the local Muslim community and said he looked forward to working for the welfare of all of the people of Galway “and the generations of people who come after us”.
The new Bishop of Galway is a native Galwegian and recalled cycling around the parish of Craughwell as a child collecting money from the faithful for the building of the cathedral.
He said collecting for the “mighty edifice” was a joyful experience and one which created a sense of belonging to “a great project”. He said the building exists to remember the nobility and dignity, “the wonder of human life from its tiniest origins”.
Bishop Kelly recalled that in 1965 at the opening of the cathedral Cardinal Richard Cushing of Boston asked the congregation “why did you build this Cathedral” . Bishop Kelly said the builders had been thinking of the future and the generations to come, “thinking of us”.
Bishop Kelly earned degrees the Arts and in Divinity, later receiving a Higher Diploma in Education from University College Galway in 1973. He was Ordained a priest for the diocese of Galway on 20 June 1971, taking up a position as curate in Kinvara. He taught at Coláiste Einde (1972–80) and Our Lady’s College, Gort (1980–86), the latter of which he was president until 1995.
He took sabbatical leave to serve as Chaplain to the L’Arche community at Cuise-la-Motte, France until 1996, after which he returned to Ireland as parish priest of Lisdoonvarna.
Separately, at the Festival of Faith Conference in Galway on Saturday, Papal Nuncio, Archbishop Jude Thaddeus Okolo apologised, on behalf of the pope, for creating, what he described as “discouragement and disappointment” in the Catholic Church.
He said discouragement and disillusionment amongst followers of the church was not a new thing and that Catholics were denying their faith out of fear of being branded conservatives and traditionalists.
He then issued an apology on behalf of the pope in the form of a prayer.
“One of the first things I want to do here today, on behalf of the Holy Father is to close my eyes and say I am sorry. We are sorry; for creating the disappointment. Just like Peter, who wept bitterly, I’m saying we are sorry. I am sorry for whatever discouragement and disappointment we created for you. May the Lord forgive us, amen,” he said.
The Papal Nuncio went on to say he had been a journalist before becoming a diplomat and he knew how the media worked, accusing it of concentrating on negative stories about the Church.
“I too am a journalist. I understand it. They will just pull you down and criticise you and then go to your files and see if there are some ghosts in the cupboard.
“It’s true, and then you are afraid. Don’t be afraid,” he said.