New Auxiliary Bishop of Down and Connor

21 Feb 2001

New Auxiliary Bishop of Down and Connor

21 February 2001

The Apostolic Nunciature is pleased to communicate that His Holiness Pope John Paul II has appointed Reverend Donal McKeown, President of St Malachy’s College, Belfast, as Auxiliary Bishop of Down & Connor, assigning to him the titular see of Cell Ausaille.

Father McKeown was born on 12 April 1950 in Randallstown, Co. Antrim (diocese of Down & Connor). He completed his primary and post-primary education in schools of the diocese. The Bishop-elect entered the diocesan seminary, St Malachy’s College, in 1968, and studied at Queen’s University, Belfast, where he obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in Modern Languages. From 1973 to 1978 he studied at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, obtaining the degree of
Licentiate in Theology.

After ordination to the priesthood in 1977, he was chaplain at Mater Infirmorum Hospital in Belfast (1977-78), and taught successively at St Patrick’s College, Belfast (1978-83), St Mac Nissi’s College, Garron Tower(1983-87) and St Malachy’s College, Belfast (1987 to the present). Since1995 he has been President of St Malachy’s College.

Apostolic Nunciature in Ireland


Notes to Editors:

The Diocese of Down and Connor is the second largest diocese in Ireland, stretching from Portrush and Portstewart in the north of the diocese to Kilkeel in the south of the diocese. The Catholic population is 300,000 out of a total population in excess of one million. There are 88 parishes in the diocese served by 203 priests. Fr Mc Keown will join Bishop Anthony Farquhar as a second auxiliary bishop to Bishop Patrick Walsh. His Episcopal Ordination will take place after Easter, probably on Sunday, 29 April.

Speaking of Fr Mc Keown’s appointment, the Bishop of Down and Connor, Dr Patrick Walsh said:

“I welcome very warmly the appointment of Fr. Donal McKeown as the new Auxiliary Bishop in Down and Connor. I express my warmest thanks to His Holiness Pope John Paul II for granting to our diocese a second auxiliary bishop.

Fr Mc Keown is highly esteemed by the priests of the diocese and by all who have come to know him in particular in the field of education. Even though he has spent all his priestly ministry in education he has always kept in close touch with parish ministry, assisting in Derriaghy parish during his years in St Patrick’s College, Knock, and since then assisting in parishes at weekends and during vacation time.

He brings to his new appointment a keen intellect, good practical judgement, and a warm and generous personality.

As Bishop of this large and complex diocese I am blessed to have at my side as advisers and friends Bishop Farquhar with his wide experience and now Fr Donal McKeown who will bring fresh insights to our thinking, as we accept the challenges placed before us by Pope John Paul in his letter to the Church for the close of the Jubilee Year.”

Further information:
Fr Martin Clarke 087 220 8044
Ms Brenda Drumm  087 233 7797