Bishop Brendan Kelly’s address on the occasion of his Episcopal ordination as Bishop of Achonry

27 Jan 2008


27th January 2008

Bishop Brendan Kelly’s address on the occasion of his Episcopal ordination as Bishop of Achonry

A Phobail dílís Dé,

Idir tuath is chléir, idir mná is fir, idir aosta agus óg, idir lag is láidir – is aoibhinn liom bhur dteacht anseo inniu chuig Ardeaglais Naithi Naofa agus Teachtaireacht an Aingil.

When the people of God gather to celebrate the Eucharist, we do so because we already are, and at the same time long to be, a Holy Communion, in Jesus, our Lord. We gather too in deepest gratitude, because we have received everything. We fall to our knees, we stand, we open our hearts in song to give thanks and praise to God, today, for two whole hours!

Agus is aoibhinn bheith in bhur gceartlár, ag seasamh i gceartlár mo dhaoine..i gcroí phobal Dé.

Mo mhile buiochas leatsa ar dtús, a Chardineil Sár- oirmhinnigh,
Is mór liom go pearsanta agus ar son phobail an Deoise seo gur ghlac tú le mo chuireadh a theacht mar phríomh Choisriceoir inniu.

We the people of this Diocese are full of joy that you have done us the honour of being with us today for your first Episcopal ordination as Cardinal. We have come to recognise and love you over the years not just as a Cavan or Armagh man , but as one of ourselves, and we were all lifted up by your recent raising to the college of Cardinals.

Faoi choimirce Dé agus Muire Mathair go raibh tú.

I thank His Excellency, Archbishop Lazzarotto, here amongst us as representative of our Holy Father, for presiding at today’s ceremony. I am particularly grateful for your personal warmth towards me and your ceaseless encouragement.Our prayers go with you now to Australia and your first great task there of presiding over the preparations for World Youth Day later in the year.

Thank you Archbishop Michael, Co consecrator today, beside me not for the first time. I’m glad you are here today.

Bishop Tom Flynn, a most particular word of gratitude to you today agus me ag tíocht mar chomharba ort ar an Deoise ársa seo to which you have given your entire life. You welcomed me with a great smile and a generous heart, and did I detect a little lightness of spirit as the time had come to step aside after 31 years of total service. You deserve that lightness of heart and I am glad you will be living even closer now to this Cathedral that you love for all it is and stands for. Go raibh fad-saol agat, a happy and peaceful retirement agus faoi choimirce Dé agus na Maighdeana go raibh tú.

I thank the many Bishops who are here as my brothers, for that is how you have received me. Your presence honours also the people of Achonry, and in particular Bishop Tom.

I thank the representatives of other Christian Churches and communions who have honoured us today by your presence and by coming to pray with us. We will continue to be present to each other and to pray together.

A ionadaí an Uachtaráin, Capt Lorraine Fahy, is mór linn do theacht and likewise Capt. Michael Tracy, ionadaí an Taoisigh. I thank Junior Minister Jimmy Devins representing the Government, and the many other local and national representatives who are here.

I warmly thank my many priest colleagues who have come. In so many ways you are my dear brothers, classmates from Maynooth who never hesitated to knock the corners off me. Don’t stop now.

My brothers of the Galway Diocese…I have already told you how much you mean to me. I trust in your prayers, and in your call, through this crozier, to be a good shepherd. I will miss you.

To the priests of this Diocese I now turn in great gratitude. Your welcome to me has been wholehearted. I need you now more than you need me. I have a lot to learn. You may have to be patient. My dearest prayer today is that together we will form a fraternity of truly good Shepherds for the people of this diocese particularly those who in any way find themselves to be the least or lost or lonely. May God help us together to truly give our lives for his people.

I thank in a special way those who have come from the parish of Craughwell, the place that will always be my first home, where faith was a part of the air I breathed as a boy and where priesthood was so deeply cherished and appreciated.

I am so glad there are people here from all the places where I have served as a priest. First of all Colaiste Einde and Gort where I taught happily for 23 years. Thank you for coming.

Then I thank all who have come from Lisdoonvarna agus An Spidéal, where my faith was strengthened and where I was happy and at home and discovered the deep privilege and gift it is to be a parish priest.

I welcome my friends from Faith & Light and L’Arche. Mary Sheridan – your laughter has brightened my life for over 30 years. And Mary Considine – thanks for all the times you told me you love me.

And then my own family, my brothers & sisters, your spouses and children. Thank you for your love & that your homes have always been places of welcome for me. How close we feel the presence of our parents today.

And then my personal friends – molta le mo thost fuibh inniu. My silence about you today speaks the richest volumes. I cannot be without you.

Above all today the people of this parish and this diocese. This is your day. I thank you for being here – all the representatives of parishes and church areas. I look forward to meeting you personally and coming to know you.

Agus mile failte roimh na school principals. My parents were primary teachers. My father, brother and sister –school principals and I was one myself for nine years. I give thanks to God in a special way for your presence and for your dedication to the young of the diocese. I look forward to working with you, and supporting Christian Education and is tráthúil that you are here to celebrate my ordination with me today, as this is Education in Faith Sunday. I know the work over which you preside from the lovely cards and greetings that have been pouring in from all the schools of the diocese.

Is aoibhinn liom bhur dteacht, agus teacht an uile dhuine atá anseo inniu. Mile mile buiochas.

“Repent!” Jesus said – “the kingdom of Heaven is close at hand”. With these words Jesus announced a Good News, the Good News. We have a choice – we can live focused on the darkness – and God knows the temptation to do so is strong and hugely supported in our times. Or we can choose to see the light. The Kingdom of Heaven is close at hand. Not a far distant or merely after death reality. But a real and present event and right here where I am , where we are in this parish, church, school, community , family, neighbourhood. Look how this Cathedral is shining. Look at the floors and the walls. Listen to the wholehearted singing, music and praying. Notice the loveliness of the people – the way people dressed up for the occasion – and not just the bishops.

See the incredible work, self sacrifice…of all who organized… and gave of themselves and their time – that this event would be lovely and beautiful. See this and discover ourselves today a people who are a-light and with such potential for light….and for driving out all which is drear and dark. Listen to the silence in this ceremony and see the care and devotion. Notice the prayer in your own heart. The kingdom of God is so close. Let us not miss it.

We are a people of the Resurrection. The good will out. As it has in this entire effort of the people of this diocese for this ordination. I am deeply grateful to God for all I have seen and heard since I came here first on Nov 20th For all that has been lavished on me of good words and good news and gladness in the hearts of so many. And now particularly in this ceremony. How good it is to be us…to be the people of God –Pobal Dé….We are citizens of his Kingdom.

Thank you all who have played a part in giving us the great glimpse of this truth that is today. It is a wonderful place for a new man to start out amongst you as pastor. No wonder we are told in the Gospel today – they left their nets at once and followed Him.
No doubts – twas crystal clear:

The Light, the Kingdom of God so near, so real– Jesus the carpenter’s son!
This is it: One of ourselves!
This can be us too!
What else could those fishermen do?
Where else could they go?
Or we..
So ‘Let us rise with Him and be on our way!


Further information:
Brenda Drumm, Communications Officer (087 233 7797)
Kathy Tynan, Communications Officer (086 817 5674)
Fr Vincent Sherlock, Diocesan Communications Officer (087 242 4253)