Episcopal Ordination of Mgr Kieran O’Reilly SMA as Bishop of Killaloe
See below homily of Fr Tim Cullinane for today’s Episcopal Ordination Mass and remarks of the Bishop of Killaloe, Bishop Kieran O’Reilly
The Episcopal Ordination of Monsignor Kieran O’Reilly SMA takes place at 3:00pm today Sunday 29 August 2010, in the Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul in Ennis, Co Clare. The consecrating bishops at the ordination ceremony will be Archbishop Dermot Clifford, Archbishop of Cashel and Emly, Bishop William Walsh, Bishop Emeritus of Killaloe and Bishop Noel O’Regan SMA, Bishop Emeritus of
1) the homily of Father Tim Cullinane SMA; and,
2) the concluding remarks of the Bishop of Killaloe, Bishop Kieran O’Reilly
Homily of Father Tim Cullinane SMA for the Ordination Mass of Monsignor Kieran O’Reilly as Bishop of Killaloe
Brothers and Sisters in Christ
We have just heard the mandate from the Holy See appointing Fr Kieran O’Reilly as the new bishop of Killaloe to which you have given your warm assent. As a member of the SMA, on this special occasion, I feel a bit like the father of the bride. Fr Kieran has been a member of our family for nearly forty years. After Ordination he worked first in
Today the passage may be seen as a mission statement for the bishop-elect Fr Kieran and the diocese of Killaloe as they begin a new life together because the purpose of the Church is to help people encounter the Christ that
I stood with a catechismal God
In the gravelled yard of the
In Religion Class, Mulcahy taught us God
Testing with his fingers the sally rod
Explain the Immaculate Conception, Maguire
And tell us about the Mystical Body
Maguire failed…Mulcahy shoved him stuttering across the desks
You can guess what came next.
Having encountered not this God of Mulcahy, but the God of love, made visible in the person of Jesus Christ, we will be moved to love and to form a community of love which the Church is meant to be. We do this, as a Church and as individuals by who we are as much as by what we say. Pope Paul VI in one of his letters said, “modern man is more impressed by witnesses than by preachers and will only listen to preachers if they witness to what they preach.” St Francis made the same point when he said to his followers, “preach at all times, if necessary use words.” In his letter to the Philippians Paul says, “have that mind in you which was also in Christ Jesus”. We are called to have the mind of Jesus and to act as He would act if he were in our situation. There is a story of a parish priest who had always been on his own and then got a curate, something he was not too happy about. When the curate arrived he decided to take a month’s holidays but went away worried about how the curate would manage in the parish in his absence. When he returned he asked the curate how he had got on. He was happy to hear from the curate that things had gone well and you could see the relief in his face but then the curate said, “there was just one thing, while you were away there was funeral in the parish and a Protestant in the town, a Mr Montgomery, came for the funeral Mass. When I was giving out communion I could see in the distance Mr Montgomery kneeling at the altar rails. I did not know what to do and I prayed that the ground would open under my feet but then an inspiration came to me, ‘what would Jesus do in this situation?” You could see the change in the parish priest’s face as he said, “Oh no, you didn’t, did you? ” Now I am not saying what the curate did or even what Jesus would have done but what I am saying is that as a Church and as individuals whose mission it is to be the face, the eyes, the mouth, the heart of Jesus to the world we should be always asking this question, what would Jesus do in this situation? All the failures in the Church are because we have not always asked that question and we have not always done, what Christ would have done and would want us to do.
In the same letter to the Philippians,
Having encountered Christ, he wants us to be part of His mission to the world as
There is, especially in the aftermath of the Celtic tiger, a restlessness in people today as they search for happiness and a meaning and purpose in life. There is a stall in a market in
In his letter to the
As I said earlier, the Church is all of us: lay people, priests, religious and bishops. To make Christ and his Church come alive in ourselves in our diocese, in our parish, in our pastoral areas and clusters we all need to work together. The Instruction calls for a listening Church. It calls on the people to listen to the bishop and to remember the words of Christ to the apostles, “whoever listens to you listens to me,” but also calls on the bishop to, “encourage the faithful to work with him in his apostolic task and to “listen willingly to what they have to say.” Speaking of the role of the laity, Cardinal Newman who lived for a time in Ireland and who is to be beatified next month when the Pope visits Britain, said on one occasion, “I want a laity who know their religion, who enter into it, who know where they stand, who know what they hold and what they do not, who know their creed so well that they can give an account of it, who know so much of history that they can defend it. I want an intelligent well instructed laity.” For this to happen, all of us laity, priests, religious and bishops need first of all to listen to God in prayer.
For the Church to grow, most of all we need the help of Christ and his power is available to us. The gospel chosen for today’s ceremony is the prayer of Jesus for the apostles at the Last Supper. It is also a prayer for Bishops, as successors of the apostles. In the context of today’s celebration it is in a special way a prayer for Fr Kieran. It should be very encouraging for Kieran that Christ is praying for him and through the laying on of hands of the bishops Christ is laying his hands on him and giving him the same Holy Spirit that he gave to the apostles. I would ask you too pray for him not just today but also into the future as he is entering the
There is a small book called “The Practice of the Presence of God” written by a 17th century Carmelite brother, Brother Lawrence who spent most of his time washing dishes in the monastery kitchen. One day in the middle of winter he was very sad and depressed and looking out the window he saw the ground covered with snow and frost, the trees dead with no leaves on them or birds singing on their branches; everything seemed dead reflecting exactly how he felt, and perhaps that is how some people feel about the Irish Church at the moment, but then it struck him that in a few months time it would be spring and there would be new life, the days would be getting longer, the trees would put out buds and leaves and birds would be singing on their branches and this lifted his spirit. At the moment it may be winter in the
The Church, as Vatican II tells us, is missionary by it very nature and towards the end of the instruction that we quoted from earlier, the new bishop is reminded that he is being incorporated into the College of Bishops and should therefore have “a constant care for all the churches and gladly come to the aid and support of churches in need”. This concern is already being expressed by the diocese of Killaloe with personnel from the diocese working in South America and formerly in
I began by comparing today’s ordination celebration to a wedding. A wedding is a very joyful occasion and with the Psalmist we are called to “sing a new song to the Lord and ring out our joy.” This should be easy here in Ennis for Clare is noted for its music and singing. It is good to see so many people, lay and clerical, with different ministries in the Church and in the nation answering the invitation to be present and to join in this celebration. The occasion is unique because of the presence of such a large contingent both of Fr Kieran’s SMA brothers from all parts of the world, including our new Superior General, Fr Jean-Marie Guillaume and a large number representing the Church in Africa, including colleagues and former students of Fr Kieran led by Archbishop Job, the President of the Nigerian Episcopal Conference. Africa often gets a bad press in the western media but those of us who have lived for an extended period in
The occasion is also special because of the presence of Fr Kieran’s family, especially his father Seán and his mother Theresa. We thank God that they have lived to see this day. It was they who gave Kieran the gift of life and the faith that he brought to
Finally, as a Church and a nation with a long tradition of faith going back to St Patrick, let us end on a note of hope with these words from the letter to the Hebrews, “with so many witnesses in a great cloud on every side of us,” including Sts Peter and Paul, St Flannan and St Kieran, “let us throw off everything that hinders us, especially the sin that clings so easily and keep running in the race we have started. Let us not lose sight of Jesus, who leads us in our faith and brings it to perfection.”
Concluding remarks of the Bishop of Killaloe, Bishop Kieran O’Reilly
1. I would like, once again, to say a sincere thank you to all who have gathered here today. In a special way to those who have travelled from different parts of the world. Inside the cover of your booklet I have detailed my thanks to the many who have contributed to this day. On behalf of all I extend a special word of gratitude to the magnificent massed Choirs and all who have laboured for weeks to prepare today’s liturgical and other celebrations.
2. Today, present in the Cathedral of SS. Peter and Paul are members of the Society of African Missions led by Fr Jean-Marie Guillaume who now takes over as Superior General of the SMA, from different parts of the world – Africa, Asia, Europe and North America. From Nigeria Archbishop Felix Alaba Job of Ibadan, Nigeria, President of the Nigerian Episcopal Conference, with Bishops Alfred and Gabriel from Nigeria, Michel from Niger, Jean from France and Bishops Noel and Tim from Ireland. I know the people of the diocese of Killaloe are honoured that you have travelled here to be present for this occasion
3. Bishop Willie, it is not possible for me to express adequately the gratitude that is due to you for your ministry as priest and bishop. You have shepherded the flock of Killaloe since 1994. I know you are held in high esteem by the people of the Diocese and, indeed, well beyond the Diocese, not only for your public presence but also for your quiet ministry of kindness and compassion to so many people. Your leadership and commitment to the development of the church in the Diocese, to ensure that it is alive and relevant to our times, through the reorganisation of pastoral areas of the Diocese, will be, I believe, your lasting and enduring legacy. I hope over the coming months and years to build on what is now in place and with the collaboration of all the faithful to ensure that the gifts and the talents, very often hidden, of the members of our communities are brought to the fore for the good of our faith communities. Thank you Bishop Willie for your kindness and welcome to me over the past months since my appointment was announced.
4. To Bishop Trevor Williams, Bishop of Limerick and Killaloe, and to members of other
5. To my parents, here present: Seán and Theresa, my many family members, relatives, friends, teachers, classmates, neighbours, and fellow missionaries. In particular, I would like to recall those whose who have sown the seed of faith in my life and who have inspired and loved me, those here present and those already with the Lord.
6. Irish Missionaries, from the earliest times, have left our island for different parts of the world where they were welcomed and made feel at home. The most recent missionary movement which began over 100 years ago saw Irish missionaries travelling to the remotest regions of the world bringing the Good News of salvation in Jesus Christ. Their witness contributed and continues to contribute in a significant ways to the growth of the Church and in the areas of education and health care to many.
7. This is a proud missionary tradition and, in this context, I would like to remember all the missionaries from the Diocese of Killaloe who are working in foreign lands. In particular, the priests of the Diocese who are on mission in
8. I welcome to our celebration those who come from cultures very different from our own. The Church in
9. In his well known work, the poet Robert Frost speaks about choosing the “Road less travelled. Perhaps that is the road that we, members of the Church are asked to travel into the future, a pilgrim road. A road that offers us opportunities and challenges in preaching the message of love and hope brought by Jesus Christ. While it may be the road less travelled – without prestige and power, different from what we have known in the past, for us, disciples of the Risen Lord, it is the road to Emmaus where we journey together with our Lord as he unfolds the mystery of life and love that we have received though his life, death and resurrection.
10. To the priests of the diocese and their many co-workers I thank you for your steadfastness and witness in these times through your devotion to your ministry and to the people with whom you live and work.
11. I would like to express my sincere thanks to all who have joined in prayer throughout the Diocese in preparation for this day and who have extended a warm welcome to me since my appointment was announced. I look forward to working closely with you and please continue to pray for me.
Glóir don Athair, don Mhac agus don Spiorad Naomh, mar a bhí ar dtús, mar atá anois agus mar a bheas go brách tré shaol na saol. Amen. Go raibh maith agaigh. Mile Buiochais.
Notes to Editors
- On 16 May 2010 the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, announced Fr Kieran O’Reilly SMA as Bishop of Killaloe to succeed Bishop William Walsh who had retired on completing his seventy fifth year in accordance with canon 401.1 of the Code of Canon Law.
- Fr O’Reilly was born in
on 8 August 1952 to Seán and Theresa O’Reilly. Educated at Presentation Brothers and Scoil Chríost Rí, he entered the Society of African Missions in Cork Wilton, in 1970. Fr O’Reilly was ordained for the Society on 17 June 1978 and he served in Cork Liberiafor two years before studying for a licentiate in Sacred Scripture at the Pontifical Biblical Institute in . From 1984 to 1989 Fr Kieran lectured in Scripture at the major seminary in Rome . Since 1990 he has served on the Irish and International Councils of the Society of African Missions. At the time of the announcement of his appointment as the next bishop for the Diocese of Killaloe Fr Kieran was serving his second term as Superior General of the Society. As a member of the Union of Superiors General Fr O’Reilly has attended and contributed to two Synods of Bishops in Ibadan, Nigeria . Rome
- At 2.30pm an Honour Guard will be provided for the Bishop-Elect by members of the Army Reserve under the command of Brigadier-General Paul Pakenham, General Officer Commanding 1 Southern Brigade.
- The ordination will be attended by Fr Kieran’s parents; Seán and Theresa O’Reilly; his brother Joseph; his sisters Therese and Deirdre and their families.
- During the ordination Fr Kieran will receive Pontifical Insignia that will include: a pectoral cross that was worn by Bishop Michael Peter McMahon OP who was Bishop of Killaloe from 1765 to 1807; the crozier (shepherd’s staff) was given to Bishop Michael Flannery in 1861 by the Director and Professors of the Catholic University of Ireland; the Episcopal Ring is a gift to the new Bishop from his parents.
- Fr Kieran’s vestments and Mitre were designed and made by Sr Gabrielle Murphy of the Poor Clare Community in Ennis and Maureen Sanders of the Killaloe Apostolic Work Society.
- Concelebrants at today’s Episcopal Ordination Mass will include members of the Irish Episcopal Conference, members of the Nigerian and Liberian Episcopal Conferences along with clergy from the Diocese of Killaloe and the Society of African Missions.
- Among those attending from other Christian traditions will be; Rt Rev Trevor Williams, Church of Ireland Bishop of Limerick and Killaloe and Rev Brian Griffin, Methodist District Superintendant.
- Civic representatives in attendance will include: Colonel Mick McMahon, Aide de Camp to President Mary McAleese; Commandant Michael Treacy, Aide de Camp to An Taoiseach, Mr Brian Cowen TD; the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr Micheál Martin TD; The Minister for Defence, Mr Tony Killeen TD, Mr Timmy Dooley TD along with other public representatives including local mayors from the diocese.
- The ordination ceremony will be streamed live on the Ennis Parish website: www.ennisparish.com at a link on the Homepage. Clare FM radio will also broadcast the ceremony live on 96.4FM and on its website www.clare.fm
- All photography inside the Cathedral will be pooled. No other photography is permitted inside the Cathedral.
- To access still photography contact Louise Brooks on +353 (0) 65 6821666 or [email protected] [pictures will be emailed].
- After the Ordination there will be photo opportunities in the Holy Family School Hall with the new bishop greeting the people.
- Having already given a press conference in June, Fr Kieran will not be available for individual interviews on the ordination day. Requests for interview at a future date should be directed to the Diocesan Communications Officer, Fr Brendan Quinlivan.
- Media wishing to gain access to Cathedral please contact Fr Brendan Quinlivan for registration.