Welcoming remarks of Chief Celebrant Bishop Christopher Jones, Bishop of Elphin,
10.00am Mass in Saint Cuan’s Church, Parish of Ahascragh and Caltra, Co Galway
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
We are all truly delighted to welcome Father Kevin Reynolds back home to the parish of Ahascragh today. We welcome also Father Anthony Chantry, the Superior General of the Mill Hill Community from London and also Father Michael Corcoran, Regional Representative of the Mill Hill Missionaries in Ireland, who both accompany Father Kevin today.
When I offered Mass with you and for you on Saturday evening 28 May last, I appealed for prayers that all investigations would be carried out quickly so that the truth regarding the allegations which RTÉ had broadcast about Father Kevin might be ascertained. RTÉ has now accepted that all of the allegations which it broadcast against Father Kevin are baseless and without any foundation whatever, and that Father Kevin is entirely innocent.
We were all shocked and saddened as we watched RTÉ Prime Time Investigates on Monday 23 May last. We were shocked not only by the allegations that were made against Father Kevin but also by the manner in which they were made.
Father Kevin responded to the attack on his integrity with great courage, strength and resilience. Father Kevin has carried his cross with great dignity. He willingly stepped aside from ministry and never expressed anger or impatience of any kind. I believe that his own deep faith and spirituality have been his greatest source of courage and consolation through this most dreadful experience of his life.
Today we pray that Father Kevin will continue to enjoy peace of mind and heart as he resumes his ministry among us. We pray that through the power of the Holy Spirit his family will experience healing in their hearts. We pray for the Mill Hill Community and for the people of this parish that together we can all face the future with courage and hope.
I wish to remember again today those who have suffered through child sexual abuse. Occasions such as this are a disservice to the validated experiences of so many. I reiterate the commitment of our diocese to the safeguarding of children. With the support of the many trained parish-based lay volunteer and priests, the National office for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church, and in partnership with An Garda Síochána and the Health Service Executive, the Diocese of Elphin is committed in its focus and responsibility to protect and value children wherever they are in our Church.
Finally, Father Kevin, I wish to assure you that all the priests of the diocese were deeply concerned and indeed hurt by what you have endured and are delighted to see you back among us once more. A very sincere thanks to all the priests who helped out so willingly in the parish during your absence.
God bless you in your ministry,
Bishop of Elphin
Catholic Communications Office Maynooth: Martin Long 00353 (0) 86 172 7678