Diocese of Limerick welcomes announcement of its new Bishop
The Diocese of Limerick has today welcomed its Bishop Elect Father Brendan Leahy after his appointment by the Holy See.
Father Leahy, who will take up his appointment in the spring, was announced as the incoming Bishop of Limerick by Diocesan Administrator Father Tony Mullins on the steps of Saint John’s Cathedral at 11a.m. today to coincide with the announcement in Rome by His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI at midday (local time). Also present for the announcement was Apostolic Nuncio, His Excellency Charles Brown along with a number of priests of the Diocese.
Father Leahy will succeed Bishop Donal Murray, who retired as Bishop in December 2009. Father Mullins has for the past three years served as Diocesan Administrator.
Addressing the gathering at Saint John’s Cathedral, Father Mullins said that Father Leahy’s appointment “as our Bishop and Shepherd” comes at a time of great challenge in the Diocese but also one of great opportunity. “The Church, including our own Diocese, has been going through one of its most difficult periods but I believe Father Leahy’s appointment comes at a real turning point. We have worked hard to build confidence amongst the faithful and Father Leahy’s appointment will enhance the trust, renewal and sense of leadership in the Church, all of which is gravely needed in the times we live in today,” said Father Mullins.
Addressing parishioners who flocked to Saint John’s Cathedral after getting word at Masses across the city of the impending announcement, Father Leahy said he was humbled by his appointment.
“Being appointed Bishop of Limerick is certainly not something I foresaw as part of my life’s journey, but I am very grateful to Pope Benedict for opening up for me a new stage in life among the people and places of the historical and renowned diocese of Limerick. I am pleased to be a successor to Bishop Donal Murray whom I very warmly greet. I look forward very much to getting to know the people of this diocese, especially young people,” he said.
“Confidence comes certainly not from me. I am only too conscious of the contrast between who I am and the task ahead of me. But I recognise that the Church is first and foremost based on a promise that does not deceive: Jesus’ promise: “remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Mt 28: 20).
“I want to express heartfelt thanks to His Excellency, Archbishop Charles Brown, who has accompanied me gently but convincingly in the past week since he informed me of Pope Benedict’s decision. I thank him for honouring us with his presence among us this morning.”
Father Leahy, who also paid tribute to Father Mullins for his invaluable contribution over the past three years and the warm welcome he has extended him, noted that despite the challenges ahead, the new beginning already underway in the diocese will lead to a Church Jesus Christ intended for us.
“That the Church is going through a period of great transition is not new news and yet it is good news……. Yes, we have been through a very dark moment but God is not absent. We must do all we can to make sure that Church settings are always good places to be, where genuine mutual love is experienced. In this regard I am pleased to recognise the observation by the recent Audit by the National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church in Ireland that the diocese has robust measures in place in the area of child safeguarding and protection.
“The day a new bishop is announced in a diocese is an opportunity for the person concerned but perhaps also for the whole diocese to ‘begin again’ in faith, hope and love. As long as my heart beats I have a chance to begin again to believe more, to hope more, to love more. It’s an invitation that comes to us all on this day – perhaps we can start again in our relationship with the Church and with one another as fellow sisters and brothers of the one People of God.
“An occasion such as this affords me the opportunity to offer a word of gratitude to our legislators for all their commitment to promoting the common good. Politics is a vocation and I am convinced most people enter politics with a vision and a desire to improve the world. I want to assure them of prayers at this delicate time for the protection of life, that they may be inspired to know how best to protect the lives of mothers and their unborn children.
“I thank all of you who are here present today. Being together is important. I greet and thank the many very committed lay men, women, young and old of this diocese, the exemplary men and women of religious congregations, orders and communities and especially the priests of this diocese whose fidelity and hard work I admire and with whom I look forward very much to working together. The communion in Christ of all of us together is what gives us strength.
“In particular I greet people who feel they are hanging on in the Church by their finger tips and all who are struggling with their faith. I invite you not to give up. This is a Year of Faith. It can be a new start for us all.”
Welcoming the appointment of Father Leahy as his successor, Bishop Murray said: “I greatly welcome the Holy Father’s appointment of Father Brendan Leahy as Bishop of Limerick. I am sure that he undertakes his new ministry with some trepidation, but he will bring many gifts and wide experience to the task he now undertakes. He has a pastoral outlook; he has a fine theological mind; he has long been involved in third level Catholic education; he has been deeply involved in work for Christian unity.
“I am confident that he will receive the same warm welcome, the wholehearted cooperation and the friendship of the priests, religious and people of the diocese that I received on my arrival in the diocese and during the years that I was privileged to serve as bishop.”
Rev Brendan Leahy: Rev Brendan Leahy is Professor of Systematic Theology at Saint Patrick’s College, Maynooth, and author of numerous publications. A von Balthasar scholar, he is involved in ecumenical and interreligious dialogue.
Priest of the Diocese of Dublin, ordained in 1986. Undergraduate studies in University College Dublin (1977-1980), Mater Dei Institute of Education, Dublin (1980-1981), Clonliffe College, Dublin (1980-1983) and the Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome (1983-1986). Professional studies at King’s Inns, Dublin (1981-83). Graduate studies at the Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome (1983-1991). Curate in Clonskeagh parish (1991-1992), member of the staff of Holy Cross Seminary (1992-1999) and Mater Dei Institute of Education (1992-2006); member of college of consultors of Dublin diocese (1998-2004); parish chaplain in Lusk, Dublin (1999-2004); registrar of Mater Dei Institute (2004-2006); confessional lecturer at Irish School of Ecumenics (1999–present). Secretary of the Advisory Committee on Ecumenism of the Irish Bishops’ Conference (1999–2010); member of Inter-Church Meeting (1999- present) and of Three Faiths Forum of Ireland (1999–present); chairman of Dublin diocesan ecumenical committee in Dublin diocese (1999–present); member of ITA (2005- present); corresponding member of the Pontifical Theology Academy (2004- present); Co-chair of the Theology Forum of the Irish Inter-Church Meeting (2010-) (www.irishchurches.org); Visiting lecturer at the Sophia University Institute, Loppiano, Flornence (www.iu-sophia.org).
- Ecumenical Dialogue with particular reference to Ecclesiology.
- Ecclesiology with particular reference to the Marian Principle in the Church
- New Ecclesial Movements – Ecclesiological Perspectives
- Theology of Priesthood in the light of Vatican II’s ecclesiology
- The Marian Principle in the Church in the light of Bulgakov’s Sophiology
- The Marian Principle and Inter-Religious Dialogue
For media contact: Catholic Communications Office Maynooth: Martin Long 00353 (0) 86 172 7678