Father Ray Browne is Ordained as Bishop of Kerry

21 Jul 2013

Father Ray Browne is Ordained as Bishop of Kerry at Saint Mary’s Cathedral       

Father Ray Browne was ordained today as Bishop of Kerry in Saint Mary’s Cathedral, Killarney. The ordination was attended by over 1,200 guests.  The principal ordaining bishop was Archbishop Dermot Clifford, Archbishop of Cashel and Emly, assisted by His Excellency the Apostolic Nuncio to Ireland, Archbishop Charles J Brown and Bishop William Murphy, Bishop of Kerry.  The ordination was concelebrated by His Eminence Cardinal Seán Brady, Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland. The Homily was preached by Father Séamus O’Connell, Professor of Sacred Scripture at Saint Patrick’s College, Maynooth. Please see below the address of Bishop Ray Browne at his Episcopal Ordination and the Homily of Rev Professor Séamus O’Connell:

Address of Bishop Ray Browne at his Episcopal Ordination

For the past two hours all twelve hundred of us have been like Martha’s sister Mary in the gospel gathered at the Lord’s feet, attentive to his presence, listening to him speak. The occasion has been my Ordination as Bishop of Kerry. Thank you to everyone for this afternoon. Thank you to so many people who have worked so hard since early May to prepare this afternoon’s Ordination ceremony. So many people were involved with preparations concerning both inside and outside the cathedral: liturgy, printing, choir, invitations, stewarding, car parking, catering. I thank especially Cardinal Brady, and Archbishop Brown the Papal Nuncio for being with us. I thank Bishop Murphy for his assistance, advice and support to me since our first contact in late April. I thank my family and Bishop Christy and the whole family of Elphin diocese. Especially I thank the people of the diocese of Kerry who have been so kind, welcoming and encouraging over the past months.  Without naming anyone, from the bottom of my heart I thank all who have made today possible. In the history books the following is written of St Brendan, the Patron Saint of our diocese :

‘In his journey to the country of Connaught Saint Brendan was accompanied by a younger brother Faithleach. When he had founded what was probably the first monastery in Connaught at Cloontuskert within the present county of Roscommon, among the exiled Ciarraige who had settled there, he left that foundation in charge of his brother Faithleach. The year in which the brothers Brendan and Faithleach arrived at Cloontuskert was approximately 520.’

I have been parish priest of the Parish of St Faithleach, for the past five years. St Faithleach is prominent there as his name is on the parish GAA club. Thus, almost fifteen hundred years after St Brendan, a priest from the parish of St Faithleach is chosen as Bishop of the diocese of St Brendan. With the eyes of faith can we see it in this a sign of the hand of God at work? It is a simple gesture that the Holy Water in the fonts in the Cathedral today is water from the parish well of St Faithleach on the shores of Lough Ree in County Roscommon. In welcoming everyone here today I welcome especially the parish representatives, and the religious and priests of the diocese, – of the fifty three parishes in counties Kerry and Cork. It is the lived vibrant faith of your home communities that gives meaning to our being here. The water in St Faithleach’s well is as fresh today as it was the day St Faithleach came ashore nearby. We can be confident the water will still be fresh in three generations time. The faith here in Kerry diocese is as fresh today as it was in St Brendan’s time. Ours is the sacred responsibility to ensure it is as fresh in three generations time. We are celebrating a ‘Year of Faith’. The boat in the ‘Year of Faith’ logo reminds us of the boat of St Brendan and his ocean journeys.  Hence our theme in the Ordination Booklet:

‘St Brendan navigated the seas, Ours to tend the home shores.’

The boat of St Brendan points to all the missionaries who have gone forth from our parishes in the past century, and also to the way so many of our emigrants have enriched their local parish wherever worldwide they made their homes. The missionary call to spread the Good News of the Gospel is always there. There is also the great task of tending with courage and confidence the faith of the home shores. I pray God’s blessing on all the parish communities of the diocese of Kerry. We are proud of the faith of past generations. Let us give of our best that with God’s grace future generations will be proud of us.

‘St Brendan navigated the seas, Ours to tend the home shores.’

The motto in the coat of arms of the diocese in the years ahead will be ‘love one another’ (John 15:12).  We are called to love one another as Christ loves each one of us. For a moment be mindful of all the love that is shown every moment of every day in all our communities. Our loved ones who have gone before us, what loving lives so many of them lived. We live in very difficult economic times. It is by no means certain that good times will soon return. In recent years how many people have got through their problems relying on the kindness and practical help of others, – family, extended family, neighbours and friends. If we are to give a chance to those in need will it mean that some who have plenty will make do with a little less? ‘Love one another’ is a down to earth call that can bear abundant fruit. It is natural that as we gather today we are full of the joys of life. However remember those in our communities who this day are struggling – be it with unemployment, or financial difficulties, or the reality of a recent tragedy, or some serious illness, or depression or addiction. Remember our young people who this year or in recent years have graduated from college. For so many of them a first job in their chosen career is just not available.    This day let us believe in our hearts that an important part of bringing light to such darkness is that we respond from  our hearts to the loving plea of Jesus, ‘Love one another’. In all we do, as Christians and as citizens, let us be gentle, kind, caring and giving, as Jesus was. This weekend young people are journeying from all over the world with Pope Francis to Rio de Janeiro for World Youth Day. Our hopes and prayers go with them. ‘Rejoice in the Lord always’ (Phil 4:4) is their theme. Let us go forth from this ceremony with the same words on our lips, ‘Rejoice in the Lord always’. In the words of Our Lady, ‘My soul glorifies the Lord, my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour’. Thank you all for gathering this day.

Homily of Rev Professor Séamus O’Connell at the Episcopal Ordination of Raymond Browne as Bishop of Kerry (pdf)

Notes to Editors:Background

  • On 2 May 2013, His Holiness Pope Francis appointed Father Ray A Browne, Parish Priest of Ballagh Parish, Co Roscommon, Diocese of Elphin as the new Bishop of Kerry.
  • The Diocese of Kerry has a Catholic population of over 144,000 people, comprising of 53 parishes and 111 churches. The Patron of the Diocese is Saint Brendan. The diocese includes County Kerry and part of County Cork see dioceseofkerry.ie
  • Details of Bishop-elect Ray Browne’s life and ministry are below:

Education Primary School: Saint Paul’s Mercy Convent School and Dean Kelly National School, both in Athlone, Co Westmeath. Secondary School: Summerhill College, Sligo from 1969 – 1974. Third Level: Seminary Student for Elphin Diocese from 1974 – 1982 University College Cork, BSc 1978 Saint Patrick’s College, Maynooth BD 1981 Gregorian University Rome Licence in Canon Law 1983 Ministry Ordained on Sunday 4 July 1982 in the Church of Saints Peter and Paul, Athlone. Spiritual Director at Summerhill College from October 1983 – June 1986 Parish Curate in Roscommon Town from September 1986 – July 1988 Galway Marriage Regional Tribunal: Staff Member from July 1988 – July 1995 Judicial Vicar from October 2002 – July 2008 Parish Curate in Saint Mary’s (Cathedral Parish), Sligo from 1995 – 2002 Parish Priest of Ballagh Parish, Co Roscommon from August 2008 – 2013. Diocesan Designated Person for Safeguarding Children since August 2008.

  • The Ordination was broadcast live on Radio Kerry, with commentary by Fr Pat Moore a class-mate of Bishop Browne.
  • A copy of the Booklet for the Episcopal Ordination of Ray Browne, including crest and motto is available on the Kerry Dioceses website: www.dioceseofkerry.ie.
  • Valerie O’Sullivan has been retained by the diocese as the official photographer for the ceremony.  If photographs are required please contact Valerie directly on: 00 353 (0) 87 2629375 or e-mail [email protected].
  • The Ordination ceremony was streamed live on dioceseofkerry.ie.

For media contact: Mary Fagan, Director of Communications for the Diocese of Kerry 00 353 (0) 87 1301555