Bishop John Kirby’s remarks at Mass for the Episcopal Ordination of Bishop-elect Michael Duignan as Bishop of Clonfert

13 Oct 2019

Saint Brendan’s Cathedral, Loughrea, Co Galway

Introductory Remarks

Good Afternoon and welcome to Saint Brendan’s Cathedral for the Episcopal Ordination of Father Michael Duignan.  The appointment of a new bishop is a significant event for any diocese, and so this is a very big day for Clonfert and we are delighted to celebrate the occasion.  Moladh go deo le Dia!

I welcome you all as you gather to share in our joy and to pray for Michael as he undertakes this new role.  In particular, I welcome Cardinal Seán Brady who will preside at this ordination ceremony.  Cardinal Brady and I are near contemporaries in our student lives.   He previously visited Ballinasloe for the 150th anniversary of the opening of Saint Michael Church.   Thank you for honouring us with your presence today.

I welcome Archbishop Eamon Martin, Primate of All Ireland.  We are delighted that you were able to come to Clonfert despite your heavy work-load and the very many pressures on your time.  Míle buíochas duit.

I welcome His Excellency Archbishop Jude Thaddeus Okolo, Apostolic Nuncio to Ireland.   I thank you for your work in organising this appointment of Father Duignan as our new bishop and for your role as co-consecrator today.

I welcome Archbishop Michael Neary of Tuam with whom I have worked for many years.   I thank him for his attendance and for being a co-consecrator.

Welcome to Bishop Charles Hammawa from Jalingo Diocese, Nigeria.  For the past four years, Bishop Charles has helped Clonfert Diocese, sending initially two priests and now three priests from Jalingo to minister in Clonfert.  Their help has been very significant, as our own number of priests has declined.

Welcome to Bishop Cesare di Pietro, Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Messina-Lipari-Santa Lucia del Mela in Sicily, Italy. He is a friend of our new bishop–to-be, Michael Duignan.

I welcome the large number of resident bishops and retired bishops who have graced us by their presence.   I am delighted to welcome each of you and I thank you for making the journey.  Some other bishops were unable to come because of their previous decision to attend the canonisation of Saint John Henry Newman which took place in Rome earlier today.

I welcome the priests of Clonfert Diocese on whom Father Michael will depend and with whom he will work closely in the years ahead, and I welcome the priests from the Carmelite and Redemptorist Communities in the diocese.  I welcome too the other priests present from Elphin diocese and elsewhere.  I welcome the religious sisters from the diocese representing the Mercy, Franciscan and Carmelite communities.

This must be a proud day for Mrs Mona Duignan.   To be the mother of a priest was always valued here in Ireland.  To be present for her son’s Episcopal Ordination is surely a significant event for her.  We wish her good health and God’s blessings as she celebrates this day.  You are most welcome.

We welcome too, Michael’s five siblings: his sisters, Ursula, Anne Marie, Paula and Joanne and his brother Francis as well as their spouses and children.  There is clearly strong support for Father Michael as he takes up his new responsibilities.

I am delighted to welcome three public representatives: our local TD’s from Clonfert Diocese, Minister Ciaran Cannon and Deputy Anne Rabbitte and the Cathaoirleach of Galway County Council, Councillor Jimmy McClearn and the Cathaoirleach of the Loughrea Municipal District, Councillor Pat Hynes.  I am delighted that you made the time available.   I welcome Superintendent Damien Flanagan of An Garda Síochána.  He will ensure that the ceremony takes place with due decorum!

Finally and gratefully, I welcome the representatives from the parishes of Clonfert Diocese and those representing various diocesan groups and committees who have come here to be part of the ordination of your new bishop.  At the Chrism Mass each year, I as bishop accepted the Renewal of Priestly Commitment from the priests of the diocese.   Today, I assure Michael Duignan of my continuing commitment as a priest of Clonfert Diocese and of my loyalty to him as our new bishop.


  • Bishop John Kirby is Bishop Emeritus of the Diocese of Clonfert

For media contact: Catholic Communications Office Maynooth, Martin Long +353 (0) 86 172 7678