Media information for the Episcopal Ordination of Bishop-elect Martin Hayes as Bishop of Kilmore

20 Sep 2020


  • Introduction
  • Liturgy
  • Address by Bishop Martin Hayes
  • Overview of the Rite of Ordination
  • Background: Episcopal Crest & Motto and the Diocese of Kilmore.

The Episcopal Ordination Mass for Bishop-elect Martin Hayes will take place today at 3.00pm in the Cathedral of Saint Patrick & Saint Felim, Cavan, Diocese of Kilmore.  The Primate of All Ireland, Archbishop Eamon Martin of Armagh, will be the Principal Consecrator and will preach the homily. His Excellency Archbishop Jude Thaddeus Okolo, Apostolic Nuncio to Ireland, with Archbishop Kieran O’Reilly SMA, will be the co-consecrators for this Episcopal Ordination.

First Reading – read by Emma Hayes

A Reading from the prophet Isaiah. (55:6-9)

Seek the Lord while he may be found,

call upon him while he is near; let the wicked forsake their way,

and the unrighteous their thoughts;

let them return to the Lord, that he may have mercy on them,

and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.

For my thoughts are not your thoughts,

nor are your ways my ways, says the Lord.

For as the heavens are higher than the earth,

so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.

The Word of the Lord.

Second Reading – read by Irene Thomas
A Reading from the Letter of St Paul to the Philippians (1: 20-4, 27)

Christ will be glorified in my body, whether by my life or by my death. Life to me, of course, is Christ, but then death would bring me something more; but then again, if living in this body means doing work which is having good results – I do not know what I should choose. I am caught in this dilemma: I want to be gone and to be with Christ, which would be very much the better, but for me to stay alive in this body is a more urgent need for your sake. Avoid anything in your everyday lives that would be unworthy of the gospel of Christ.

The Word of the Lord.

Gospel – proclaimed by Rev Thomas Small
A Reading from the holy Gospel according to Matthew (20: 1-16)

Jesus said to his disciples: ‘The kingdom of heaven is like a landowner going out at daybreak to hire workers for his vineyard. He made an agreement with the workers for one denarius a day, and sent them to his vineyard. Going out about the third hour he saw others standing idle in the market-place and said to them “You go to my vineyard too and I will give you a fair wage.” So they went. At about the sixth hour and again at about the ninth hour, he went out and did the same. Then at about the eleventh hour he went out and found more men standing round, and he said to them “Why have you been standing here idle all day? “ “Because no one has hired us” they answered. He said to them “You go into my vineyard too” In the evening, the owner of the vineyard said to his bailiff: “Call the workers and pay them their wages, starting with the last arrival and ending with the first.” So those wo were hired at about the eleventh hour came forward and received one denarius each. When the first came, they expected to get more, but they too received one denarius each. They took it but grumbled at the landowner. “The men who came last” they said “have done only one hour, and you have treated them the same way as us, though we have done a heavy day’s work in all the heat.” He answered one of them and said, “My friend, I am not being unjust to you. Did we not agree on one denarius? Take your earnings and go. I choose to pay the last-comer as much as I pay you. Have I no right to do what I like with my own? Whey be envious because I am generous?” Thus the last will be first and the first will be last.’

The Gospel of the Lord.

Homily preached by Archbishop Eamon Martin
See subsequent press release

Address by Bishop Martin Hayes on the occasion of his Episcopal Ordination as Bishop of Kilmore
I begin by saying thanks to you all for your participation in our liturgy, those who are physically present and all of you who are with us online via our webcam.  I include my family, relations, friends, and the people from around Ireland and the globe – England, Scotland, Holland, Germany, the USA and Australia and, in particular, those from Kilmore and Cashel & Emly.  Thank you for being with us and for being with me on my journey.

I appreciate, in particular, all who have prepared for and participated in our liturgy this afternoon:

–          Archbishop Eamon Martin who has led our ceremony and I thank you for preaching the homily;

–          His Excellency, Archbishop Jude Thaddeus Okolo, Apostolic Nuncio to Ireland, representing Pope Francis – I am grateful for your presence here with us and your kindness over the past few months,

–          Archbishop Kieran O’Reilly, for your inspiring support always and as you represent my priest colleagues and people of Cashel & Emly with whom I have shared 31 good years of ministry;

–          I thank the ‘Kilmore bishops’ for their presence, Cardinal Sean Brady, Bishops Francis Duffy, Michael Router and Bishop Emeritus Leo O’Reilly.  I thank you Bishop Leo, especially, for your welcome, kindly ongoing support and I wish you good health and contentment in your retirement.

–          I am delighted to have a representative group of priests from Kilmore, Cashel & Emly, Limerick and Sacramento together with my immediate family, the Hayes’s of Newhill.

–          I would like to acknowledge the hard-working planning group who have been meeting throughout the summer months and led by Monsignor Liam Kelly.  I would like to thank you Liam for your tremendous dedication to Kilmore diocese and for your time given generously to ensure a smooth transition as I take up my new responsibilities.  

–          I thank the Cathedral personnel led by Father Kevin Fay, Administrator, the staff and the volunteers here at Cavan Cathedral for their attention to detail in all the preparations for today’s ceremony; those who provided a welcome, our choir, readers, our liturgical dancers and sacristy personnel.  A special word for Deacon Thomas Small who will be ordained to the priesthood on next Sunday in Belturbet;

–          Our communications/commentary personnel have grafted diligently so as to ensure that everyone could participate in our celebration today – I say well done and I say thank you as well to our local media and to the Catholic Communications Office, to our stewards and all who are helping to keep us safe in these COVID-19 times.

Yes, once again, we say, ‘these are strange times’!  We have had to change our plans – I had hoped to have all the cousins, friends, and parishioners of Kilmore here – and now, in caring for everyone’s health, we are reaching out to you online.  In fact, we are connecting with more people as we celebrate our bonds with family, friends, and parishioners at home.  I am delighted to have almost all my immediate family here, thinking of you Michael and Darragh in Holland and Germany – we know you are with us in spirit and online.  It is great to have Stella, Agnes, John, Donal, Kieran, their families and Michael’s family with me today.  Home is where I was shaped and formed in Newhill/Borris, Two-Mile-Borris in Co Tipperary and of course, I remember my parents, Dan and Mary Agnes, my late sister Mary, brother-in-law, Donal, Auntie Dakie/Sister Annunciata in a special way today and all our Faithful Departed.  We remember those who have died due to COVID-19, all the bereaved and all who are sick at this time.  In these difficult times, we find ourselves at ‘home’ – ‘appreciating even more where we have come from’ – home being ‘the domestic Church’.

Of course, COVID-19 is a world-wide phenomenon, we are all in the same situation, struggling to contain the virus and so there is a sense of solidarity in keeping each other safe – we are in this together, learning from each other, though struggling to find a ‘new normal’. 

In truth we are all in a time of transition; our old order has not just been disturbed, we have been thrown into chaos, there is no going back to the old order and so we are in disorder.  Yes, we are having conversations, discussions, formulating plans and roadmaps, changing them, rewriting them, floundering, coming up with new plans – we are realising that we are not totally in charge of our own destiny.  

The chaos brought about by COVID-19 has affected all our plans, my plans, yet I have been hearing a voice saying, ‘it will all work out’

There have been times that I asked, does that voice know what it is saying?  Indeed, as I reflect upon how my life has changed in the past few months, I have asked myself do I know what is ahead?  The answer is ‘No’!  Is it going to work out for me, for us?  Yes.  It is a process.  Where are we going?  I am not sure.  We are at a crossroads, a crossroads – we have been called to reflect upon life, our priorities and we have had to make decisions.  We are awaiting and entering a time of reorder in our world, as the people of planet Earth – our Common Home, as referred to by Pope Francis in Laudato Si’ and celebrated during September, the Church`s annual `Month of Creation`.  We go forward into the unknown, into this disorder or liminal space trusting in the Cross of Jesus Christ, the same Jesus Christ who has been with us from the beginning and who came among us to be with us, as one of us, in response to God’s love for all of us. 

On the local level here in Kilmore I have received a great welcome and I know that I am among a people of faith and friendship in our parishes in the counties of Cavan, Leitrim, Fermanagh, Sligo and Meath.  I want to assure my family and friends that while Kilmore may be a little further up the road, indeed, the weather may be a little colder – actually, one lady in Tipp told me to bring an extra layered jumper – however, I am assured of warm hearts in the welcome that I have already received.  I have been nurtured in Newhill, grown up in the wider family of Cashel & Emly and now I arrive in the family of Kilmore as Chief Shepherd conscious that I need your support and prayers.

God loves us first; it is not a case of us trying to love God or earn God’s love.  God loves us through the wonder of all creation, from the moment of our conception, in the love of family and friends and we can be assured, in accord with my chosen motto that ‘Good Lord’, “your steadfast love endures” (Ps. 136:6).  The love of God is a constant within the depths of each one of us amid all that is happening around us; it is that spark of the Divine that is within each of us, that voice that says ‘all will be well’ (Julian of Norwich).  After all, each one of us is ‘made in the image and likeness of God’ (Genesis 1:27).  Thomas Merton speaks of, “the gift of my Creator’s Thought and Art within me” (in his poem Hagia Sophia) and alerts us to seeing God in the stars at night and in the light within each person we meet. 

We are on a journey together, a pilgrim people, sustained by Jesus Christ in the Eucharist: we need to continue to meet in faith, to encourage each other, to hear God’s Word, to have  conversations about that Word and to be nourished by Jesus who gave of Himself completely for us.   Yes, COVID-19 presents challenges and obstacles for all of us here in getting out to meet each other to celebrate our faith in the diocese of Kilmore.  It is my intention to get out among you in our parish communities and I look forward to finding my feet among you.  I know of the tradition of faith rooted in the scriptures and expressed in the pastoral planning as promoted by my predecessor Bishop Emeritus Leo O’Reilly will provide the foundation for whatever happens as we remember to depend absolutely upon God’s loving presence among us. 

Finally, we are loved by God, sustained by Jesus in the Eucharist and inspired by the Holy Spirit as a pilgrim people on a journey together, called to listen to each other, to draw upon the gifts of each other and to celebrate our place in and responsibility for God’s creation.

I thank you once again for your prayers and kindness to me, particularly, over the past few months, the cards, the texts, messages, and calls.  Your support has been tremendous, your excitement and joy uplifting – ye’re absolutely mighty!  Now we move to pray the blessings of the Almighty upon ourselves.                                                                                                                                                                                          

The Rite of Ordination – an overview 
The Rite of Ordination constitutes the new bishop into the episcopal body – the successors of the apostles – and signifies the communion of the local bishop with the Bishop of Rome, and under his authority as the successor of Saint Peter. It also signifies his unity with his fellow bishops ‘in a college or body with respect to the universal Church of God.’ (Vatican II).

Presentation and Mandate:
Following the proclamation of the Gospel, the bishop-elect is presented for ordination on behalf of the Church of Kilmore.

The Apostolic Mandate from Pope Francis is then read, appointing Father Martin Hayes as bishop and mandating his ordination. This is followed by the consent of the people. In this way the unity of the local and the universal Church is affirmed. 

Laying on of Hands and Prayer of Consecration:
This is the heart of the Rite of Ordination. These ancient words and gestures signify the giving of an office in the Church. The laying on of hands expresses the invocation of the Holy Spirit upon the new bishop. It is through the Spirit that he is empowered to teach, sanctify and exercise pastoral governance in the Church. All of the concelebrating bishops participate in this to signify his reception into the college of bishops, while everyone prays silently. Then an open Book of the Gospels is placed over the head of the new bishop until the prayer of consecration of completed. From this point onwards, he is a bishop.

The pouring of Holy Chrism upon Bishop Martin, who was first anointed at baptism, symbolises his particular participation in the high priesthood of Christ and his anointing today in the Holy Spirit.

Book of the Gospels:
The presentation of the Book of the Gospels highlights Bishop Martin’s role in proclaiming the Word of God to the people of the diocese, announcing Christ with courage and defending the faith against error. He is also tasked with reaching out with God’s Word to people who do not believe in Christ. 

Investiture with Ring, Mitre and Crozier:
These are symbols of a bishop’s ministry. In particular, the ring represents his nuptial bond with the Church while the crozier or pastoral staff illustrates his pastoral ministry as ‘shepherd of the flock’. Bishop Martin’s ring recognises the marriage of his parents, Daniel and Mary Agnes, as it is made from the ring worn by his mother. The mitre was made by Sr Gabrielle, Poor Clare monastery in Ennis, Co. Clare. The mitre design is based on Bishop Martin’s priestly ordination vestments which were made by Sr Nellie Ryan, RSM, Cashel in 1989. Bishop Martin’s crozier or pastoral staff is made of different woods, each of which has particular significance for him. He has commissioned, Joey Burns, of to construct the pastoral staff consisting of four different timbers:- bog oak from the native parish of his mother, Mary Agnes (nee Bowe) Rathdowney-Errill in Ossory diocese; ash from his own birthplace in Borris, Two-Mile-Borris, Thurles, Co. Tipperary; sycamore from a tree planted by Bishop William Bedell in 1632 which still stands at Kilmore beside where the pre-Reformation Catholic cathedral of Saint Feidhlimidh was located and adjacent to the present-day Church of Ireland Saint Feidhlimidh’s cathedral. The pastoral staff is engraved with Celtic Christian symbols and features inserts of yew from the lands of Saint Oliver Plunkett in Loughcrew, Oldcastle, Co. Meath. 

Seating of the Bishop on the Cathedra:
The new bishop takes his place on the Cathedra or bishop’s chair. This represents the bishop’s authority to teach as a successor of the Apostles.

Sign of Peace
At the Cathedra, Bishop Martin exchanges the Sign of Peace with members of the College of Bishops, demonstrating his communion with them and the communion of the Church of Kilmore with the universal Church.                                                

Episcopal Crest & Motto of the new bishop
Following a custom dating from the mid-twelfth century, most bishops adopt a crest or coat-of-arms. The bishop chooses elements that hold personal meaning for him in relation to his ministry, and these are combined in a display on a shield. Heraldic tradition places a stylised hat called a galero above the shield, shown in green, with six tassels on either side, and behind the shield a processional cross.

Bishop Martin’s crest has two sections and two background colours. On the left is a representation of the Kilmore crest with Jerusalem Cross, Pastoral Staff and Mitre. On the right is Bishop Martin’s personal expression of how we as a pilgrim people (Camino Shell) are anchored in our faith in being invited to be part of the relationship of the Trinity (Shamrock) through the Eucharist (Grain and the Grapes).

As his motto, displayed below the shield, Bishop Martin has chosen ‘Your steadfast love endures’ (Ps 136:6) to indicate that God’s love is paramount. God’s love is evident from the moment of creation, estimated by cosmologists to be some 13.8 billion years ago, leading to the formation of stars, the galaxies, our solar system to include the Earth, the beginning of plant life, animal life and human life. Each one of us is ‘made in the image and likeness of God’ (Genesis 1:27) and each one of us is called to respond to God’s love in our loving of each other and our caring for all of life.

Information on the Diocese of Kilmore
The Diocese of Kilmore includes almost all of County Cavan and a portion of Counties Leitrim, Fermanagh, Meath and Sligo.  The diocese has a Catholic population of about 69,000 people, served by 51 priests, who minister in 34 parishes comprising 95 churches.  The patrons of the diocese are Saint Patrick, who is celebrated on 17 March, and Saint Felim on 9 August.  Since Aedh Ua Finn in 1135, Bishop Hayes is the 49th Bishop of Kilmore. See

The music for today’s liturgy is led by representatives from the Cathedral Choir, under the direction of Thomas Hanley, and the Cathedral parish youth choir.

Organist: Thomas Hanley


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