Updated Media information for the Installation of Bishop Michael Duignan as the new Bishop of Galway, Kilmacduagh and Apostolic Administrator of Kilfenora

29 Apr 2022

You, or a representative, are invited to attend the celebration of Mass during which Bishop Michael Duignan will be installed as the next Bishop of Galway and Kilmacduagh and the Apostolic Administrator of Kilfenora while continuing to minister as Bishop of Clonfert.  Details:

Date and Time           The Third Sunday of Easter, 1 May 2022 at 3.00pm

Venue                         Cathedral of Our Lady Assumed into Heaven and Saint Nicholas, Galway, H91A780


At 2.00pm on Sunday, Mr Martin Long of the Catholic Communications Office, will be available to brief attending journalists at the dedicated Cathedral Media Centre in the Sacristy area, ground floor, Galway Cathedral. Information including the Mass booklet, the homily preached by Bishop Duignan and related information on the diocese will be available there.  Refreshments and internet access will be available.


The official photographer is Mr Sean Feeney who can be contacted on +353 (0) 86 0440595 or by email on [email protected].  Photographs will be made available to the media by contacting Sean directly.

Live Streaming

The Mass will be livestreamed on https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tw01lTOvVl4

Vigil of Prayer – everyone welcome

Tomorrow, Saturday 30 April, on the eve of the Installation, there will be a Vigil of Prayer in thanksgiving for the ministry of Bishop Brendan Kelly who now retires and praying blessings upon Bishop Michael Duignan.  This will take place in the Church of the Immaculate Conception, Oranmore, Co Galway H91XC61, from 8.30pm – 9.30pm.  The vigil will led by Ms Cilla Farrell.  Bishop Kelly and Bishop Duignan will be in attendance.  While the vigil will have a particular youth focus, everyone is welcome to join at any time

Mass for the Third Sunday of Easter and Installation

Since Bishop Michael Duignan is already a bishop, he will be installed rather than ordained.  This installation liturgy will take place during Mass for the Third Sunday of Easter.  The principal celebrant and homilist will be Bishop Duignan.  His Excellency, Archbishop Jude Thaddeus Okolo, Papal Nuncio to Ireland, and Bishop Brendan Kelly, will be the principal concelebrants.

Bishop Martin Drennan, bishop emeritus of Galway and Bishop John Kirby, bishop emeritus of Clonfert, will be in attendance.  They will be joined by Archbishop Eamon Martin, Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland: Archbishop Dermot Farrell, Archbishop Kieran O’Reilly SMA; Archbishop Michael Crotty, Papal Nuncio to Burkina Faso and Niger; Bishops of the Western Province including Archbishop Emeritus Michael Neary and other Bishops along with Priests from the Diocese of Galway, Kilmacduagh and Kilfenora and of the Diocese of Clonfert.  His Eminence Seán Cardinal Brady will also be in attendance.  Deacon Frank McGuinness and Deacon David Muldowney will minister as deacons during the liturgy.  The Master of Ceremonies is Father John Gerard Acton CC.

Every parish in the Diocese of Galway, Kilmacduagh and Kilfenora and in the Diocese of Clonfert will have representatives present.  There will also be representatives from Catholic schools in both dioceses and from various new movements, diocesan bodies and organisations.

Representatives of the Church of Ireland, Methodist and Presbyterian communities will be present.  The Galway Islamic community will be represented along with representatives from other faith traditions.

The Liturgy

Music will be provided by Galway Cathedral Choir under the Direction of Cathedral Organist and Musical Director, Mr Ray O’Donnell.  They will be joined by members of the Loughrea Cathedral Choir under the Direction of Ms Elizabeth Keane.  Uilleann Pipes will be played by Mr Michael Vignoles.  Mr Paul Keogh (Elation Ministries) will lead the congregation in a post communion reflection.

At the beginning of the Liturgy, Bishop Michael will be greeted at the west door of the Cathedral by Monsignor Peter Rabbitte, Parish Priest of the Cathedral; Dean Michael McLoughlin and the Diocesan Chapter and Ms Norita Forde along with representatives from the Diocesan Deaneries.  Bishop Brendan Kelly will deliver the Words of Welcome.

The Apostolic Letter of Appointment from Pope Francis will be presented by Dean Michael Mc Loughlin and read by the Diocesan Chancellor Canon Ian O’Neill.  As an expression of apostolic succession from one bishop to another, Bishop Brendan Kelly will invite Bishop Duignan to take his place at the chair.  After which he will entrust Bishop Duignan with the book of the Gospels with the assistance of Deacon Frank McGuinness.

Ms Louise Rooney a member of the Diocesan Synodal Pathway Committee will present the Crozier as a sign of the bishop’s role as shepherd walking, dialoguing, and discerning the voice of the Lord along with the priests and people of the Diocese.  The Crozier will then be entrusted to Bishop Duignan by Bishop Kelly.  The Crozier presented is the same crozier used at Bishop Michael’s Confirmation in 1982, at his Ordination as a Priest in 1994 and at his Episcopal Ordination in 2019.

After the presentation of the Crozier, Bishop Michael will be greeted by bishops present, representatives of priests of the Diocese of Galway, representatives of people from each of the deaneries of the Diocese, religious women and men, representatives from other Christian Churches and other faith traditions along with members of the recently arrived Ukrainian Community and other members of the congregation.

For Catholics, May is a special month of devotion to Our Lady.  After Holy Communion, Bishop Michael will spend some time in prayer before the Image of Our Lady Comforter of the Afflicted which has been brought from the Cathedral of Saint Brendan in Loughrea.  The original of this image hangs in the Cathedral of the Diocese of Győr in Hungary.  It was brought there during penal times by Walter Lynch who was a Priest of Galway Diocese and later Bishop of Clonfert. On Saint Patrick’s Day in 1697, it is said to have shed tears of blood.  At this time all present are invited to place the Diocese of Galway, Kilmacduagh, and Kilfenora and the Diocese of Clonfert under Our Lady’s care.

Notes for Editors

  • On 11 February 2022, His Holiness Pope Francis appointed Bishop Michael Duignan, Bishop of Clonfert, to minister simultaneously as Bishop of Galway, Kilmacduagh and Apostolic Administrator of Kilfenora.  The two Dioceses concerned (Galway and Clonfert), united in persona episcopi, pastorally administered by the one Bishop, will retain their respective rights, obligations and juridical autonomy.  This is a first for the Catholic Church in Ireland.
  • The Diocese of Galway, Kilmacduagh and Kilfenora includes portions of counties Galway, Mayo and Clare.
  • The Diocese of Clonfert includes portions of counties Galway, Offaly and Roscommon.
  • Two Dioceses – One Bishop

The Latin term in persona episcopi literally means “in the person of the bishop” and is used by the Catholic Church to designate the union of two or more dioceses, under one bishop.  In fact, the determining factor in this case is that both dioceses are pastorally governed by a sole bishop.  The diocesan structures and institutions (cathedral churches, cathedral chapters, curial offices and officials, college of consultors, presbyteral council, diocesan pastoral councils, etc), diocesan goods (lands, bank accounts, cultural properties, etc) and juridical competences in Canon Law and Civil Law (trusteeship, charities, etc) of each of the respective dioceses are left unaltered.

In other words, the only change is that, instead of each diocese having its own respective bishop, one sole bishop exercises the pastoral governance of both dioceses equally, according to the spiritual and pastoral needs of the one and the other.

Each diocese maintains its identity and handles its own cultural heritage as it deems fit.  Each keeps its own personnel or can share with other dioceses; priests will not normally be asked to minister beyond their own diocese unless by a special request or mandate.  Each diocese will handle its financial administration independently and will make its own pastoral decisions as usual.  Of course, the mutual cooperation between both dioceses, as has been hitherto the case, is not excluded.  In fact, constant consultation, support and sharing of expertise ought to be encouraged.  From the experience of other dioceses where this has been experimented, there is evidence that many factors enhance the future survival of the Dioceses, which unite and cooperate in persona episcopi.

This form of union under one bishop is not an amalgamation and does not suppress either of the two dioceses.  It respects the autonomy and allows for the functionality of the individual jurisdictions.  It is a mild and practical form of union between dioceses and can be a temporary or permanent provision.

  • Bishop Michael Duignan – a brief biography

A native of Athlone, Co Roscommon, Bishop Michael was born on 15 July 1970.  He is the eldest of six children and attended Cloonakilla National School, Bealnamulla and Saint Aloysius College, Athlone.  He studied for the Priesthood at Saint Patrick’s Missionary Society in Kiltegan, Co Wicklow, and at the Pontifical Irish College in Rome.  He was ordained to the Priesthood for the Diocese of Elphin on 17 July 1994.  Returning to Rome to complete postgraduate studies, he then served at the Cathedral Parish, Sligo and as Chaplain to the Institute of Technology, Sligo.  Subsequently, he completed Doctoral Studies in Dogmatic Theology at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome.  He returned to Ireland in 2001 to take up the position of Curate in the Parish of Ahamlish and Innismurray in north Sligo and was appointed Diocesan Secretary before taking up the position of Lecturer in Religious Education and Theology at Saint Angela’s College, Sligo, and later as Head of Religious Education and Chaplaincy Programmes.

In 2014, he was appointed Chancellor of the Diocese of Elphin and Episcopal Vicar for Education and Formation.  Bishop Michael was also National Director of the Permanent Diaconate and National Coordinator of Formation for the Permanent Diaconate.  He has been involved over the years in numerous adult faith formation programmes, training programmes for ministry, formation of catechists, youth ministry programmes and formation of school chaplains and teachers of religious education.  He sat on the Theological Commission for the cause for canonisation of the Servant of God Edward Flanagan and was Chair of the organising committee for the visit of Pope Francis to Knock Shrine in 2018.  He served for many years as Chairperson of the Board of Management of the College of the Immaculate Conception, Summerhill, Sligo.

On the 16 July 2019, Bishop Michael was named by Pope Francis as Bishop of Clonfert succeeding Bishop John Kirby.  He was ordained at Saint Brendan’s Cathedral in Loughrea on 13 October 2019 and took as his episcopal motto “Respicite ad eum et illuminamini” (Psalm 34) “Look towards Him and be radiant”.  As a part the Irish Episcopal Conference, he is a member of the Commission for Pastoral Care; Chair of the Council for Immigrants; Member of the Council for Pastoral Renewal and Adult Faith Development; Member of the Council for Finance and General Purposes and member of the National Training Authority for the Permanent Diaconate in Ireland.


For media contact the Catholic Communications Office, Maynooth, Martin Long on +353 (0) 86 1727678 and Oisín Walsh on +353 (0) 86 1679504