Cathedral of Our Lady Assumed into Heaven & Saint Nicholas, Galway
- “Your Excellency, Archbishop Okolo, we are conscious of the news from the Vatican today that your term of office with us is in Ireland is coming to an end, with your transfer to Prague as Apostolic Nuncio to the Czech Republic. You have been an assuring and friendly presence with us these past six years, travelling up and down the country, visiting all our dioceses and innumerable parishes. We will miss you, but we assure you our prayers go with you as you assume your new mission in Prague” – Bishop Kelly
A Phobail Dé,
Céad míle fáilte romhaibh ar fad anseo go hArdeaglais Muire na Deastógala agus Naomh Nioclás I nGaillimh trathnóna, agus míle fáilte freisin roimh an pobal atá linn ar líne. Lá mór dúinne ar fad, pobal Dé deoise na Gaillimhe, Cill Mhic Duaigh agus Cill Fhionnúraigh, an lá seo: Aoire nua tagtha inar measc, an t-Easpag Mícheal Ó Duibhgheannáin! Míle moladh agus altú le Dia! Na múrtha mór fáilte romhat, a Easpaig Mhíchíl, agus go mba fada buan thú inár measc. Táim an-sásta fáiltiú roimh na h-ionadaithe as ’chuile pharóiste san deoise in éineacht le bhúr sagairt, comh maith leis na daoine atá tagtha mar ionadaithe ó pharóistí Deoise Chluain Fearta. Agus bhur sagairt-se freisin. Tá gaol nua, níos gaire ná riamh, anois idir muintir Chluain Fearta agus muintir an Deoise seo i bpearsain an t-Easpag Míchéal, agus is beannacht ar phobail an dá dheoise an socrú nua seo sna h-amanntaí ina mairimíd – agus bíodh muid ag guí sin inniu, agus go mbeidh rath Dé ar an socrú sin do phobail an dá dheoise!
My dear People of God, I am delighted to welcome you all this afternoon, both in person and on line, to the Cathedral of Our Lady Assumed into Heaven and St Nicholas here in Galway. We’ve all gathered to welcome Bishop Michael Duignan with deep joy and to accompany him in prayer, and to celebrate this Holy Eucharist with him. I am delighted to welcome him amongst us as our Shepherd for the foreseeable future. You are a gift for us from the Holy Spirit, through the Holy Father Pope Francis. Today you assume the service of Shepherd of God’s people here in the diocese of Galway, Kilmacduagh and Kilfenora, as entrusted to you earlier this year on the feast of our Lady of Lourdes, 11 February.
Bishop Michael takes up the service as Bishop here along with that of being Bishop of Clonfert, and so a very special welcome is extended to all of you who have come from the parishes of Clonfert along with your priests. As neighbouring dioceses, we welcome the strengthening of the bonds between us represented by the fact that we now share the same pastor and shepherd, Bishop Michael, and the hope for the future of Church and faith in both our dioceses that this new arrangement promises. Bíodh muid ag guí go dúthrachtach ar a shon sin inniu. I welcome also the people of our own diocese, representing the 39 parishes, along with our priests.
Failtím go spesialta roimh His Excellency Archbishop Jude Thaddeus Okolo, the Apostolic Nuncio to Ireland, representing the Holy Father here today. You have come, Your Excellency, bearing the Apostolic Letter of Appointment from Pope Francis, which will be read for us in just a few moments. We are truly honoured by your presence, your Excellency, and all that that presence represents for us.
Papal Nuncio, we are conscious of the news from the Vatican today that your term of office with us is in Ireland is coming to an end, with your transfer to Prague as Apostolic Nuncio to the Czech Republic. You have been an assuring and friendly presence with us these past six years, travelling up and down the country, visiting all our dioceses and innumerable parishes. We will miss you, but we assure you our prayers go with you as you assume your new mission in Prague.
I welcome also His Eminence Cardinal Sean Brady. I am personally very pleased that you can be with us today – and also Archbishops Eamon Martin of Armagh, Dermot Farrell of Dublin, Kieran O Reilly of Cashel and Archbishop Emeritus Michael Neary, representing the new Archbishop of Tuam, Francis Duffy, who is leading his diocesan pilgrimage today at Knock and so cannot be with us.
A special welcome to Archbishop Michael Crotty, Papal Nuncio to Burkina Faso and Niger in West Africa, and a classmate of Bishop Michael, along with the other classmates who are with us. I welcome Bishop Martin Drennan my own predecessor here in Galway, and all the other fellow bishops who are with us too.
Our gathering is enriched by the presence of many women and men religious and representatives of Religious congregations, orders and new movements living and ministering in the diocese. I welcome representatives from the Church of Ireland, Methodist and Presbyterian communities. Representatives from the Islamic community along with people from all religious traditions and secular worldviews. Our gathering is enriched greatly too by having some people from Ukraine who are now living in the Diocese. We are very much praying for you and your country at this terrible time.
Failtím roimh Méara na Gaillime, an Comhairleoir Colette Connolly, along with other members of the City and County Council. Agus freisin, elected representatives to Dáil Éireann agus Seanad Éireann, and members of religious, social and cultural groups and associations.
A very special welcome is reserved finally for Bishop Michael’s mother Mona, his aunt and God-mother Vera, his other family members and close friends. We remember with him his late father, James. Bishop Michael, it is good for us that you are here and will be with us as shepherd and father of our diocese for the foreseeable future. Times are turbulent, and there are great changes and challenges. But you are never alone. The Lord who has called you will never fail you, nor will Pobal Dé na deoisí seo. Our prayers, the prayers of the people of God in this diocese are already with you, and will sustain you.
My dear people and priests of this diocese, may I take a moment briefly to thank you for your patience and tolerance, your constant support, friendship and ceaseless prayer for me since I was transferred home to Galway as Bishop four years ago. And for the wonderful and blessed 37 years as priest amongst you before I was appointed Bishop of Achonry in late 2007. Today I have only the fondest memories. The goodness of people, the example you have shown me, the kindness and the calling forth, both here and in Achonry. I could never have imagined such a rich and blessed life. From my first day as a priest to today you have been my mentors, my teachers. You have revealed the face of God to me, the compassion of Jesus Christ. I thank you, and will never cease to thank God for you and beidh sibh chuile lá beo a mhaireas mé go buíoch im’ paidreacha. Faoi choimirce Muire Máthair go raibh an tEaspag Míchéal agus sibh ar fad chuile lá beo a mhaireas sibh!.
- Bishop Brendan Kelly is Bishop Emeritus of Galway, Kilfenora & Kilmacduagh
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