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Bishops congratulate Bishop-elect Niall Coll on his appointment by Pope Francis to the Diocese of Ossory

This morning in Saint Mary’s Cathedral, Kilkenny, in the Diocese of Ossory, Monsignor Julien Kaboré, Chargé d’Affaires of the Apostolic Nunciature in Ireland announced that his Holiness Pope Francis has appointed Father Niall Coll, as the new Bishop of the Diocese of Ossory.  Please see below Bishops’ statements of congratulations welcoming this appointment.

  • Archbishop Dermot Farrell, Archbishop of Dublin and Primate of Ireland

“I warmly welcome the appointment by Pope Francis of Father Niall Coll of the Diocese of Raphoe as Bishop of Ossory.  I congratulate Bishop-elect Coll, and wish him every blessing as he commences his new ministry among the people, religious, and priests of Ossory.

“Bishop-elect Coll brings with him a wealth of experience both in Diocese of Raphoe and in Saint Mary’s University College, Belfast, as he begins to serve the people of Ossory and those who minister among them.  From first-hand experience, I am confident that he will be warmly welcomed in Ossory.  My own time in Ossory was a time of great blessing, and I wish Father Coll even greater blessing and happiness as he prepares for his new ministry.

“He undertakes his episcopal ministry in a time of rapid and profound cultural, social, and ecclesial change.  I pray that he and all the people of Ossory may know power of the Holy Spirit and the reassurance of the Spirit’s gifts in their common seeking “to discern the Body of the Lord,” (1 Cor 11:29) to use Saint Paul’s expression about our responsibility to discern again and again where the Lord is leading his people (see Psalm 136:16, John 14:5–6), and how the Good Shepherd is feeding his sheep (see John 21:15–17).  The announcement of your appointment as Bishop of Ossory is on the Feast of the Apostles Simon and Jude.  The Lord called the apostles to be with him, to journey with him, and to be sent out to preach (see Mark 3:14).  In the Apostles gathered around Jesus, God shows us how the Church is, and in their mission where the Church is called to go (Matt 28:19-20).

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank Bishop Denis Nulty for his dedicated service as Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Ossory for the past twenty-one months.  He bears witness to that fraternal ministry which embodies the reality which ensures that the Church is what we claim to be: brothers and sisters in the Lord (see 1Cor 1:2).

“May the Good Shepherd watch over all his sheep.

“May Saint Kieran and Saint Canice inspire and strengthen our faith.

“May all God’s people walk together along the path of welcome, oneness, and enduring peace.”

  • Bishop Denis Nulty, Bishop of Kildare & Leighlin and former Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Ossory

“I, along with the people, priests and religious of Ossory, very warmly welcome this announcement and assure Father Niall of our support, our prayers and our encouragement. I thank Monsignor Julien Kaboré, the Chargé d’Affaires at the Apostolic Nunciature who represents Pope Francis this day. And what a great message Monsignor Julien has brought us from the Holy Father.  I thank all of you for being present at such short notice, representing every aspect of the life of this great diocese.

“In the footsteps of Saint Kieran and Saint Canice, Father Niall too comes a journey to the people of Ossory – as Kieran once came from Cape Clear, and Saint Canice journeyed from Dungiven in Ulster – Father Niall now comes from the Donegal Town in Raphoe Diocese.  Father Niall, I know you will be warmly welcomed here.  You have been called by the Lord to this new ministry as the apostles Simon and Jude were once called too.  Interestingly they are commemorated together, companions in the mission of gospel proclamation, a mission which cost them their lives.  As Bishops we need more than ever to be companions on the journey, companions with one another and those we work alongside.

“I have known Niall since our student days together in Maynooth in the 1980’s and as such, understand full well his immense abilities, his deep faith and his great energy for theology, pastoral ministry and lay faith formation.  Having journeyed with the people of Ossory as Apostolic Administrator I know how wonderfully Bishop Elect Niall will settle here.  This is a good home.  I know also that Father Niall is known to many in this Diocese, as he mentioned himself, some he has taught in his years lecturing in systematic theology, many others he has encountered in various settings throughout his ministry.  Our paths in life bring us together – the Lords hand in every encounter.

“Over the past 20 months it is been my joy to serve as Apostolic Administrator and in that time great work has been carried out by the many various groups and people in the Diocese.  I have enjoyed the opportunities to visit all of the Pastoral Areas in Ossory; to witness the transition from the lay deanery structure to these new means of our working together.  We have gathered for many happy occasions and some sad – but in each of these moments the Lord has been present with us; we have been truly blessed.  Ossory is a Diocese with a very rich history and with an ever more promising future.

“Niall, as we move into the weeks ahead, and as we plan for your Ordination as the next Bishop of Ossory, we will continue to hold you in our prayers.  That the Lord who has called you to this new ministry will support you as your undertake it.  I know the fulsome support that the priests, religious and lay faithful of Ossory will give you not only in these weeks as you prepare, but in the many years to come as your paths now continue together.

“May Saint Canice support you, may Saint Kieran guide you and may Saint Fergal bring you the assurance of God’s presence and blessing in your new ministry as shepherd of Ossory.”

  • Archbishop Eamon Martin, Archbishop of Armagh, Primate of All Ireland and President of the Irish Bishops’ Conference

“I want to offer my congratulations and prayerful good wishes to Bishop-elect Niall Coll, whom I have known for many years, on his appointment by Pope Francis as the new Bishop of Ossory.  He brings a wealth of educational expertise, along with strong pastoral instincts, to his new ministry.  Father Coll will be well known to very many young teachers across the North and North West.  He has a depth of experience of Religious Education and Religious Studies at third level which will be of immense value to our discussions at the table of the Irish Bishop’s Conference.  He has also already made a significant contribution to ecumenical relationships on this island as a member of Irish Inter-Church Committee and Inter-Church meeting.

“As President of the Conference, I look forward to welcoming Bishop-elect Coll together with my brother bishops, especially at this time of renewal for the Church in Ireland as we continue our Synodal conversations at local and national level over the next five years.”

  • Bishop Alan McGuckian SJ, Bishop of Raphoe

“Father Niall Coll has been chosen by Pope Francis to be the next bishop of Ossory.  On my own behalf and on behalf of the priests and people of the Diocese of Raphoe I offer Father Coll sincere congratulations.  I can say honestly that Ossory’s gain will be our loss.

“Father Niall has always put his many skills and talents at the service of the Church wherever he has been asked and needed.  A skilled Theologian he has served at Third Level in both Saint Patrick’s College Carlow and Saint Mary’s University College in Belfast.  He worked with young people at Second Level in Saint Eunan’s College, Letterkenny and Pobalscoil na Rosann.  As a young priest he served as a curate in Dungloe and more recently he has been the Parish Priest of both Drumholm (Ballintra) and Tawnawilly (Donegal and Clar).  Since his return to Donegal he has served on our Diocesan Pastoral Council and worked closely with priests and people to promote our Pastoral Plan ‘Forward together; Ar aghaidh le chéile’.  He will be a great loss to the Diocese and to the Parish of Tawnawilly.

This appointment must be a source of great joy for Father Niall’s family.  We congratulate his father and mother, Willie and Kathleen, his brother and sisters and wide family circle.  His home parish of Saint Johnston will take pride in the choice of one of their own to serve as a bishop.

As well as an honour, service as a bishop is a heavy burden and so I ask everyone in the diocese to pray very specially for Father Niall that he will have all the grace he needs to serve the people of Ossory with generosity and zeal.

ENDS

For media contact: Catholic Communications Office Maynooth: Martin Long +353 (0) 86 172 7678 and Lisa Sheridan +353 (0) 86 084 3175.

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