Message from Bishop Michael Duignan on the death of Bishop Martin Drennan RIP

28 Nov 2022

Message from Bishop Michael Duignan on the death of Bishop Martin Drennan RIP

On Saturday, I received the sad news that Bishop Martin Drennan had died at Saint Vincent’s Hospital, Dublin surrounded by his loving family. I offer my sympathy to his family, to our diocesan community and to his many friends.

Bishop Martin was a Kilkenny man to the core who took the West of Ireland to his heart. Even though he continued to avidly support the black and amber of his birthplace, Galway became his home and the people of the west became his new family and his dear friends. Ordained to the priesthood for the Diocese of Ossory in 1968, his first appointments were to Saint Mary’s Cathedral, Kilkenny and to Ballycallan parishes before returning to further studies.

Sacred Scripture was his passion. Father Martin was to become an internationally respected academic and taught with energy, passion and insight at Saint Patrick’s College, Maynooth as Professor of Old Testament. His was skilled at making the inspired words of the ancient biblical texts relevant, powerful and life giving to the modern world.

In May 1997 Father Martin was appointed as an auxiliary bishop in Archdiocese of Dublin and in 2005 he succeeded Bishop James McLoughin as Bishop of Galway and Kilmacduagh and Apostolic Administrator of Kilfenora.

Bishop Drennan’s able and agile intellect and innate pastoral sensitivity when combined with his gentle prayerful, self-effacing presence served the Diocese well. At the time of his retirement in 2016 on health grounds, he wrote:

“My eleven years here have been among the happiest and most fulfilled of my life. When I succeeded Bishop James McLoughlin in 2004 you, the priests and people of Galway, Mayo and Clare, made me welcome. Since then, your support and kindness, your prayers and your affirmation, have been a real source of strength and inspiration to me. For this I will be forever grateful. It was a privilege to be your Bishop. From deep in my heart I thank you. My retirement takes place during this Holy Year of Mercy and I sincerely ask forgiveness from anyone among you I may have hurt in any way during my time as Bishop. I offer my loyalty and my wholehearted support to my successor and I ask you for your continued prayers. You will always be in mine.”

The people and priests of the diocese of Galway, Kilmacduagh and Kilfenora will remember him fondly as a gentle, prayerful, kind and wise pastor. At a personal level, I will be ever thankful to Bishop Martin for his warm welcome to me on my recent appointment to Galway and for his wise counsel.

Throughout his life, and in particular in his later years of illness, he lived very much by the wisdom contained in the title of his last book – Turning Wounds into Wisdom – a series of reflections on the Sunday Gospels in which he endeavoured to turn the wounds of life into a wisdom for living.

Bishop Drennan’s episcopal motto was Comhoidhrí le Críost (co-heirs with Christ). Taken from the Letter to the Romans (8:17), Saint Paul emphasises the sure hope of an eternal destiny that is the hallmark of a follower of Christ.

I pray that God will now enfold Bishop Martin more deeply into his eternal loving embrace and grant consolation to his family and those who will miss him in this world.

A Easpag Máirtín, a chara dhil

go bhfáiltí sluaite na n-aingeal romhat

go bhfaighe tú suaimhneas síoraí

agus go mbuailimid le chéile arís,

go gcoinní Dia i mbos a láimhe thú. Amen.

  • Funeral Arrangements Of Bishop Martin Drennan RIP

Bishop Drennan’s remains will be received at the Cathedral of Our Lady Assumed into Heaven and Saint Nicholas, Galway, at 7pm on Tuesday 29 November.  He will lay in repose until 10pm, at which time the office of Compline will be sung.  Requiem Mass will be celebrated at 1.00pm on Wednesday 30 November in the Cathedral, after which Bishop Drennan will be interred in the Cathedral crypt.

Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dílis.


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