Archbishops and clergy congratulate Bishop-elect Paul Connell on his appointment by Pope Francis as Bishop of Ardagh and Clonmacnois

05 Apr 2023

On behalf of the Holy Father Pope Francis, the following announcement was made by Monsignor Julien Kaboré, Chargé d’Affaires of the Apostolic Nunciature in Ireland, at 11.00am in Saint Mel’s Cathedral, Longford

Reverend and dear Father Thomas Healy, Diocesan Administrator of the Diocese of Ardagh and Clonmacnois, Reverend Fathers, dear brothers and sisters in Christ, good morning!

It is with great joy that, as Chargé dAffaires a.i. of the Apostolic Nunciature in Ireland, I have the honour to inform you that His Holiness Pope Francis has appointed the Reverend Paul Connell, a priest of the Diocese of Meath, as Bishop of Ardagh and Clonmacnois. The appointment has been announced in Rome a while ago today, Wednesday 5 April, 2023.

Upon receiving this joyful news, it is very fitting that we should give thanks to God. We are thankful, indeed, for all the good work that has been accomplished, over so many years, by the zealous predecessors of the new Bishop and more recently by Father Healy, under whose wise guidance we have reached this day. We are most grateful also, of course, to Father Paul [Bishop-elect Paul], who has accepted to become our new Bishop.

Let us therefore entrust his episcopal ministry, as successor of the Apostles, to the loving intercession of our Blessed Mother Mary, Queen of the Apostles and to St Mel, the wonderful Patron of this Diocese. Amen!

Archbishop Eamon Martin of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland

I wish to congratulate and offer my prayerful good wishes to Bishop-elect Paul Connell on his appointment today, by Pope Francis, as the new Bishop of Ardagh and Clonmacnois.  

Since Bishop-elect Paul’s appointment in January 2019 as Executive Secretary of the Bishops’ Council for Education, and of the Catholic Education Services Committee, the Irish Bishops’ Conference has benefited greatly from his expertise in Catholic education at primary, secondary and tertiary levels.  During this time he has made a great contribution to the all-island, celebration of Catholic Schools Week and, in doing so, has provided his experience and pastoral instincts for the benefit of families and the whole Catholic school community in Ireland.  

Bishop-elect Paul’s outstanding work across education has been reflected in his many roles in key bodies that support Catholic school managers, Patrons and Trustees. This has included his guidance to bishops and school communities engaging in discussions on Catholic patronage, specifically regarding the reconfiguration of primary patronage.  I look forward to his continued leadership in this crucial area as a member of the Bishops’ Conference.

Bishop-elect Paul’s appointment will be a loss for the priests and people of his home diocese of Meath, as well as for his colleagues working in the secretariat of the Bishops’ Conference in Columba Centre, Maynooth.  However his pastoral gifts, spiritual leadership and Episcopal calling today, especially at this time of renewal for the Church in Ireland, will greatly assist the Church in Ireland as we continue to walk the Synodal journey at local and national level over the next five years.

Archbishop Francis Duffy of Tuam

I warmly welcome the appointment by Pope Francis today of Father Paul Connell, of the Diocese of Meath, as the Bishop of Ardagh and Clonmacnois.

Father Paul brings to his new position a wealth of experience in Catholic education at both local and national levels.  His role, until now, as Chancellor in the Diocese of Meath, together with his work as Principal of a large diocesan secondary school, and his pastoral experience, has already equipped him for the responsibilities involved in leading a diocese. 

Father Paul is well respected by the priests and people of his native diocese which he has served for more than forty years.  I know, from experience, that he will receive a warm welcome from the parishioners, religious and priests of the Diocese of Ardagh and Clonmacnois.

I wish Father Paul every blessing and success in his new ministry.

I extend my good wishes to Father Tom Healy who carried out his responsibilities as Diocesan Administrator with considerable care and diligence for the last fifteen months, and I congratulate him on a job well done.

Father Tom Healy, Diocesan Administrator of Ardagh and Clonmacnois

I warmly welcome the appointment of Father Paul Connell as Bishop-elect of the Diocese of Ardagh and Clonmacnois.

It is fifteen months since we said farewell to Archbishop Francis Duffy on his transfer to the Archdiocese of Tuam – so we are very pleased that Pope Francis has appointed a new shepherd to lead us at this time.

Father Paul hails from the neighbouring Diocese of Meath, and has family roots in our diocese, so I feel that we are welcoming a near neighbour and hope that his transition to Ardagh and Clonmacnois will be a smooth and happy experience for him.

I know that Father Paul has wide experience particularly in the field of education since his ordination in 1983 and so he will bring much wisdom to his new role.

The appointment of Father Paul during Holy Week is a particular joy for the people of the diocese.  As we unite in prayer together on these most sacred days, we ask God’s Blessings on Bishop-elect Paul and on his future ministry.

Saint Mel and Saint Ciaran, pray for us.


Notes for Editors

  • The news of this Episcopal appointment will be made public this morning at 11.00am (12.00pm in the Vatican) by Monsignor Julien Kaboré, Chargé d’Affaires of the Apostolic Nunciature in Ireland, in Saint Mel’s Cathedral, Longford, Diocese of Ardagh and Clonmacnois.  Following this announcement, Mass will be celebrated by Archbishop Francis Duffy, Archbishop of Tuam and Bishop Emeritus of the Diocese of Ardagh and Clonmacnois; Bishop Tom Deenihan, Bishop of Meath; Bishop-elect Paul Connell; Monsignor Julien Kaboré; Father Tom Healy, Diocesan Administrator of Ardagh and Clonmacnois, and clergy of the diocese.  Photographers and journalists are invited to attend at Saint Mel’s Cathedral for 11.00am.  To obtain photographs for publication purposes, please contact Brian Farrell from 12.00pm on +353 (0) 87 982 8412.

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