Pope Francis appoints Father Donal Roche as Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Dublin

05 Mar 2024

The Holy Father Pope Francis has appointed Father Donal Roche, a priest of the Archdiocese of Dublin, as Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Dublin.  The news of this episcopal appointment will be made public this morning at 11.00am Irish time (12.00pm in Rome).
Photographers and journalists are invited to attend Saint Mary’s Pro-Cathedral, Dublin, for 10.30am Mass this morning with principal celebrant Archbishop Dermot Farrell, Archbishop of Dublin.  After this Mass, Archbishop Farrell and Father Roche will read short statements.
Father Donal Roche: Life and Ministry
Born in 1958 to Sheila and Joe Roche, Father Roche grew up in Drimnagh in Dublin, one of a family of seven children.  He attended both primary and secondary school at Drimnagh Castle CBS.
Father Roche worked for four years as a clerical officer in Dublin County Council before entering Clonliffe College in 1980 to study for the priesthood.  He was sent to Maynooth to study for a Degree in Theology and was ordained for the Archdiocese of Dublin in 1986, in his home parish of Mourne Road.
His first appointment was a period of six years as a priest-teacher in Coláiste Dhúlaigh, Coolock.  He then spent five years as a Diocesan Adviser for Religious Education in primary schools.  This was followed by eight years as chaplain to Saint Mark’s Community School, Tallaght.  After a total of 19 years involved in religious education, he still retains a great interest in the evangelisation of young people and has an active involvement in sacramental preparation programmes.  During this time, Father Roche also served for about six years as Assistant Vocations Director in the Archdiocese.
Father Roche’s first parish appointment was in Lucan South, where he spent seven years.  This was a time of broadening the experience of ministry beyond schools to accompany people of all ages on the journey of faith, from baptisms, weddings and funerals to the everyday experiences of parish life, building and strengthening the faith life of the community.
This was followed by eleven years in Wicklow Town, also looking after the surrounding areas of Kilbride, Barndarrig and Brittas Bay for four of those years.  This mixture of town and rural areas gave him a great experience of the richness of the Archdiocese and its many different and distinct communities.
His current appointment is in the Cabinteely-Johnstown grouping of parishes, with additional responsibility for the growing area of Cherrywood.  This provides the new challenge of creating a Catholic community in an area where there is no plan for a church building but many people who wish to belong to the Church.
Father Roche was appointed Episcopal Vicar by then Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin in 2019 and continues in this role under Archbishop Farrell, with responsibility for the deaneries of Bray, Donnybrook and Wicklow.  This is very much a pastoral role, supporting priests and parishioners in times of challenge and times of celebration.
Father Roche is a fluent Irish speaker and is often called on to celebrate Mass and the sacraments in Irish in various parts of the Archdiocese.
His appointment as Auxiliary Bishop of Dublin brings a new challenge in these changing times.  With fewer clergy and greater lay involvement in parishes, the new Auxiliary Bishop will be supporting the Archbishop in his role of leading the Archdiocese along the synodal pathway: clergy and lay faithful working together to bring the message of the Gospel to a new generation.
An Auxiliary Bishop is given a titular see.  Father Roche’s will be that of the ancient diocese of Cell Ausaille, which is situated in the area of Killashee near Naas, Co Kildare.  Saint Auxilius was said to be a nephew of Saint Patrick and there are monastic ruins in Kilashee that are believed to date back to the fifth century.