Statements on the appointment of Father Donal Roche as Auxiliary Bishop of Dublin

05 Mar 2024

Archbishop Dermot Farrell congratulating Father Donal Roche on his appointment today by Pope Francis as Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Dublin (Catholic Communications Office archive)

Today, after the celebration of Mass in Saint Mary’s Pro Cathedral, Archdiocese of Dublin, it was announced that the Holy Father Pope Francis has appointed Father Donal Roche as the new Auxiliary Bishop for the Archdiocese.  Please see statements below by Archbishop Dermot Farrell and Father Roche:

Statement of Archbishop Dermot Farrell, Archbishop of Dublin
I am very pleased that Pope Francis has appointed Father Donal Roche as Titular Bishop of Cell Ausaille and Auxiliary Bishop of Dublin.
In light of the rapidly changing needs of the Archdiocese, I asked Pope Francis to consider appointing an Auxiliary Bishop to assist me in the ministry to a diocese that has a population of over 1.5 million, of whom a million identify as Catholics, spread over 197 parishes.  Today I give thanks for the appointment of Father Donal Roche.  To the leadership of the Church in Dublin, Father Donal brings extensive pastoral experience, as well as an inspiring personal witness and fidelity to the gospel.  I am very grateful to the Holy Father, Pope Francis, and to His Excellency Archbishop Montemayor, Apostolic Nuncio to Ireland, for facilitating my request.
I thank Father Donal for generously accepting this new call to leadership responsibility in the Church.  Since his ordination to priesthood in 1986, Father Donal has made a significant contribution to the life of the Church in Dublin as priest-teacher, priest, episcopal vicar, and most recently, as Vicar General.  My ministry – as priest and bishop in these challenging times for the Church in Ireland and for our mission – has brought me to the conviction that when we are open to the promptings of the Holy Spirit, new life and hope comes to our parishes.  Just as the Lord waited for Mary’s “Yes”, so the Lord waits for ours.  The word of the Lord is an invitation; it is a call, and God is as patient as He is faithful and true.  May the Holy Spirit inspire, strengthen, and guide Father Donal as he is called to be a bishop in this time of fundamental, far-reaching renewal of the Church’s life.
Since the appointment of the first Auxiliary Bishop in Dublin in 1883, the Auxiliary Bishops have made a significant contribution to the life of the diocese.  I have no doubt Father Donal will bring his many gifts, fresh ideas and deep motivation to the Church’s work – that of proclaiming the promise and hope of the Gospel, and witnessing to joy and consolation in this time and place.
May we carry Father Donal in our prayer, not only in coming weeks and months, but in the years of his episcopal ministry which are about to begin.  May the Lord keep him close to Himself all the days of his life.
Statement of Father Donal Roche
I want to express my gratitude to His Holiness Pope Francis for the honour he has bestowed on me by calling me to serve as Auxiliary Bishop of Dublin.  And I thank Archbishop Montemayor, the Papal Nuncio, and Archbishop Farrell for the trust they have placed in me by supporting that call to serve as an Auxiliary Bishop in the Archdiocese.  It is an honour that I feel is undeserved, but it is also a challenge that I take up willingly, if nervously.  I will be hoping for, and very much dependent on, the support of the priests and people of the diocese.
I have served as a priest in Dublin for 38 years, since my ordination in my home parish of Mourne Road in 1986, spending the first half of that time in schools in Coolock and Tallaght as priest-teacher and chaplain, and a spell as an adviser for religious education.  I was also Assistant Director of Vocations for about six years during this time.
I then served in the parishes of Lucan South, Wicklow-Rathnew, Kilbride-Barndarrig, and currently Cabinteely.  I am extremely grateful to the people in all of these parishes for their kindness, their friendship, their support and their encouragement.  Throughout all those years I have been sustained and supported by my own faith in God and by the faith, support, kindness and care of the people I worked with.  I have been blessed with a loving and supportive family and I am very grateful to my two sisters and four brothers as well as my numerous nieces and nephews for their support and love.  They have been a rock of strength for me.
As I take up this new challenge, I am very aware of my limitations, but I am also aware of the strength that comes from God, a strength that has sustained me many times in the past.  I take great consolation from the words of Saint Paul to the Corinthians: “I am content with weakness, hardships, persecutions, and calamities.  For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Cor. 12:9-10).  Setting out on this new path, I put my trust in God, and I pray for God’s wisdom and strength to guide me as I take on this new role in his Church.
Everybody says that these are challenging times for the Church, and that is true.  We have been through difficult times over the last 20 years or so and the path that lies ahead is also very uncertain.  But we have a strength in the commitment and faith of the priests and people of the Archdiocese who draw nourishment from the Gospel of Jesus Christ and who are engaged in the process of Building Hope for the future.  I have seen faith and commitment in action in all the parishes and communities I have been involved in over the years.
As I accept the call today to be an Auxiliary Bishop, I pledge my support to Archbishop Farrell, and I promise to devote myself to the service of the priests and people of the Archdiocese.  I can say with complete honesty that I still have the same enthusiasm for the ministry today that I had at the start, despite all the ups and downs and upheavals of recent years.  Being a priest has been my greatest joy and privilege and I hope I can continue to share that joy with the people I work with for many years to come.  Hope and joy in ministry is my greatest strength.
And so with the strength that comes from the Gospel and the Eucharist, the strength that supported the holy men and women who walked this way before us (including Saint Kieran, whose feast we celebrate today), I take on this task and pray that God will continue to give me health and strength to spread His Word, and preach His Gospel, to the very best of my ability.

Notes for Editors
  • Further inquiries can be made to Peter Henry, Communications Officer, Archdiocese of Dublin, at [email protected] or +353 (0)1 808 7523.  Photographs from today’s announcement can be obtained by contacting photographer John McElroy at [email protected] or +353 (0) 87 241 6985.