Bishop Paul Dempsey’s statement on his appointment as Auxiliary Bishop in the Archdiocese of Dublin

10 Apr 2024

Bishop Paul Dempsey

Your Excellency Archbishop Montemayor, my brother bishops, priests, and dear friends, on the 27 January 2020, Pope Francis appointed me to serve as Bishop of Achonry.  It was the beginning of a new chapter, a time of ‘going out into the deep’ (Lk. 5:4).  I received a very warm welcome in the Diocese which was deeply appreciated.  Over the past four years I had the privilege of serving the people, priests, religious and deacons of Achonry.  It has been a time of learning and growth for me.  It was a wonderful experience to visit all the parishes and to meet so many people across the Diocese.  

As priest and bishop, I am called to a life of service in the Church, wherever that call may take me.  I thank Pope Francis who has appointed me today to the Titular See of Sita and as Auxiliary Bishop in the Archdiocese of Dublin. 

Though I was born in Carlow, the Cathedral town of Kildare and Leighlin Diocese, I am no stranger to the Archdiocese of Dublin.  My family moved from Carlow to Athy in the Archdiocese when I was a child.  We lived in Athy for a number of years.  It was there that I received my Confirmation from Bishop Donal Murray when he was an Auxiliary Bishop in the Archdiocese.

In my ministry in Dublin, I will work with and support Archbishop Dermot Farrell in his role as Chief Shepherd.  I thank him for his welcome and support.  I will also be working with Auxiliary Bishop-Elect Donal Roche as he begins his ministry in the coming weeks.  I look forward to meeting and serving the people, priests, religious and deacons of the Archdiocese.  The late Pope Benedict reminded us that faith is exodus, it calls us to go out of ourselves.  As I set out, I am aware of the huge challenges that lie ahead.  Culturally our relationship with faith has changed and continues to change in so many ways.  We continue to grapple with the big question of how to share the life-giving Gospel message of Jesus Christ in today’s reality.  It is a daunting mission.  However, Pope Francis tells us never to lose hope, he reminds us that: “Hope opens new horizons, making us capable of dreaming what is not even imaginable.”  With these encouraging words I set out with an open heart, knowing that with Christ, new horizons, new possibilities are always awaiting us!

As I move from Achonry Diocese I express my deep gratitude to the priests, religious, deacons, staff and the faith community for your kindness over the past four years.  I thank God that I have been blessed with a wonderful family and circle of friends whose love and support I depend upon daily.  I ask you to remember me in your prayers as I begin this new chapter in my life and ministry.  I have no doubt that the experience gained over the past four years in Achonry, and the previous twenty-three years in Kildare and Leighlin, will be a great help to me as I begin my ministry in Dublin.  I thank His Excellency, Archbishop Montemayor, for his support and guidance over these weeks which is deeply appreciated. 

I welcome Bishop Kevin Doran’s appointment as Apostolic Administrator of Achonry.  Bishop Kevin has been a great support and friend to me since I became a bishop almost four years ago.  I wish him every blessing as he takes on this new role.  I have no doubt he will receive as warm a welcome as I did in Achonry.  During the Easter Season, in the liturgical readings, we hear how the apostles were fearless as they went out to share the Gospel in the early years of the Church’s life.  May this example inspire Bishop Kevin in his ministry in Elphin and Achonry.  I wish him peace and joy in the extra responsibilities he has so generously accepted. 

To Bishop John Fleming, my neighbour in Killala Diocese, I thank him for the friendship, support and good humour over the past four years.  I wish him every blessing of good health and happiness in his retirement.

I wish Archbishop Francis Duffy every blessing as he takes on the extra responsibility for Killala and thank him for his friendship and support.  Archbishop Francis was always there to listen and has shown great kindness and care to me in his ministry as Metropolitan of the Western Province.  May the Lord continue to guide and strengthen him in the mission ahead.

The late Seamus Heaney reminded us that “Hope is not optimism, which expects things to turn out well, but something rooted in the conviction that there is good worth working for.”  As a community of disciples, for us the ‘good worth working for’ is the message and the mission of Jesus Christ.  I pray that our conviction about the Gospel will never waver and that we will continue to ‘build hope’ and strive to find new and creative ways of sharing Christ’s powerful message of love and mercy wherever His call takes us.

Míle Buíochas!