Media Diary Notice for the installation of Bishop Alan McGuckian as new Bishop of Down and Connor

10 Apr 2024

You, or a representative, are invited to the celebration of Mass for the Episcopal Installation of Bishop Alan McGuckian SJ as the new Bishop of Down and Connor.  Details:

Date and time   Sunday 14 April 2024, at 3.00pm
Venue   Saint Peter’s Cathedral, Belfast, Saint Peter’s Square, BT12 4BU
In attendance   Laity, religious, clergy, family and guests

Media arrangements
As space is limited, journalists wishing to attend should make contact with the Diocesan Communications Officer, Father Edward McGee, by this Friday 12 April for accreditation on +44 78111 44268 or [email protected].

At 2.00pm this Sunday, Father McGee, Diocese of Down and Connor, will be available to brief journalists at the dedicated media centre located in the nearby Saint Comgall’s (Old School), Divis Street, Belfast BT12 4AQ.  The media centre will be open until after the Mass and will offer internet access and refreshments.  Hard copies of the homily to be delivered by Bishop McGuckian and other addresses from the Mass, the installation booklet (which contains details of the Liturgy and the biography of Bishop McGuckian) and related information on the Diocese will be available here.

Following the conclusion of the Mass, and at the front door of the Cathedral, Bishop McGuckian will greet members of the congregation in person.  Media representatives will have an opportunity for photographs and a brief ‘door step’ interview at this time.

The diocese has retained Mr Peter Thomas as the official photographer for the Episcopal Installation.  Photographs from the ceremony for publication purposes will be available to media by contacting Father McGee on [email protected] or +44 78111 44268.

The Installation Mass will be livestreamed via the Saint Peter’s Cathedral webcam ( and on the Diocesan Facebook Page (

Details on the Installation Ceremony
The Celebrant and homilist will be Bishop McGuckian, Bishop of Down and Connor.  Concelebrants will include:

  • Most Rev Eamon Martin, Metropolitan Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland
  • His Excellency Most Rev Luis M Montemayor, Apostolic Nuncio to Ireland
  • Most Rev Noël Treanor, Apostolic Nuncio to the European Union and Bishop Emeritus of Down and Connor
  • Most Rev Donal McKeown, Bishop of Derry
  • Rev Bernard McGuckian SJ, brother of Bishop Alan McGuckian
  • Rev Michael McGuckian SJ, brother of Bishop Alan McGuckian
  • Rev Shane Daly SJ, Provincial of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) in Ireland
  • Most Rev Philip Boyce, Bishop Emeritus of Raphoe

Presider: His Eminence Cardinal Seán Brady, Archbishop Emeritus of Armagh
In addition, members of the Irish Bishops’ Conference, both serving and retired, and other clergy from the Diocese of Down and Connor and from the Diocese of Raphoe will be present.  Family members and friends of Bishop McGuckian, along with lay representatives from across the Diocese, will also be present and involved in the ceremony including John B McGuckian (brother of Bishop McGuckian), Jim Deeds (who assisted Bishop McGuckian with the ‘Living Church’ initiative) as well as teachers and students from local schools.  Representatives of other Christian denominations are also expected to be in attendance as well as civic leaders and local and national public representatives.

Saint Peter’s Cathedral Choir and the Down and Connor Schola Cantorum will perform the music throughout the liturgy under the direction of Mr James McConnell.  The Master of Ceremonies will be Father Martin Graham.


Notes for Editors

  • His Holiness appointed Bishop Alan McGuckian SJ as Bishop of Down and Connor on Friday 2 February 2024.
  • The Diocese of Down and Connor is the second largest diocese in Ireland stretching from Portrush and Portstewart in the north of the diocese to Kilkeel in the south of the diocese.  The Catholic population is 330,000 and there are 87 parishes and 151 churches in the Diocese.

Life and Ministry of Bishop Alan McGuckian
Bishop Alexander Aloysius (Alan) McGuckian SJ was born on 26 February 1953, the youngest of six children of the late Brian and Pauline McGuckian in Cloughmills, Co Antrim.
Having completed primary schooling in Cloughmills and post-primary studies in Saint MacNissi’s College, Garron Tower, Bishop Alan undertook a year of First Arts in Queen’s University, Belfast, where he studied Irish and Scholastic Philosophy (1971-1972).  In October 1972 he then joined the Jesuit novitiate in Clontarf in Dublin.
Bishop McGuckian is proficient in a number of modern languages and has studied an undergraduate BA in Latin and Spanish from University College Dublin (1974-1977) and later graduated with an MA in Irish Translation from QUB, Belfast.  His training for the priesthood involved the study of Philosophy in the Milltown Institute in Dublin (1977-1979) and Theology in the Toronto School of Theology specialising in the study of Scripture (M.Div and STL – 1981-1985).
After his ordination to the priesthood on 22 June 1984, Father McGuckian worked as a teacher in secondary education in Clongowes Wood College SJ, Co Kildare (1984-1988).  This was followed by a six-month period of spiritual renewal in southern India and an experience of serving in a shanty town in Quezon City in the Philippines, before taking his Final Profession as a Jesuit on 15 February 1997.
From 1992-2003, Father Alan served as appointed as Director of the Jesuit Communication Centre in Dublin.  During this period he was involved in setting up the websites and  Along with Mr Tony Bolger he set up Church Resources and Church Services TV.  At the same time his commitment to the Irish language led him to serve for over ten years as editor of both An Timire and Foilseacháin Ábhair Spioradálta.  Later, when already living in Belfast, he translated the autobiography of Saint Ignatius Loyola from the Spanish original into the Irish language under the title Scéal an Oilithrigh (Foilseacháin Ábhair Spioradálta).  In 2011, Father Alan collaborated with Philip Orr in writing the drama 1912 – A Hundred Years On, marking the centenary of the fateful year that saw the Home Rule Bill accepted by the House of Commons and the signing of the Ulster Covenant.
In Belfast, Father Alan served as chaplain to many of the Gaelscoileanna in the Diocese of Down and Connor and was, for a few years, Chaplain in the University of Ulster at Jordanstown and Belfast.  He also served as spiritual director to the Diocesan Seminary.
From 2012 to 2017, Father Alan worked closely with the Diocese of Down and Connor in the ‘Living Church’ project.  Beginning with a Listening Process in 2011 which aimed to hear the hopes and fears of the priests, religious and the lay faithful across the diocese culminating in the publication of the Living Church Report in 2012.  Father Alan was invited to set up and lead the Living Church Office to take forward the Diocesan Pastoral Plan commissioned by Bishop Noel Treanor.
Father Alan was the first director of the Permanent Diaconate within the diocese. The diocese now has sixteen serving permanent deacons, several of them married, ministering in parishes and chaplaincies across the diocese.
On 9 June 2017, Pope Francis appointed Bishop Alan as Bishop of Raphoe in Co Donegal, and he was ordained Bishop on 6 August 2017, based in Letterkenny.  Since this time, Bishop Alan has served in a number of responsibilities as a member of the Irish Bishops’ Conference, including as a member of its Standing Committee, as the Conference’s representative to the International Commission for English in the Liturgy, as chair of the Council for Justice and Peace / NICCOSA, as a member of the Council for Pastoral Renewal and Adult Faith Development, and as liaison Bishop with Pax Christi Ireland.