On Thursday last (April 22nd) Pope Benedict XVI accepted the resignation of Bishop Jim Moriarty who had served as bishop of the diocese since 2002.
The announcement was made following a meeting of the College of Consultors in Portlaoise on Sun. April 25th.
Following the announcement Msgr. Byrne said
"I am privileged to accept this new role and hope to continue the good work of Bishop Moriarty in encouraging us to respond to the challenges of the Gospel. I look forward to continuing the dialogue begun by Bishop Moriarty at recent diocesan meetings which considered a response to Pope Benedict's letter to the Irish people. Further meetings, to reflect on Pope Benedict's letter and also on Bishop Moriarty's own statement made on the day of his resignation, are already planned."
A diocesan administrator has responsibility for administering the day-to-day affairs of the diocese while a new bishop is awaited.
Msgr. Byrne was ordained to the priesthood in 1961 and appointed Vicar General of the Diocese of Kildare and Leighlin in 1998. A native of Knockananna, Co. Wicklow, he attended national school locally, followed by St. Mary's, Knockbeg College and St. Patrick's College, Maynooth. Msgr. Byrne is the youngest of a family of eight.
After ordination (1961) he was appointed curate in Clane, Co. Kildare. In 1963 he was appointed to the teaching staff of Knockbeg College, Carlow and served there until 1989, being rector for the final four years ('85/'89).
Msgr. Byrne has been Parish Priest of Tullow, Co. Carlow, since.
Msgr. Byrne chaired the Kildare and Leighlin Diocesan Pastoral Council for a number of years, currently chairs a diocesan group examining pastoral issues like clustering and co-operation among parishes and was secretary of the Council of Priests.
He is a fluent French speaker, enjoys hill walking in his spare time and is a keen GAA supporter.SIC: DKL