Sunday, September 25, 2016

Address by Bishop Fintan Monahan, Bishop of Killaloe

Fáilte – Welcome
 
Tá sé de phribhléid agam ag an bpoinnte seo fáilte a chur romhaibh arís anseo ag an Árd-Eaglais álainn seo in Inis, Condae an Chláir. Is mór agam an oiread sin daoine a fheicéail anseo inniu, go háirithe daoine a chuidigh go mór liom in aon bhealach ’theacht go dtí an lá mór seo.


A warm personal word of welcome to all you many guests from the diocese of Killaloe, from the Archdiocese of Tuam and much further afield. It is so wonderful to see so many taking the time to join in this special occasion here in this beautiful Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul here in Ennis.

Humility and Faith
 
I am still getting over the shock and surprise of being chosen by His Holiness, Pope Francis, to be your Pastor in this beautiful, historic and expansive diocese of Killaloe! I come here today with great humility, acutely aware of my own limitations and unworthiness to take on such a great and challenging role. It is indeed a great honour for me personally and it is only with great faith in the presence of the Lord to lead and guide me along with the great support of the wonderful and welcoming community in this diocese that I would even dream of taking on such an enormous task.


It seems though that I have arrived only in the nick of time … I recently heard from the Catholic Communications Office in Maynooth that it received a media query in the early summer asking “when will a new bishop be appointed to Killaloe because this is the longest time”, according to the journalist, “since Cromwell’s invasion of Ireland that we here in the diocese have been without a bishop?!” To me this is definitive proof – as if it were ever needed – that we possess very long memories in this part of the country! 

Episcopal Motto
 
The Episcopal Motto that I have chosen is Críost liom, Críost romham as Lúireach Naomh Pádraig (Christ be with me, Christ be before me) from the beginning of Saint Patrick’s Breastplate. I am reminded of the line from the psalm “If the Lord does not build the house, in vain does the builder labour”. With Christ at the centre of all that we do – anything is possible in faith terms for us personally and as a diocese!


Thanks to Organising Committee
 
Sincere thanks to the many who have diligently and pains-takingly prepared for this big occasion today. The committees under the guidance and leadership of diocesan secretary Father Ger Nash and Parish Priest, Father Tom Hogan did great work in preparing for today’s liturgy along with so many people who have taken part. Some details of who is involved are printed on the booklet. To all who did so much I am deeply grateful. Thank you to Canon Brendan Kilcoyne, a friend of many years for his inspiring homily today! Thanks also to the staff of the communications office in Maynooth for their assistance today as always, and to the diocesan communications officer Father Brendan Quinlivan for his great expertise and support.


Specific welcomes
 
A big welcome to my immediate family, Mam and Dad, Tom and Peg, Caitriona and Dom who have been such an outstanding rock of support, help and encouragement always. Thanks to the many close friends and neighbours who have been available always through good times and bad and without their help and assistance I would not be here today.


Welcome to Clergy
 
Welcome to Bishop Willie Walsh who was bishop of Killaloe from 1994-2010 and the ordaining metropolitan Archbishop Kieran O’Reilly who was bishop of Killaloe from 2010-2015. Welcome and thank you to Father Des Hillery who was the diocesan administrator for over 18 months along with being Parish Priest of one of the busiest parishes in the diocese, Nenagh town. 


Welcome to His Excellency, Archbishop Charles Brown, the Papal Nuncio; His Grace, Archbishop Eamonn Martin, Primate of All-Ireland; the consecrating bishops, and especially to Archbishop Michael Neary, to the concelebrating priests, the religious, lay groups and to each and every one of you.

Tuam Groups
 
Welcome to the priests of the Archdiocese of Tuam with whom I have worked so closely over the past twenty-five years along with parish representatives from various places I have served. I enjoyed every minute of my time in the Archdiocese and will certainly miss it in many ways.


Meeting in Rome
 
Just last week I attended in Rome what is often called a “baby-bishop’s course” and, as part of that, I had the privilege and delight to meet Pope Francis. Even though the Holy Father has little English and I have even less Italian – in our conversation we agreed to pray for each other and those to whom we minister. It was a most humbling experience to be asked in person by the Holy Father to pray for him personally!


I didn’t manage to invite him to include Killaloe in his itinerary if he decides to come to Ireland as part of the World of Meeting of Family celebration which will take place in Dublin on 22 – 26 August 2018, but I will have another opportunity to speak to Pope Francis during the Irish bishop’s Ad Limina visit to Rome in January, please God! We wait in hope!

Recent events in the Church
 
It’s been a busy and wonderful year in the Church as we celebrate the Year of Mercy that has captivated the interest of so many. We had the recent Canonization of Mother Teresa, now Saint Teresa, a saint for our day who spoke of the dark struggle, challenge and huge effort that is part of each and every Christian’s faith journey. As part of the preparation for the great gathering of families in 2018, Pope Francis gave us his most recent apostolic exhortation on love in the family, The Joy of Love, to nourish us in spirit.


Challenges / Objectives
 
As bishop of the diocese here in Killaloe there will be many challenges, priorities and points of focus, vocations promotion, care of the clergy, faith renewal, evangelization, continuing and expanding the great involvement of laity, youth ministry, religious education, safeguarding children in the Church, the protection of life, family ministry, liturgy, Eucharistic Adoration, bridging the east-west socio-economic divide which exists in Ireland, the role of Church in contemporary society, the falling away of sacramental practice, finding new ways to communicate the joy of the Gospel. Pope Benedict in recent years spoke of the future of the Church in Europe as being a “creative minority”. Please God new and creative and dynamic ways will be found to live and address these great challenges and opportunities. All to be addressed with faith in the good Lord’s presence and with the great support so palpable from so many there in Killaloe and elsewhere!


Support and welcome from the people here in Killaloe
 
Since announcement day on 29 July I have really hit the ground running with so many meetings of various different groups around the diocese, laity and clergy and have gained a good level of familiarity with the new diocese. To revisit and paraphrase that well used phrase – a lot done, much more to do! The level of warmth and support and welcome has been outstanding and for that I am deeply grateful and encouraged as I embark upon a new chapter in my ministry to Christ. On this special day may I ask you please to remember me in your prayers, as I will you.


Gach ní ar do Shon-sa
 
Is cuimhin liom nuair a bhí mé i mo shéiplíneach ar an Tulach, Baile na hAhann, blianta ó shin, bhí sár-mhúinteoir Teagaisc Chríostaí i Scoil Náisiúnta Cholmcille. Bhí paidir bheag aici chuile lá mar ofráil na maidne “Gach ní ar do shon-sa”. Gach ní in onóir agus mar ghlóir do’n Tiarna Dia. Gach ní ar son Íosa Chríost. Críost linn, Críost romhainn ar fad. Dia go deo linn inniu agus i gconaí!

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