He spoke to the gathering and introduced himself as well as sharing his reaction to his appointment as Bishop of Killaloe by Pope Francis.
Go mbeannaí Dia dhíbh ar fad agus fáilte romhaibh inniu.
Having worked in a diocesan office for almost eleven years – I know only too well the magnitude of the responsibilities and challenges that arrive on the desk of a bishop in Ireland today!
However, aware of the presence and providence of the Lord, the good will and cooperation of so many people so willing to help, I joyfully and earnestly set about the work I am called to do here in Killaloe.
Being totally new to this role and the Diocese of Killaloe, I look forward to learning all about the place and collaborating closely with priests, religious and people of the many parishes in the wide territory covered by the diocese.
My name is Fintan Monahan. I’m 49 years old. I was born in Tullamore, Co Offaly. My family moved from Offaly to Carraroe, Co Galway, in December 1979. Since 1996 our family home base has been Castlegar, Galway.
I was ordained to the priesthood in Carraroe in 1991. Tar éis staidéar a dhéanamh i Má Nuad chaith mé bliain amháin ag obair mar shéiplíneach ar An Tulach, Baile na hAbhann, i nGaeltacht Chonamara.
For the past 23 years I have ministered in Tuam, Co Galway, 13 years teaching in Saint Jarlath’s College and the past 10 years as diocesan secretary for that Archdiocese along with being chaplain in Saint Jarlath’s.
I am delighted to be with you – people and priests of this diocese. I have always felt a great sense of warmth, kindness and welcome in relation to people from the area of the south and mid-west in which Killaloe is located.
I look forward to working with you to continue the great spirit of collaboration, priests and people working closely together, a long established tradition that has been clearly so evident here in Killaloe and you are so well known for.
It is a privilege to be able to continue the great work in the area of evangelisation, faith development, clustering, pastoral planning, vocations promotion, care of priests, youth ministry, safeguarding children, liturgy, prayer and spirituality.
Providing support and pastoral assistance for families will be a big part of our work in the Church in Ireland as we prepare diligently for The World Meeting of Families which is being hosted in Ireland in 2018.
Today is the feast of Saint Martha who is a model of service, hospitality and warmth and the Gospel of the day sees Jesus encouraging her to develop the contemplative side of her spirit along with her hospitable nature.
On this feast day, I pray for an abundance of both of these great qualities and gifts in my dealings with all to whom I minster in this diocese and everywhere, following the example of The Good Shepherd, Jesus Christ.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank a number of people for their kindness and assistance at this point:
To the Administrator of the diocese, Father Des Hillery who has been looking after the diocese since January of 2015.
It cannot have been easy for him combining that with all the duties he has as parish priest of a busy parish like Nenagh.
Thank you also to Father Des for his warm welcome, courtesy and advice since we first spoke on Monday last.
To my own classmate Father Ger Nash, the current diocesan secretary, always a rock of sense, wisdom and friendship.
I would like to pay tribute and gratefully acknowledge the presence of Archbishop Kieran O’Reilly the most recent bishop of this diocese, for all the great work he did in such a short space of time from 2010-2014.
Welcome and thank you also to Bishop Willie Walsh who was bishop here from 1994-2010 for his great work and contribution in so many fields. I had an opportunity to leaf through his recent biography No Crusader during the week and it gave me a great flavour and sense of the diocese.
Thank you to His Excellency Archbishop Charles J Brown for his guidance and advice over the past couple of weeks. He has been a great source of encouragement and guidance.
My own bishop, Archbishop Michael Neary, has been an outstanding support and wonderful example and role model to me since the very first day I started in Maynooth to this present day.
I know with the experience that I have gained and trust he has placed in me in my role as diocesan secretary that my vocation in the shepherding of the diocese here in Ennis will be made much easier.
I have a huge interest in sport and many aspects of outdoor life. One of the things I most like to do is to spend time in the hills and the mountains. It will be quite a change to swap the Maam Turks, the Twelve Bens and Croagh Patrick for the hills and walkways of the Burren and surrounding countryside.
It is a transition that I look forward to making with keen interest and in the spirit of adventure.
Today is Garland Friday, the start of Reek Weekend where people make the annual trek to climb Croagh Patrick.
I know in taking on this role and task and privilege of being Bishop of Killaloe that I am climbing a huge mountain.
In the spirit of making a pilgrimage to the above mentioned Holy Mountain, I make this journey in faith, hope and love and know that I can rely on the guarantee of your prayers, support, cooperation and friendship.
There is a job to be done. The sleeves are rolled up. I’m happy to join the meitheal of work that is on-going in this prayerful community of faith that is Killaloe diocese.
May the Lord be with us all as we continue our work for the Lord.
In the words of the ancient Irish 17th Century Prayer often said when embarking on a journey:
In ainm an Athar le bua,
In ainm an Mhic a d’fhulaing an phian,
In ainm an Spiorad Naoimh le neart,
Muire is a Mac linn inár dtriall. Áiméan!