Bishop Martin Drennan to retire on medical grounds

A diocesan administrator will be appointed to oversee matters until successor is appointed

Bishop Martin Drennan

Bishop Martin Drennan

The announcement was made in Rome at 11am (Irish time ) that His Holiness Pope Francis has accepted the retirement of Most Reverend Martin Drennan, Bishop of Galway and Kilmacduagh, and Apostolic Administrator of Kilfenora, on grounds of ill health and on medical advice. 

Bishop Drennan is stepping down from his position with immediate effect. The Diocesan College of Consulters will convene in the coming days to appoint a Diocesan Administrator who will oversee the administration of our diocese until his successor is appointed.

In a statement he said that "I want to inform you and, through you, the people in your pastoral care, of a significant decision I have made.

"Having given it very careful thought and having sought and taken advice, I have decided, for medical reasons, to ask the Holy Father to allow me retire from the office of Bishop of Galway and Kilmacduagh and the office of Apostolic Administrator of Kilfenora. Pope Francis has most kindly granted this request.

"My retirement comes into effect on the morning of Friday, July 29th, 2016.

"The Diocesan College of Consulters will convene in the coming days to appoint a Diocesan Administrator who will oversee the administration of our diocese until my successor is appointed.

"My eleven years here have been among the happiest and most fulfilled of my life. When I succeeded Bishop James McLoughlin in 2004 you, the priests and people of Galway, Mayo and Clare, made me welcome. Since then, your support and kindness, your prayers and your affirmation, have been a real source of strength and inspiration to me. For this I will be forever grateful. It was a privilege to be your Bishop. From deep in my heart I say thank you.

"My retirement takes place during this Holy Year of Mercy and I sincerely ask forgiveness from anyone among you I may have hurt in any way during my time as Bishop. I offer my loyalty and my wholehearted support to my successor and I ask you for your continued prayers. You will always be in mine,” he concluded.

In a statement, Fr. Diarmuid Hogan, Diocesan Spokesperson said that It will be as an honourable man of calm, dignity, quiet and prayer that Bishop Drennan will be best remembered. 

"We have been blessed to have had Bishop Martin Drennan in our diocese as a preacher, writer, teacher and leader, as a man of deep thought and of great integrity. He has been someone on whose word you could rely. He spoke from his heart, his words were wise and thoughtful and he spoke without guile or malice. 

"Of course this did not always make him a great politician but he has been an outstanding priest and, in the truest sense of the words, a ‘good shepherd’. Even during his recent bout of ill-health he has been tough and tenacious, always focused and always deeply committed to his duties. 

"Hurlers from south-Kilkenny don't always settle well here in the West but Martin Drennan did. And we are glad he did,” concluded Fr Hogan.

Martin Drennan was born on 2nd January, 1944 in Piltown, County Kilkenny. Educated at Tobernabrone National School and St. Kieran's College, Kilkenny, he studied for the priesthood at St Patrick's College, Maynooth from where he was ordained to the priesthood in 1968. His brother Michael is also a priest.

?Following his Ordination he continued his studies in Rome where he was awarded a Licentiate in both Sacred Theology and Sacred Scripture.

?On his return to Ireland Fr. Martin served as curate in both St. Mary's Cathedral Parish in Kilkenny and then in Ballycallan. From 1975 he taught Sacred Scripture at St. Kieran's College, returning to Rome in 1980 to become Spiritual Director at the Irish College there for the next five years.

?When Fr. Martin again returned home he became a Lecturer in Sacred Scripture at St. Patrick's College, Maynooth where he continued to teach until his appointment as Auxiliary Bishop of Dublin in 1997. His area of pastoral responsibility in that time was East Wicklow and South Dublin.

?On the retirement of Bishop James McLoughlin Bishop Drennan was chosen as Bishop of Galway and Kilmacduagh and Apostolic Administrator of Kilfenora and he was installed on 3rd July 2005 in Galway Cathedral.

?In the subsequent eleven years Bishop Drennan instigated and oversaw many worthy initiatives and developments in the diocese including the founding of the Good Shepherd Parish at the east edge of Galway city and the reordering of parish boundaries and personnel throughout the diocese in response to changing demographics. 

?Last year he welcomed Cardinal Sean O'Malley to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the dedication of Galway Cathedral. And in this, his last year as shepherd to the people of this diocese, Bishop Drennan had the joy of ordaining three men to the priesthood; Fr. Michael King who is taking up an appointment as curate in Gort, Fr John O’Halloran who is taking up an appointment as curate in the Good Shepherd Parish at the eastern edge of Galway city and Fr. Daniel Gallagher who is taking up an appointment as curate in Oranmore.

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