‘You have given me the fondest memories,’ Bishop Kelly tells congregation

In his final address as Bishop of Galway, Bishop Brendan Kelly paid tribute to all who had aided him throughout his time in the office, saying they have left him with the fondest memories.

Speaking at the Installation Mass for Bishop Michael Duignan, he also took the opportunity to congratulate the Papal Nuncio, Archbishop Jude Thaddeus Okolo who it was announced Sunday will be leaving Ireland to take up a similar position in the Czech Republic.

“My dear people and priests of this diocese, may I take a moment briefly to thank you for your patience and tolerance, your constant support, friendship and ceaseless prayer for me since I was transferred home to Galway as Bishop four years ago.

“And for the wonderful and blessed 37 years as priest amongst you before I was appointed Bishop of Achonry in late 2007. Today I have only the fondest memories. The goodness of people, the example you have shown me, the kindness and the calling forth, both here and in Achonry.

“I could never have imagined such a rich and blessed life. From my first day as a priest to today you have been my mentors, my teachers. You have revealed the face of God to me, the compassion of Jesus Christ. I thank you, and will never cease to thank God for you and beidh sibh chuile lá beo a mhaireas mé go buíoch im’ paidreacha. Faoi choimirce Muire Máthair go raibh an tEaspag Míchéal agus sibh ar fad chuile lá beo a mhaireas sibh.

Addressing Archbishop Okolo, he said that we we are conscious of the news from the Vatican today that your term of office with us is in Ireland is coming to an end, with your transfer to Prague as Apostolic Nuncio to the Czech Republic.

“You have been an assuring and friendly presence with us these past six years, travelling up and down the country, visiting all our dioceses and innumerable parishes. We will miss you, but we assure you our prayers go with you as you assume your new mission in Prague,” he said.

Deep joy

“My dear People of God, I am delighted to welcome you all this afternoon, both in person and on line, to the Cathedral of Our Lady Assumed into Heaven and St Nicholas here in Galway. We’ve all gathered to welcome Bishop Michael Duignan with deep joy and to accompany him in prayer, and to celebrate this Holy Eucharist with him. I am delighted to welcome him amongst us as our Shepherd for the foreseeable future. You are a gift for us from the Holy Spirit, through the Holy Father Pope Francis. Today you assume the service of Shepherd of God’s people here in the diocese of Galway, Kilmacduagh and Kilfenora, as entrusted to you earlier this year on the feast of our Lady of Lourdes, 11 February.

“Bishop Michael takes up the service as Bishop here along with that of being Bishop of Clonfert, and so a very special welcome is extended to all of you who have come from the parishes of Clonfert along with your priests. As neighbouring dioceses, we welcome the strengthening of the bonds between us represented by the fact that we now share the same pastor and shepherd, Bishop Michael, and the hope for the future of Church and faith in both our dioceses that this new arrangement promises. Bíodh muid ag guí go dúthrachtach ar a shon sin inniu. I welcome also the people of our own diocese, representing the 39 parishes, along with our priests.

Our gathering is enriched by the presence of many women and men religious and representatives of Religious congregations, orders and new movements living and ministering in the diocese. I welcome representatives from the Church of Ireland, Methodist and Presbyterian communities. Representatives from the Islamic community along with people from all religious traditions and secular worldviews. Our gathering is enriched greatly too by having some people from Ukraine who are now living in the Diocese. We are very much praying for you and your country at this terrible time.

A very special welcome is reserved finally for Bishop Michael’s mother Mona, his aunt and God-mother Vera, his other family members and close friends. We remember with him his late father, James. Bishop Michael, it is good for us that you are here and will be with us as shepherd and father of our diocese for the foreseeable future. Times are turbulent, and there are great changes and challenges. But you are never alone. The Lord who has called you will never fail you, nor will Pobal Dé na deoisí seo. Our prayers, the prayers of the people of God in this diocese are already with you, and will sustain you.


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