The ceremonial installation of Bishop Brendan Kelly as Bishop of Galway is expected to coincide with the official announcement of the papal visit by Pope Francis to Ireland.
The ceremony will take place at Galway Cathedral on the afternoon of February 11 and is expected to be attended by a virtual who’s who of the Catholic hierarchy in Ireland.
However, there is speculation that the high profile event will coincide with the announcement of the visit of Pope Francis to Ireland next August. The papal visit, to coincide with the World Meeting of Families which the Archdiocese of Dublin is hosting, has not yet been confirmed, but high level talks are taking place in the Vatican to draw up the itinerary for what would be only the second ever papal visit to Ireland.
Speaking in Galway this week, Monsignor Piotr Tarnawski, secretariat for the Papal Nuncio said that it was the norm for the papal travel schedule to be announced six months in advance of any visit and that in this regard, he would expect an announcement some time around February.
The expectation is that a Mass on Sunday, August 26, will conclude the six-day event with Croke Park the preferred venue, having hosted 80,000 for the Eucharistic Congress in 2012, and the GAA is open to accommodating it.
Already, next year’s All-Ireland Football Final has been put back a week to allow for this event.
There are hopes in Galway that Pope Francis would visit the west of Ireland for a repeat of the scenes from 1979 when crowds thronged to Ballybrit for a youth mass celebrated by Pope John Paul II.
The installation of Bishop Kelly as Bishop of Galway, Kilmacduagh and Kilfenora will take place in the same cathedral where he was ordained a priest in 1971 by Bishop Michael Browne.
Bishop Brendan remained on the staff of Coláiste Éinde until 1980 when he was transferred to the teaching staff of Our Lady’s College, Gort, becoming president in 1986.
Following the 1995 amalgamation of the three Gort secondary schools, Bishop Brendan applied for and was granted sabbatical leave from his diocese for one year and went to live with the L’Arche Community at Cuise-la-Motte in France. Founded by Jean Vanier in 1964, the worldwide L’Arche movement seeks to create inclusive, creative and caring families where people with and without intellectual disabilities live and work in friendship, joy and mutual respect.
Returning to his diocese in 1996, Bishop Brendan was appointed by Bishop James McLoughlin as Parish Priest of Lisdoonvarna in Co Clare and subsequently as Parish Priest of An Spidéal in 2003.
On 20 November 2007, Bishop Brendan was named by Pope Benedict XVI as the Bishop of Achonry, succeeding recently retired Bishop Thomas Flynn. On 27 January 2008 he was ordained to the episcopate by Cardinal Seán Brady in the Cathedral of the Annunciation and Saint Nathy in Ballaghaderreen.
There is extensive coverage of the selection of Bishop Kelly throughout this newspaper.