By Sarah Mac Donald - 16 April, 2019
Archbishop Eamon Martin of Armagh has been appointed as Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Dromore by Pope Francis. The announcement was made on Monday.
Dr Martin is the Metropolitan Archbishop of the province of Armagh, which includes the dioceses of Armagh, Ardagh & Clonmacnoise, Clogher, Derry, Down & Connor, Dromore, Kilmore, Meath, and Raphoe.
Bishop Philip Boyce, the retired bishop of Raphoe, took over the role of administrator in Dromore at short notice last year following the resignation of Bishop John McAreavey.
In a statement, Archbishop Martin thanked Bishop Boyce for giving up a full year of his retirement to take on the governance of Dromore.
Dr Martin described himself as “humbled” by Pope Francis’ request and “grateful for his confidence in me”.
He said, “It will be an honour for me to serve the people, priests and religious of Dromore during this transitional time for the diocese,” and asked for people’s prayers as he takes up this new responsibility.
The Diocese of Dromore has a Catholic population of 90,000 spread over 22 parishes and it currently has 25 priests in active ministry.
Bishop John McAreavey resigned last year over criticisms of his “error of judgement” in officiating at the funeral of abuser Fr Malachy Finegan in 2002.
In a letter to the people, clergy and religious of Dromore, Archbishop Eamon Martin said one of his first priorities in the diocese will be to receive a full briefing on safeguarding issues and to be updated on any statutory investigations into these matters.
“I shall, of course, fully cooperate with developments in this regard,” he stated.
He added that he would also strongly encourage the positive pastoral initiatives and administrative developments already under way in the diocese to ensure that the parishes of Dromore remain vibrant, missionary and in a state of readiness for the future.
Archbishop Martin will celebrate the annual Chrism Mass for the priests and people of the Diocese of Dromore at 10:30 a.m. on Holy Thursday in the Cathedral of St Patrick & St Colman, Newry, and Easter Sunday Mass at 10 a.m. also in the cathedral.