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Armagh to get new bishop on Sunday

By Cian Molloy - 20 July, 2019

A bishop and a priest standing next to each other in a church.

Bishop-elect Fr Michael Router (right) with Archbishop Eamon Martin when the Cavan priest’s elevation to the hierarchy was announced by Pope Francis last May.

Fr Michael Router is to be consecrated as an auxiliary bishop of Armagh and assistant to Archbishop Eamon Martin, the Primate of All Ireland.

Fr Router’s elevation to the hierarchy was announced by Pope Francis in May this year. The 54-year-old Cavanman will be appointed the titular bishop of Lugmad, which was once a diocese centred on Co Louth.

Bishops who previously held the title include Thomas Winning, who went on to become Archbishop of Glasgow and a member of the College of Cardinals.

Fr Router’s consecration ceremony is due to take place tomorrow at 3pm at St Patrick’s Cathedral, Armagh.

The concelebrants will include Archbishop Martin; Cardinal Seán Brady, Archbishop Emeritus of Armagh; Archbishop Kieran O’Reilly of Cashel & Emly; Archbishop Jude Thaddeus Okolo, Apostolic Nuncio to Ireland; Bishop Leo O’Reilly, Bishop Emeritus of Kilmore Diocese; Monsignor Liam Kelly, Administrator of Kilmore Diocese, and many other diocesan bishops. Also present will be the Church of Ireland Primate, Archbishop Richard Clarke of Armagh, and the Rev Louise Donald of the Methodist Church in Ireland.

In the congregation also will be members of Fr Router’s family, including his parents Anthony and Nora and his sisters Breda and Martina. Each of Armagh’s 61 parishes will have representatives present at the ceremony.

Born in 1965 in Virginia, Co Cavan, Fr Router shares a love of GAA, and sports in general, with his predecessor Archbishop Emeritus Cardinal Seán Brady. He joined the national seminary at Maynooth in 1982, after studying at his local national school and then at Kells CBS College.

He was ordained as a Kilmore diocesan priest by the late Bishop Francis McKiernan in September 1987 and began his ministry as a curate in Killinkere, which lies between his home parish of Virginia and Bailieborough, where he has until this week been serving as parish priest. His pastoral experience also includes time spent as chaplain of Bailieborough Community School in the late 1990s.

In 2002, he commenced studies at the Mater Dei Institute of Education in Dublin, during which time he assisted in the Parish of Our Lady of Good Counsel in Drimnagh.

On his return to the Kilmore Diocese, he was appointed diocesan director of adult faith formation and pastoral renewal, while also serving as priest in residence in the parish of Castletara and Ballyhaise. where his duties included providing training, encouragement and support for parish pastoral councils, liturgy groups, eucharistic ministers and ministers of the Word. He also helped to provide adult religious education courses in the Diocesan Pastoral Centre, and in Manorhamilton, which were accredited by the Mater Dei Institute of Education and the Maryvale Institute. During this time, he also wrote regular columns on religious matters for the Anglo-Celt and Cavan Voice newspapers.

More than one newspaper has described Fr Router as “sports mad”. He has experience in coaching Gaelic football and basketball. His two biggest sporting loves are the Cavan Gaelic Football team and Bristol City FC.

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