By Ann Marie Foley - 17 July, 2014
Bishop Denis Nulty has announced extensive changes to the structuring of the Diocese of Kildare & Leighlin as he comes to the end of his first year as bishop there.
These changes will see the consolidation of the diocese’s seven current deaneries into three new deaneries.
The North, South and West deaneries will incorporate 56 parishes.
Another significant change is that the official appointments list will apply to permanent deacons in the diocese.
Bishop Nulty paid tribute to the seven recently ordained permanent deacons and said they have already made a significant contribution to the life of the diocese.
On Wednesday, the bishop announced new appointments for deacons, priests and diocesan vicars, as well as the retirement of three priests.
In a statement Bishop Nulty stated: “This is not change for the sake of change. These changes reflect discussions that have been ongoing in the diocese for a number of years, discussions that have involved both priests and people, discussing how we can best share the Lord’s Mission in the years ahead.”
Having spent his first year among the people, the religious and priests of the diocese, he said the changes “reflect the unfolding pastoral reality in our diocese.”
He suggested that the three new deaneries would provide a good platform for ongoing renewal into the future.
He thanked the three newly appointed vicars who have taken on leadership along with Mgr John Byrne.
For the first time ever there will also be a full-time Vocations Director, and a Vicar to support and care for Priests.
“The full–time Vocations Director will be responsible for actively promoting vocations to the priesthood and the permanent diaconate.
The Vicar for support and care for priests is an appointment which is aware of the expectations that are continuously being made of priests in pastoral ministry today Bishop Nulty said.
A Vicar has also been appointed to coordinate the challenging area of education and evangelisation in the diocese.
All the new appointments and new changes come into effect on 1 September 2014.
The Diocesan Vicars are:
Mgr John Byrne PP, Portlaoise to be Vicar General.
V Rev Fr Tom Little Adm, Askea, PP, Bennekerry / Tinryland, to be Vicar Forane – Kildare & Leighlin South.
V Rev Fr Mícheál Murphy PP, Mountmellick to be Vicar Forane – Kildare & Leighlin West.
Rev Fr Paul Dempsey CC, Newbridge to be Vicar Forane – Kildare & Leighlin North.
V Rev Fr Andy Leahy PP, Tullow to be Episcopal Vicar for the Pastoral Care of Priests.
V Rev Fr John Cummins Adm, Cathedral to be Episcopal Vicar for Education & Evangelisation.