By Katie Ascough - 17 September, 2020
The Episcopal Ordination Mass for Bishop-elect Martin Hayes will take place at 3 p.m. this coming Sunday 20 September. The Mass will take place in the Cathedral of Saint Patrick & Saint Felim in Cavan in the Diocese of Kilmore and the Primate of All Ireland, Archbishop Eamon Martin of Armagh, will be the Principal Consecrator and will preach the homily. His Excellency Archbishop Jude Thaddeus Okolo, Apostolic Nuncio to Ireland, with Archbishop Kieran O’Reilly SMA, will be the co-consecrators for this Episcopal Ordination.
Bishop-elect Martin Hayes was born in Borris (Newhill) in Thurles, County Tipperary, on 24 October 1959. His late parents were Daniel and Mary Agnes, and Martin is the eldest of five sons and three daughters, one of whom died in infancy.
Martin received his primary school education in Saint Kevin’s National School, Littleton, and secondary school education in CBS, Thurles. In September 1977, he began his studies in Production Engineering at NIHE Limerick, now the University of Limerick. As part of the course programme he worked at Wyeth Ireland in Askeaton, Co Limerick (1979) and at Ecco Ltd in Dundalk, Co Louth (1980). He graduated in 1981 with a BSc in Manufacturing Technology. In November 1981 Martin took up a position as a quality engineer with Amdahl Computers in Swords, Dublin, completing his initial orientation with the parent plant in Silicon Valley, California, where he was given responsibility for setting up quality control systems for new products.
During his studies in Limerick, he became involved in Muintearas Íosa, a youth faith initiative which continues to keep the three flames of Fáilte (welcome), Foghlaim (learning) and Guí (prayer) alive in the diocese. He was instrumental in organising Muintearas Íosa events in Dublin and in his native Archdiocese of Cashel & Emly in the early 1980s.
In September 1983, he entered Saint Patrick’s College, Thurles, to study for the priesthood in the Archdiocese of Cashel & Emly. Having completed a Certificate in Philosophical Studies and a Diploma in Theology, he was ordained a deacon on 4 April 1988 and to the priesthood on 10 June 1989 by Archbishop Dermot Clifford who was Archbishop of Cashel & Emly at the time.
Father Martin undertook further studies at the Gregorian University in Rome and completed a Licentiate in Philosophy (Anthropology) in 1991 while staying at the Pontifical Irish College. He was then appointed to the teaching staff at Saint Patrick’s College, Thurles, and taught philosophy until 2001. During this period of his ministry, Father Martin worked as a marriage preparation course facilitator with Accord, served as its Diocesan Director with the personnel of the Thurles and Tipperary centres and established an administrative office to coordinate Accord’s activities. In 1997 he was appointed Bursar at Saint Patrick’s College. As part of diocesan millennium initiatives and in cooperation with the then Mid-Western Health Board, Father Martin was instrumental is setting up SUAS (Suicide: Understanding and Support) – a listening service for those bereaved by suicide. Throughout his time at Saint Patrick’s College he worked in parishes in the Diocese of Sacramento, California, during the summer months.
In August 2001 Father Martin undertook a sabbatical year studying at the Jesuit School of Theology, Berkeley, California, and separately at Tabgha Farm – Centre for Ecology & Spirituality, located in Cessnock, New South Wales, Australia.
In September 2002 Father Martin was appointed as curate to Thurles Parish with responsibility for Saints Joseph & Brigid Church, Bothar na Naomh. He resumed his facilitation of marriage preparation courses with Accord Thurles, served on the Accord National Executive Council and provided supervisory support for Accord personnel in the South-East Region. He became an active member of the ‘Cashel & Emly Ongoing Formation and Education of Priests Committee’ from its inception in 2003.
Father Martin worked as a part-time lecturer in Introduction to Philosophy on the newly established Bachelor of Arts in Education, Business Studies & Religious Studies course for secondary school student teachers which was delivered in Saints Patrick’s College, Thurles. He also engaged with the two-year Ecology & Theology programme provided by the Columban Fathers, in Dalgan Park, Navan, County Meath, on an audit basis.
In July 2007 Father Martin was appointed Administrator of the Cathedral of the Assumption, Thurles. Working in collaboration with a group of lay people, he encouraged the celebration of relationships with the established voluntary organisations in Thurles, promoting the ongoing development of pastoral outreach and faith development groups which culminated in the formation of a Parish Pastoral Council in 2017.
During Father Martin’s term as Administrator, Saints Joseph & Brigid’s Church, Bothar na Naomh was renovated, a Pastoral Centre (Lámh Chunta) was constructed and the cathedral presbytery was refurbished. Father Martin was elected a member of the Cashel & Emly Council of Priests, having previously served as its recording secretary and was appointed as a member of the diocesan committee for safeguarding children.
Father Martin co-ordinated preparations for the Episcopal installation of Archbishop Kieran O’Reilly SMA at the Cathedral of the Assumption, Thurles, on 8 February 2015. Elected chairman of the new Council of Priests, and re-elected in 2020, Father Martin became involved as a member of the newly established Diocesan Pastoral Council. He was also a member of the Seinn Diocesan Committee which promotes and organises liturgical singing and music events involving the secondary school students at the cathedral.
In August 2017 Father Martin was appointed to the full-time position of Director of Pastoral Planning & Development in the Archdiocese of Cashel & Emly and he took up residence at the Parochial House, Knockanrawley, Tipperary Town. In conjunction with the Diocesan Pastoral Council, he co-ordinated the diocesan-wide ‘Listening Process’ with 46 parishes over 2017-18, alongside a ‘Listening to Priests’ which was commissioned by the Archdiocese.
In preparation for the 9th World Meeting of Families (WMOF) and the visit of Pope Francis to Ireland in 2018, Father Martin served as delegate for the diocese and this involved chairing its WMOF Diocesan Committee, organising a Diocesan Family Fun Day, producing a Family Prayer Booklet and co-ordinating diocesan liturgies.
After WMOF Father Martin’s focus returned to the diocesan consultation as the outcomes of both listening processes became the subject of ongoing discussion with priests and parish groups at ‘Gatherings of Parishes’ throughout 2019. This has resulted in the establishment of necessary supports for priests and interim training for parish leadership groups. A draft pastoral plan was formulated in spring 2020 and feedback is currently being processed with a view to implementing a Diocesan Pastoral Plan for parishes over the years 2020-2025.
The Diocese of Kilmore, of which Father Martin Hayes will soon be bishop, includes almost all of County Cavan and a portion of counties Leitrim, Fermanagh, Meath and Sligo. The diocese has a Catholic population of about 69,000 people, served by 51 priests, who minister in 34 parishes comprising 95 churches. The patrons of the diocese are Saint Patrick, who is celebrated on 17 March, and Saint Felim on 9 August. See www.kilmorediocese.ie.