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Joyous celebration as Meath diocese gets new bishop

By Cian Molloy - 03 September, 2018

Meath’s new Cork-born bishop, Tom Deenihan, is given a joyous welcome to the diocese by a delighted member of his flock. (Pic: John McElroy)

The new Bishop of Meath, Tom Deenihan, was consecrated at Mullingar Cathedral on Sunday.

Bishop Deenihan told the congregation at the Episcopal consecration that he had had a “remarkable” summer since the Papal Nuncio, Archbishop Thaddeus Okolo, told him last June of his appointment.

“I have experienced a range of emotions: fear, unworthiness, apprehension and a certain calmness that comes from a combination of faith and the support of family, friends and colleagues in the priesthood both in Cork and in Meath,” he said.

“The words in the Papal Bulla or Mandate of Appointment, ‘Do not let undue anxiety deter you’, have been a reassurance and important for me.”

Bishop Deenihan paid tribute to his predecessor Bishop Michael Smith, who is Ireland’s longest-serving bishop. He was made head of the Meath diocese in 1984.

He said that one of the duties that he was looking forward to was taking place at the end of this month, when he will officiate at the priestly ordination of Fergal Cummins, who was serving as a deacon at yesterday’s Episcopal consecration.

Bishop Deenihan said: “That will be a day of great rejoicing for the diocese because an ordination means a priest for a parish. We must all keep vocations to the fore in our prayers and in encouraging those who may be called to priesthood or religious life. If Christ personally invited his followers to follow him, why should we think it would be different in our day? We must, all of us, give that word of invitation and encouragement.”

Bishop Deenihan thanked the many people present and all those who had helped in the course of his priestly vocation. He said he hoped that all those present in the cathedral had found the celebration to be joyful.

“That word ‘joy’ is critical to what we are and to what we believe as Christians,” he said. “Be it as bishops, priests or deacons, our ministry must be joyful. Pope Francis referred to this in Evangelii Gaudium, when he stated that ‘one of the more serious temptations which stifles boldness and zeal is a defeatism that can turn us into querulous and disillusioned pessimists, sour pusses’!

“As I begin my new ministry as Bishop of Meath, pray with me and for me that I and all who minister in this diocese will treasure and foster that sense of joy that transcends our own worries, failings and shortcomings, and enables us to reach out to others.”

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