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Pope Francis announces new bishop for diocese of Killaloe

By Sarah Mac Donald - 29 July, 2016

Fr Fintan Monahan is currently diocesan secretary in the archdiocese of Tuam and a member of the Communications Council of the Irish Episcopal Conference.

Tuam Diocesan Secretary, Fr Fintan Monahan and Enestina, who features in this year's Trócaire Lenten appeal, and her family.

Tuam Diocesan Secretary, Fr Fintan Monahan and Enestina, who featured on Trócaire Lenten appeal, and her family.

Pope Francis this morning announced the appointment of a priest of the archdiocese of Tuam as the new Bishop of Killaloe.

The announcement was made at the Cathedral of Ss Peter and Paul in Ennis, Co Clare by the papal nuncio, Archbishop Charles Brown.

The occasion was attended by Archbishop Kieran O’Reilly of Cashel and Emly, who was formerly Bishop of Killaloe; Bishop William Walsh, Bishop Emeritus of Killaloe and Fr Des Hillery, the diocesan administrator of Killaloe Diocese.

Fr Fintan Monahan is currently diocesan secretary in the archdiocese of Tuam and a member of the Communications Council of the Irish Episcopal Conference.

Bishop-elect Monahan is a fluent Irish speaker and is known to enjoy the outdoor life, hill walking, jogging, cycling, swimming and gardening.

The diocese of Killaloe has been without a bishop since the elevation of Dr Kieran O’Reilly as Archbishop of Cashel and Emly two years ago.

Speaking to representatives of his new diocese, Bishop-elect Monahan, who was ordained to the priesthood in Carraroe in 1991, said that having worked in a diocesan office for almost eleven years – “I know only too well the magnitude of the responsibilities and challenges that arrive on the desk of a bishop in Ireland today!”

Referring to the feast of Saint Martha, he said she was a model of service, hospitality and warmth and that the Gospel of the day sees Jesus encouraging her to develop the contemplative side of her spirit along with her hospitable nature.

“On this feast day, I pray for an abundance of both of these great qualities and gifts in my dealings with all to whom I minster in this diocese and everywhere, following the example of The Good Shepherd, Jesus Christ.”

Responding to the news, Archbishop Michael Neary welcomed the appointment saying Fr Monahan had served the Archdiocese of Tuam “very faithfully, with great dedication and distinction as a priest since his ordination 25 years ago”.

He described the 49-year-old priest as “a man of deep faith, integrity and humility, someone who radiates a great love for and joy in priesthood”.

Dr Neary added that all those qualities are very much appreciated by those to whom he ministers. “He brings great qualities of generosity, wholesomeness and leadership to his new responsibility.”

He also highlighted how being a bishop in the Ireland of today, “he will be confronted by many challenges” and added he believed that “with the grace of God and his own warm personality he will meet those challenges”.

While stressing that his appointment as Bishop of Killaloe is a huge loss to the Archdiocese of Tuam, the Archbishop said it was “a wonderful blessing to his new diocese and to the Church in Ireland at this time”.

In a statement on Friday morning, the Primate of All Ireland, Archbishop Eamon Martin offered his congratulations and prayerful good wishes to Fr Fintan Monahan on his appointment as Bishop of Killaloe today by Pope Francis.

“This is a very special day for Father Fintan himself, as well as for his family and friends. It is also a very special day for the Diocese of Killaloe to which Pope Francis has sent a new bishop,” he said.

He said Fr Monahan brings many pastoral and administrative gifts, including his outreach to young people, his promotion of vocations, his pastoral wisdom.

“All of these gifts and more besides – equip him well for his new tasks in Killaloe. As a valued member of the Council for Communications of the Episcopal Conference, Father Fintan is dedicated to harnessing new forms of media in order to proclaim the message of Jesus Christ to the contemporary world.”

The Archbishop of Armagh also thanked Fr Des Hillery for having carried out the duties as diocesan administrator of Killaloe for the past months in addition to his existing duties as parish priest of Nenagh.

“He has faithfully represented the diocese at the Episcopal Conference and has offered wise and prudent contributions to our discussion.”

Archbishop Kieran O’Reilly, whom Bishop-elect Monahan succeeds in Killaloe also paid tribute to the many gifts Fr Monahan brings with him to his new role.

He said that having worked for many years as diocesan secretary he is familiar with all that comes with a busy diocesan office.

“In addition to his work in promoting and encouraging vocations to the priesthood, Father Fintan is recognised as having invested much energy and leadership in the area of communications and especially in the area of digital media.”

Archbishop O’Reilly also paid tribute to Fr Des Hillery who acted as diocesan administrator of Killaloe while also administering the busy parish of Nenagh.

After completing postgraduate studies in theology, Fr Fintan ministered in An Tulach in the parish of An Cnoc Indreabhán before being appointed to the teaching staff of St Jarlath’s College, Tuam. Since 2006 he has served the diocese as diocesan secretary.

Life and ministry of Bishop-elect Monahan

  • Fintan Monahan was born in Tullamore, Co Offaly, on 23 January 1967.  His parents are Tom and Peg Monahan and he has one brother, Seán, and one sister, Caitríona, who is married to Dominic.  From 1980-1996 the family lived in Carraroe, Co Galway where his father was principal teacher at Scoil Chuimsitheach Chiaráin, An Cheathrú Rua. In 1996 the family moved to Castlegar, Galway City, the native home of his mother.
  • Primary education was in Tullamore and secondary education was in Carraroe before studying for the priesthood for the Archdiocese of Tuam in Saint Patrick’s College, Maynooth in 1984.  In 1987 he completed a B.Sc. in NUI Maynooth, a B.D. in the Pontifical University in 1990, an S.T.L. in Biblical Theology in 1992 and a H.Dip. in Education in NUI Galway in 1993.
  • Ordination to the priesthood was in Séipéal Mhic Dara, An Cheathrú Rua on 16 June 1991 by Archbishop Joseph Cassidy.  While studying for the H.Dip. in Education in Galway he was curate in An Tulach, Baile na hAbhann, Conamara from 1992-1993.  From 1993-2006 he taught Science, Irish and Religion at the diocesan college, Saint Jarlath’s College in Tuam, along with coaching basketball and hurling.
  • In 2006 Archbishop Michael Neary appointed him chaplain to Saint Jarlath’s College and diocesan secretary. During that time he also worked in the area of communications, vocations promotion and served as editor of the Tuam Diocesan Magazine, New Dawn. In recent years he joined the Communications Council of the Irish Episcopal Conference.

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