THE Diocese of Limerick has announced that Fr Brendan Leahy is the new Bishop of Limerick.
Fr Leahy, who will take up his appointment in the spring, was announced as the incoming Bishop of Limerick by Diocesan Administrator Fr Tony Mullins on the steps of St John’s Cathedral at 11am today to coincide with the announcement in Rome by His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI at midday (local time).
Also present for the announcement was Apostolic Nuncio, His Excellency Charles Brown along with a number of priests of the Diocese.
Fr Leahy will succeed Bishop Donal Murray, who retired as Bishop in December 2009. Fr Mullins has for the past three years served as Diocesan Administrator.
Addressing the gathering at St John’s Cathedral, Fr Mullins said that Fr Leahy’s appointment “as our Bishop and Shepherd” comes at a time of great challenge in the Diocese but also one of great opportunity.
“The Church, including our own Diocese, has been going through one of its most difficult periods but I believe Fr Leahy’s appointment comes at a real turning point. We have worked hard to build confidence amongst the faithful and Fr Leahy’s appointment will enhance the trust, renewal and sense of leadership in the Church, all of which is gravely needed in the times we live in today,” said Fr Mullins.
Addressing parishioners who flocked to St John’s Cathedral after getting word at Masses across the city of the impending announcement, Fr Leahy said he was humbled by his appointment.
“Being appointed Bishop of Limerick is certainly not something I foresaw as part of my life’s journey, but I am very grateful to Pope Benedict for opening up for me a new stage in life among the people and places of the historical and renowned diocese of Limerick. I am pleased to be a successor to Bishop Donal Murray whom I very warmly greet. I look forward very much to getting to know the people of this diocese, especially young people,” he said.
Rev Brendan Leahy is professor of Theology at St Patrick’s College, Maynooth, and author of numerous publications.
With both his parents coming from Ballyferriter parish in West Kerry, Father Brendan has roots in Kerry. In the 1940s his father taught for a year in Athea, County Limerick.