BISHOP Brendan Leahy has presided over his first confirmation ceremonies as the figurehead of the Diocese of Limerick.
Ellie Roche, daughter of Tony and Mary from Dooradoyle, had the honour of being the first pupil to receive the rite at a ceremony at Raheen Church last Thursday.
She was one of 72 youngsters from three classes at St Nessan’s National School in Mungret to be confirmed by Bishop Leahy, the first time in four years the school has had a bishop to do the honours.
“We were the first school in Limerick where Bishop Leahy actually performed the ceremony with three classes in total so we were very pleased about that,” said principal Colm Ward.
“Everybody was most complimentary about our new bishop. He spoke very well to them about getting the gift of wisdom as one of the gifts from the Holy Spirit and spoke to them in a very engaging way in their own terms and at their own level.”
Bishop Leahy had also been “very accommodating in staying around to pose for pictures with the children and the parents afterwards”, Mr Ward said.
Pupils in Crecora, St Michael’s, Our Lady of the Rosary, Killeedy and Coolcappa/Kilcolman parishes were all confirmed by the new bishop in his first days on the job while the rite was due to be received by pupils in Bruff and Bruree/Rockhill this Friday.
Ahead of his ordination last week, at which primary school pupils around the city and county played a central role, Bishop Leahy spoke of the importance of putting young people at the heart of the activities of the diocese.
“The ordination was such an incredible personal experience and I am eternally grateful to all who participated in making it so special. But before that I was already looking forward to getting out into the diocese and working with the people and the confirmations I have celebrated have enabled me to do that very quickly,” said Bishop Leahy.
“I couldn’t be more happy with the response from the people of Limerick. They have shown me such warmth and goodwill that they have given me an immediate sense that I am one of their own, which is something I really appreciate.
“I have also been struck by the importance of faith in the diocese already and this has come through vividly from both young and older over the past week and more. The sacrament of confirmation is very important to them which is reassuring.
“The children receiving the sacrament are also among the first to do so with oils blessed by the Apostolic Nuncio Archbishop Charles recently here in Limerick, which adds to the sense of occasion. I’m just looking forward now to continuing my own initiation throughout the diocese.”