New archbishop to bring ‘wisdom and warmth’ to Limerick and Tipperary parishes

Donal O’Regan


Donal O’Regan

Pointing the way: Archbishop Dermot Clifford with the newly appointed Archbishop of Cashel and Emly, Kieran OReilly and Apostolic Nuncio, Archbishop Charles Brown outside the Cathedral of the Assumption in Thurles. Picture: John McElroy
OVER 10 County Limerick parishes from Doon to Knockainey and on to Kilbehenny will have a new archbishop next February.

OVER 10 County Limerick parishes from Doon to Knockainey and on to Kilbehenny will have a new archbishop next February.

Pope Francis has appointed Bishop Kieran O’Reilly SMA as Archbishop of Cashel and Emly in succession to Archbishop Dermot Clifford, who submitted his resignation after turning 75. The official announcement was made in the Cathedral of the Assumption, Thurles on Saturday.

The outgoing Bishop Of Killaloe, Kieran O’Reilly said that he is looking forward to serving all of the people of the Archdiocese of Cashel and Emly.

“I look forward to getting to know all those with whom I will be working so that we can strive together to build up a faith community that lives the joy of the Gospel

“A new appointment brings with it new challenges but with the support of all those who will collaborate with me in my ministry in Cashel and Emly I know that we will rise to meet those challenges. My first task will be to come to know the archdiocese, its people, its religious and its priests. It will be my privilege to share in their lives of faith and to listen to their concerns so that together we might grow in faith, in hope and in love,” said Archbishop O’Reilly, who paid tribute to Archbishop Clifford.

He expressed his appreciation for the “warm welcome I have received from Archbishop Clifford, to thank him for almost 30 years of devoted service to this faith community and to pray God’s blessing on him for a long and happy retirement.”

The 62-year-old Corkman was ordained for the Society of African Missions in 1978. The archbishop served in Liberia for two years before studying for a licentiate in Sacred Scripture at the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome. From 1984 to 1989 he lectured in scripture in Nigeria. From 1989 to 2010 he served on the Irish and International Councils of the Society of African Missions. In May 2010 he was appointed by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI as Bishop of Killaloe.

As Castleconnell is part of the Killaloe Diocese Archbishop O’Reilly is no stranger to the county and the Bishop of Limerick, Brendan Leahy has worked closely with him. This will continue as Cashel and Emly encompasses large swathes of the east and south-east of the county.

Bishop Leahy said Archbishop O’Reilly “will, no doubt, bring wisdom and warmth, energy and missionary zeal to his new assignment.”

“I was lucky to have Bishop Kieran as my neighbour in Killaloe and will also have Archbishop Kieran as my neighbour in Cashel and Emly. As Bishop of Killaloe, he was keen to forge strong links between the Diocese of Killaloe and the Diocese of Limerick. I’m sure he’ll now bring that collaborative vision to the whole province of Munster.

“I am personally grateful to him because both on the local level and at the level of the Bishops’ Conference, he has been most kind, encouraging and hospitable to me from the moment I began my ministry as Bishop of Limerick. I look forward to strengthening our bonds of collegiality and communion,” said Bishop Leahy, who also wished Archbishop Clifford the best on his retirement.

“I am grateful for his contribution in many often hidden ways to the Diocese of Limerick. He has travelled regularly to meetings of the board of trustees of Mary Immaculate College, of which he is a member for many years. His good advice and good humour have been appreciated and I know both Bishop Newman and Bishop Murray valued his fraternal presence and advice.” Archbishop Clifford warmly welcomed the choice of his successor.

“Over the years, I always prayed that I would be here and well enough to ordain my successor when I reached retirement age. As it turns out, I now find that I have already ordained him four years ago in Ennis! I recall that I anointed him liberally with the Oil of Chrism, without realising that I was anointing him for two dioceses!”

“I believe Bishop Kieran is the ideal man to work with priests and people in the work of evangelisation and spreading the good news.”