Pope Francis today appointed Father Francis Duffy as Bishop of Ardagh and Clonmacnois. Father Duffy, a priest of Diocese of Kilmore, succeeds Bishop Colm O’Reilly who will be retiring. The appointment was announced by Archbishop Charles Brown, the Apostolic Nuncio to Ireland.
During a press conference today, Bishop O’ Reilly welcomed the news of the appointment and expressed his gratitude to the Holy Father for naming Fr. Duffy as his successor.
“Father Francis has a wide range of experience in ministry, as teacher, Secondary School Principal and Diocesan Secretary. His current position in the Parish of Laragh adds, at first hand, an understanding of ministry in the parish context. All this experience will stand him in good stead in his new ministry,” Bishop O’Reilly said.
Noting that Fr. Duffy shares his name with Pope Francis, Bishop O’Reilly said that the diocese will “get accustomed to praying for Francis, our Pope Francis, our Bishop!”
“May this coincidence of a name shared also be symbolic of the sense of new beginning which is felt in the Church worldwide and in a particularly joyful way in Ardagh and Clonmacnois,” Bishop O’Reilly said.
Regarding his future predecessor, Fr. Duffy thanked Bishop O’Reilly for his welcome and praised him for his service to the diocese. “I am conscious that I am following a wise and compassionate pastor and a much-loved bishop,” Fr. Duffy said. “I hope to tap into his great wisdom and extensive knowledge gained over thirty years as bishop.”
Regarding his shock at being named bishop, the soon to be bishop stated that he is conscious of his “unworthiness and limitations” as well as “the weight of the historical significance” of the diocese to the life of the Church in Ireland,” But, he said, “I am confident in God’s grace and in the prayers and the support of the people with whom I will work [with].
Fr. Duffy said that he looks forward to engaging with the communities of the diocese of Ardagh and Clonmacnois, saying that are characterized by their “strong sense of identity and a strong tradition of faith. “I look forward immensely to gently moving into that flow of faith and practice in this modern 21st century diocese, a community of believers in the good news of the Lord Jesus,” he said.