FR. MICHAEL ROUTER APPOINTED AS AUXILIARY BISHOP OF THE ARCHDIOCESE OF ARMAGH – His Holiness Pope Francis has appointed Father Michael Router, Parish Priest of Bailieboro (Killann) in the Diocese of Kilmore, as Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Armagh, assigning to him the Titular See of Lugmad. The news of the appointment was made public at 12.00 noon today in the Vatican (11.00am Irish time).
The role of an auxiliary bishop is to assist the diocesan bishop in meeting the pastoral and administrative needs of the diocese. The Titular See of Lugmad is an ancient episcopal see in County Louth. Previous bishops who held that title included Bishop Thomas Winning, Auxiliary Bishop and later Cardinal Archbishop of Glasgow.
The Archdiocese of Armagh includes almost all of counties Armagh and Louth, approximately half of Co Tyrone and parts of counties Derry and Meath. It consists of 61 parishes and has a Catholic population of 267,803. The Diocese of Dromore includes portions of counties Antrim, Armagh and Down. It consists of 22 parishes and has a Catholic population of 63,400.
Auxiliary Bishop-elect Router is a native of Virginia in Co Cavan and was born on 15 April 1965 to Anthony and Nora Router. He has two sisters, Breda Murphy and Martina Keville. He was educated in Virginia National School and in Kells CBS before entering the national seminary of Saint Patrick’s College, Maynooth, to study for the priesthood in 1982. In Maynooth he graduated with a Bachelor in Divinity Degree and a Higher Diploma in Education. He was ordained to the diaconate in Maynooth College by the late Bishop Francis McKiernan on 26 September 1987. He was ordained as a priest for the Diocese of Kilmore by Bishop McKiernan in Saint Matthew’s Church, Maghera, in his native parish, on 25 June 1989.
Auxiliary Bishop-elect Router began his ministry as a curate in the parish of Killinkere and in 1991 joined the teaching staff of Saint Patrick’s College, Cavan. He was appointed Chaplain of Bailieborough Community School in 1996 and Priest in Residence in the Parish of Kilmainhamwood and Moybologue. In 2002/2003 he studied at Mater Dei Institute of Education in Dublin and assisted during that time in Our Lady of Good Counsel Parish in Drimnagh. He graduated with a Masters in Religion and Education in 2003. On his return to the Diocese of Kilmore he was appointed the Diocesan Director of Adult Faith Formation and Pastoral Renewal while also serving as a Priest in Residence in the parish of Castletara/Ballyhaise. His role included providing training, encouragement and support for Parish Pastoral Councils, Liturgy Groups, Eucharistic Ministers and Ministers of the Word. He also helped to provide Adult Religious Education courses in the Diocesan Pastoral Centre, and in Manorhamilton, which were accredited by the Mater Dei Institute of Education and the Maryvale Institute.
In 2010, in addition to these roles, Auxiliary Bishop-elect Router was appointed director of the Diocesan Pastoral Centre. In 2013 he was transferred as Curate to the Cathedral Parish in Cavan with responsibility for the Butlersbridge area. In 2014 he was appointed to his present position as Parish Priest of Killann Parish, which includes the towns of Bailieborough and Shercock, and as Dean of the Bailieborough Deanery. He was also a member of the College of Consultors of the Diocese of Kilmore and was chairman of the Diocesan Priests’ Council since 2017.
Auxiliary Bishop-elect Router’s main area of interest outside of his work has always been in sport. He played football for the Ramor United and Killinkere Gaelic Football clubs in Cavan, was a selector with the Ballyhaise’s Minor and Senior football teams from 2004 to 2012, and a football and basketball coach in Saint Patrick’s College, Cavan, and Bailieborough Community School. He maintains a keen interest in all sports, particularly in the fortunes of the Cavan Gaelic Football team and Bristol City FC.
During his time as Diocesan Director of Adult Faith Formation Auxiliary Bishop-elect Router wrote a regular column on religious matters in the Anglo-Celt and the Cavan Voice local newspapers