Some months ago Bishop Leo O’Reilly, on medical advice, wrote to Pope Francis requesting him to accept his early retirement as Bishop of Kilmore due to ill-health, in accordance with Canon 401, #2 of the Code of Canon Law. It is announced this morning in Rome (at noon, local time) that Pope Francis has accepted Bishop O’Reilly’s request and that, accordingly, his retirement takes effect immediately.
Bishop Leo wants to ensure that the People of God throughout Kilmore diocese should hear from him the decision about his retirement. Looking back in gratitude on his ministry of twenty two years as bishop, he also wishes to take this opportunity of thanking all who have helped him along the way by their work, their friendship, their support and their prayers. With this in mind he has written a pastoral letter to the priests and people of the diocese which was read at all Masses yesterday.
The Pastoral Letter can be seen here: Bishop Leo’s Letter December 2018
Bishop O’Reilly was appointed Coadjutor Bishop of Kilmore by Pope John Paul II on 12 November 1996. He was ordained bishop on 2 February 1997. He was installed as Bishop of Kilmore in succession to Bishop Francis MacKiernan on 15 November 1998 in the Cathedral of St Patrick and St Felim, Cavan.
The governance of the diocese is now assumed by the College of Consultors, a group of diocesan priests who act as advisors to the bishop. The Consultors will meet in the days ahead to elect a Diocesan Administrator in accordance with Canon 421 #1 which states that ‘Within eight days of receiving notification of the vacancy of an episcopal see, a Diocesan Administrator is to be elected by the College of Consultors, to govern the diocese for the time being…’ . The newly elected Diocesan Administrator will be responsible for the leadership of the diocese until a new bishop is appointed by Pope Francis.