Statement of Monsignor Liam Kelly welcoming the appointment by Pope Francis of Father Martin Hayes as Bishop of Kilmore
When Bishop Leo O’Reilly stepped down as Bishop of Kilmore on 31 December 2018 we had mixed emotions. We were glad that he was getting to retire after more than twenty years of arduous work and we were sad that we were losing a bishop of such great integrity who was held in high esteem by all.
Today, on 29 June 2020, we have no such mixed emotions as we welcome the announcement of a new Bishop for Kilmore. Our feelings are of unbridled joy that Our Holy Father, Pope Francis, has seen fit to bless us with a new bishop. Today Father Martin Hayes comes into our Cathedral having accepted his appointment by Pope Francis as pastor of all the people of the Diocese of Kilmore. We warmly welcome his appointment and, on behalf of the lay people, religious and priests of the diocese, I thank him for agreeing to become bishop of our diocese and assure him that there will be a warm welcome for him in Kilmore.
We are delighted that a priest of Father Martin’s calibre with such extensive experience in parish ministry and pastoral planning in his native Archdiocese of Cashel and Emily is coming to Kilmore as our new bishop. We assure him of our support and our prayers as he prepares for his new role among us and we hope that he will be blessed with contentment, peace and joy in his new role as Bishop of Kilmore.
I thank our Papal Nuncio, Archbishop Jude Thaddeus Okolo, for all his work in bringing us to this happy day. Archbishop Jude had agreed to come to Cavan to celebrate the Chrism Mass on Holy Thursday this year, but that had to be cancelled because of the Covid-19 pandemic. We are honoured that he has come here today to celebrate Mass for us on the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul to make this announcement on behalf of Pope Francis. We look forward to welcoming Archbishop Okolo soon again to the diocese for the ordination of our Bishop-elect.
Archbishop Kieran O’Reilly, of the Archdiocese of Cashel and Emily, and myself were classmates in Maynooth back in the 1970s and today I want to thank him sincerely for generously giving one of his ablest priests, Father Martin Hayes, to Kilmore. I know that Archbishop O’Reilly will be sad to see Father Martin leave Cashel but I am sure that he will get some consolation knowing that Father Martin is going to the ancient Kingdom of Breifne, the ancestral home of the O’Reillys!
Today is a happy day for the Diocese of Kilmore and we are grateful to God and to all who helped bring it about.