Bishop Leo O’Reilly was born in Corgreagh, Kill, Co. Cavan on 10th April 1944. The family later moved to Kilconny, Belturbet. He received his early education in Drumnatrade and Tullyvin National Schools and later in St Patrick’s College, Cavan. He studied for the priesthood in Maynooth College and was ordained in 1969.
He was a member of the staff in St Patrick’s College until 1976 when he went to Rome to do further studies. He served on the staff of the Irish College from 1978 until 1980. Having received a doctorate in theology from the Gregorian University in 1981 he was appointed chaplain to Bailieboro Community School.
In 1988 he went to the diocese of Minna in Nigeria and later joined the staff of the National Missionary Seminary of St Paul at Abuja. He returned to Kilmore in 1995 and was appointed parish priest of Castletara (Ballyhaise).
Bishop O’Reilly was ordained Coadjutor Bishop of Kilmore on 2nd February 1998 and installed as Bishop of Kilmore on 15th November, 1998.
His Holiness Pope Francis accepted the resignation of Bishop O’Reilly as Bishop of Kilmore on health grounds, effective from 11:00a.m. on Monday 31 December 2018. Bishop O’Reilly tendered his resignation following the advice of his doctor and in advance of his 75th birthday on 10 April 2019. A bishop is obliged by canon law to submit his resignation to the Pope by the time the bishop reaches 75 years of age.
The Coat of Arms
The armorial bearings of the O’Reilly family have been modified and combined with the diocesan coat of arms. The central features of the latter are the mitre and crozier, which symbolise the pastoral office of the bishop.
In the O’Reilly arms two lions rampant support the red hand of Ulster with three drops of blood beneath. The hand has been replaced by a book, representing the word of God, while the three drops of blood have been retained as a eucharistic symbol.
Another lion, the traditional symbol of the evangelist St Mark, has been introduced. This is taken from a panel in the Book of Kells.
The Motto: ‘Veritas Liberabit Vos’ (The truth will set you free) is from St John’s Gospel (8:32).