The Holy Father Pope Francis has appointed Father Martin Hayes, a priest of the Archdiocese of Cashel & Emly, as the new Bishop of Kilmore. News of this appointment arrived today at 11.00am in Ireland, 12.00pm Rome time.

Bishop-elect Martin Hayes was born in Borris (Newhill), Two-Mile-Borris, Thurles, Co Tipperary on 24 October 1959. His late parents were Daniel and Mary Agnes (née Bowe), and Martin is the eldest of five sons and three daughters, one of whom died in infancy.

Father Hayes received his primary school education in Saint Kevin’s National School, Littleton and secondary school education in CBS, Thurles. In September 1977, he began his studies in Production Engineering at NIHE Limerick, now the University of Limerick. He graduated in 1981 with a BSc in Manufacturing Technology.

In September 1983, Father Hayes entered Saint Patrick’s College, Thurles, to study for the priesthood for the Archdiocese of Cashel & Emly. Having completed a Certificate in Philosophical Studies and a Diploma in Theology he was ordained deacon on 4 April 1988, and to priesthood on 10 June 1989, by the Archbishop Dermot Clifford.

Father Hayes undertook further studies to the Gregorian University, Rome, and completed a Licentiate in Philosophy (Anthropology) in 1991 while staying at the Pontifical Irish College. He was then appointed to the teaching staff at Saint Patrick’s College, Thurles, and taught philosophy until 2001. As part of diocesan millennium initiatives and in cooperation with the then Mid-Western Health Board, Father Martin was instrumental is setting up SUAS (Suicide: Understanding and Support) – a listening service for those bereaved by suicide.

In September 2002, Father Hayes was appointed as curate to Thurles Parish with responsibility for Saints Joseph & Brigid Church, Bothar na Naomh. Father Martin worked as a part-time lecturer in Saints Patrick’s College, Thurles. He also engaged with the two-year Ecology & Theology programme provided by the Columban Fathers, in Dalgan Park, Navan, Co Meath, on an audit basis.

In July 2007, Father Hayes was appointed Administrator of the Cathedral of the Assumption, Thurles. During Father Hayes’ term as Administrator, Saints Joseph & Brigid’s Church, Bothar na Naomh was renovated, a Pastoral Centre (Lámh Chunta) was constructed and the cathedral presbytery was refurbished. During this period, he was elected a member of the Cashel & Emly Council of Priests, having previously served as its recording secretary. Father Hayes was appointed as a member of the diocesan committee for safeguarding children and was a member of the Seinn Diocesan Committee which promotes and organises liturgical singing and music events involving the secondary school students at the cathedral. He has also worked closely with ACCORD Marriage Care throughout his ministry.

In August 2017 Father Hayes was appointed to the full time position of Director of Pastoral Planning & Development in the Archdiocese of Cashel & Emly and he took up residence at the Parochial House, Knockanrawley, Tipperary Town. In conjunction with the Diocesan Pastoral Council, he co-ordinated the diocesan-wide ‘Listening Process’ with 46 parishes over 2017-18, alongside a ‘Listening to Priests’, commissioned by the Archdiocese.

In preparation for the 9th World Meeting of Families (WMOF) and the visit of Pope Francis to Ireland in 2018, Father Hayes served as delegate for the diocese and this involved chairing its WMOF Diocesan Committee, organising a Diocesan Family Fun Day, producing a Family Prayer Booklet and co-ordinating diocesan liturgies.

The Diocese of Kilmore includes almost all of County Cavan and a portion of Counties Leitrim, Fermanagh, Meath and Sligo. The diocese has a Catholic population of about 69,000 people, served by 51 priests, who minister in 35 parishes comprising 95 churches. The patrons of the diocese are Saint Patrick, who is celebrated on 17 March, and Saint Felim on 9 August.

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