A retired Parish Priest who baptised a baby in Carlow in 1971, attended his ordination as Bishop on Sunday 30 August.
Father Francis MacNamara from Mountmellick in the Diocese of Kildare and Leighlin, officiated at the baptism of Paul Dempsey in 1971 and some 49 years later was present to see him consecrated as Bishop of the Diocese of Achonry.
Mountmellick Parish revealed the connection in a post on their Facebook page on Sunday just before the the Episcopal Ordination took place in the Cathedral of the Annunciation and Saint Nathy, Ballaghaderreen, Roscommon.
Father Paul Dempsey was born in Carlow Town on 20 April 1971. He is the youngest in his family, having one brother and two sisters. In 1978 the Dempsey family moved to Athy, Co Kildare, where Paul was educated by the Christian Brothers at primary and secondary level. He joined the seminary in 1989. His studies took place in the Milltown Institute, Dublin, Saint Patrick’s College, Carlow and All Hallows College, Dublin. During his formation for the priesthood his mother, Berry, died from cancer in February 1994 and his father, Tony, died suddenly twelve days later. On 6 July 1997, Father Paul was ordained to the priesthood in the Cathedral of the Assumption, Carlow, by Bishop Laurence Ryan.
Father Paul’s first appointment was as curate in Clane & Rathcoffey Parish, Co Kildare and started a weekly article in the Leinster Leader newspaper. After seven years he moved to Kildare town as curate and was also appointed Youth Director and Vocations Director for the diocese by Bishop Jim Moriarty. During this time, Father Paul organised two diocesan World Youth Day pilgrimages to Cologne (2005) and Sydney (2008) as well as many other youth initiatives. Father Paul also presented a weekly religious and social affairs programme on Kildare FM Radio on Sunday mornings.
In 2008, Father Paul did further studies in the Milltown Institute, Dublin. He completed an honours Master’s Degree in Theology in the area of faith and culture. His thesis was entitled: The Contemporary Irish Catholic Church – A Church in Crisis or in Question?
On completion of his studies, Father Paul took up his appointment as curate in the parish cluster of Naas, Sallins and Two-Mile-House in 2009. In August, 2014, Bishop Denis Nulty appointed Father Paul to Newbridge Parish and also as Vicar Forane for the Kildare & Leighlin North Deanery consisting of 17 parishes. On 1 September 2015, Father Paul was appointed Parish Priest of Newbridge and Administrator of Caragh and Prosperous Parishes. The parish has approximately 32,000 parishioners.
On 27 January 2020 Pope Francis announced the appointment of Father Paul Dempsey as the new Bishop of Achonry.
Photo: John McElroy