A new Council of Priests has been formed for the Diocese of Clogher, in accordance with the provisions of Canon Law. The new council held its first meeting at Saint Macartan’s College, Monaghan, on Tuesday 19 November, with Bishop Larry Duffy, Bishop of Clogher in attendance.
The previous Council of Priests lapsed in October 2016 due to the retirement of Bishop Liam MacDaid. Following the ordination of Bishop Duffy in February, arrangements were put in place for the formation of a new body and these resulted in the election of members to the new council at the recent General Conference of priests held last month in Monaghan.
The Council of Priests consists of nine elected members and four members nominated by the bishop, together with the two Vicar Generals of the diocese. Additionally, a secretary is appointed as a non-voting member. Its term is for five years. The role of the council is to assist the bishop in the discharge of his episcopal duties and to the represent the views of priests across the diocese in that function. While it can never act apart from the bishop, the council has certain defined functions laid out in Canon Law, making it a body which the bishop is obliged to consult when certain important strategic decisions are being made in relation to the life of the diocese.
Welcoming the formation of the new council, Bishop Duffy paid tribute to the members for being part of this synodal approach to leadership in the diocese. He also thanked those who had served on the previous Council of Priests, all of whom had remained in an advisory role during the sede vacante period while there was no bishop in the diocese.
Bishop Duffy said, “As a new bishop, I look forward to working with the members of the new council as, together, we encounter the challenges and opportunities that face the diocese today. The membership of this new council reflects a wide range of experiences and outlooks. Today, the urgency of vocations to the priesthood, diaconate and lay ministry and the question of self-care for priests are ones that must be addressed in a meaningful way. I am confident that the new council will be a great assistance to me and to the whole diocese regarding these and other important questions.”
The origins of the Council of Priests go back to the aftermath of the Second Vatican Council when the concept of collegiality became dominant in church discourse. This meant that in the discharge of their duties, church leaders at all levels share their responsibilities with others, clerical, religious and lay. Today, Pope Francis continues to propose this model to us in what is called ‘synodality’ – a model of church where all the People of God journey together in the light of the Holy Spirit, discerning God’s will. Recent synods in Rome have shown the potential of such a model. It is also a model that is used by other Christian churches.
Members of the new Council of Priests (2019-2024)
Canon Michael Daly (Chairman)
Mgr Peter O’Reilly VG
Mgr Joseph McGuinness VG
Fr Brian Early
Fr Peter Corrigan
Mgr Richard Mohan
Canon Patrick McEntee
Fr Brendan Gallagher
Fr Seamus Quinn
Fr Padraig McKenna
Fr John Chester
Fr John Flanagan
Fr Stephen Joyce
Fr Seán Mulligan
Fr Stephen Duffy
Fr Owen Gorman (Secretary)
The Diocese of Clogher encompasses all of Co Monaghan, most of Fermanagh and portions of Tyrone, Donegal, Louth and Cavan. It has a Catholic population of 88,000, across 37 parishes, which are served by 58 priests and 1 deacon. There are 85 churches in the diocese.