Pope Francis has today accepted the retirement of Bishop Martin Drennan, Bishop of Galway and Kilmacduagh and Apostolic Administrator of Kilfenora, on grounds of ill health. The announcement was made in Rome at 12.00pm today (11.00am Irish time).
Commenting on the announcement of the retirement of Bishop Drennan, Archbishop Michael Neary, Archbishop of Tuam, said, “It is with genuine regret that I have heard of the resignation of the Bishop of Galway, Most Reverend Martin Drennan due to ill health. I have had for many years the honour both of serving with him in the episcopate and of counting him for much longer as a personal friend.
“In all the time I have known him, Bishop Drennan’s life has been one animated and informed by faith in God, by love for the Church and all its people and by duty to the Gospel. Bishop Martin is a man of few words but these words were very carefully chosen and contained great depth and insight. Deeply spiritual in outlook, he continually drew his inspiration from the Word of God which shaped his ministry as bishop. When sharing God’s word with people, there were always new insights which were comforting, consoling but also challenging.
“He has given unstintingly of himself in that service, irrespective of thanks or criticism. His natural modesty and reserve concealed an able, principled and determined leader. That leadership had deep roots which nourished and supported his ministry. A man of integrity, he recognised that truth always has a liberating quality which finds expression in courage and conviction.
“He was always happiest in prayer, study and teaching, in all of which he habitually excelled.
“Caring and compassionate in his relationships, he will be missed by the people, religious and priests of the diocese. He never, during all his service as a shepherd, recoiled from witnessing to the Gospel irrespective of the circumstances.
“In terms of his ease and physical health, Bishop Drennan’s retirement will be welcomed, but in every other regard it is a cause for sadness. The Church in Ireland has been the richer for his service as a bishop and is greatly the poorer for its ending. I wish him every rest and happiness and look forward to our continued friendship in the years ahead”.
Archbishop Eamon Martin said, “Since 1997, Bishop Drennan has been a dedicated member of the Episcopal Conference. His generous commitment to the areas of liturgy, catechetics and doctrine has been much appreciated by the bishops. Drawing from his experience as a former professor of scripture, his knowledge of the Word of God brought a depth and richness to his contributions to the work of the Bishops’ Conference”.
Archbishop Eamon said he wished for God’s blessing on Bishop Drennan in his retirement and he assured Bishop Drennan of his prayers for his good health.
Martin Drennan was born on 2 January 1944 in Piltown, County Kilkenny. Educated at Tobernabrone National School and Saint Kieran’s College, Kilkenny, he studied for the priesthood at Saint Patrick’s College, Maynooth, from where he was ordained to the priesthood in 1968. His brother Michael is also a priest.
Following his Ordination, he continued his studies in Rome where he was awarded a Licentiate in both Sacred Theology and Sacred Scripture.
On his return to Ireland, he served as curate in both Saint Mary’s Cathedral Parish in Kilkenny and then in Ballycallan. From 1975 he taught Sacred Scripture at Saint Kieran’s College, returning to Rome in 1980 to become Spiritual Director at the Pontifical Irish College there for the next five years.
When Father Martin again returned home, he became a Lecturer in Sacred Scripture at Saint Patrick’s College, Maynooth, where he continued to teach until his appointment as Auxiliary Bishop of Dublin in 1997. His area of pastoral responsibility in that time was East Wicklow and South Dublin.
Following the retirement of Bishop James McLoughlin, Bishop Drennan was appointed as Bishop of Galway and Kilmacduagh and Apostolic Administrator of Kilfenora and he was installed on 3 July 2005 in Galway Cathedral.
In the subsequent eleven years, Bishop Drennan has instigated and overseen many worthy initiatives and developments in the diocese including the founding of the Good Shepherd Parish at the east edge of Galway city and the reordering of parish boundaries and personnel throughout the diocese in response to changing demographics. Last year, he welcomed Cardinal Sean O’Malley to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the dedication of Galway Cathedral. And in this, his last year as shepherd to the people of the diocese, Bishop Drennan had the joy of ordaining three young men to the priesthood.