Pope Francis has appointed Monsignor Dermot Pius Farrell, Parish Priest of Dunboyne & Kilbride in the Diocese of Meath, as the new Bishop of Ossory. The announcement was made by Monsignor Piotr Tarnawski of the Nunciature of Ireland in the Cathedral of Saint Mary, Kilkenny, on Wednesday 3 January.
Welcoming the appointment, Archbishop Eamon Martin, Archbishop of Armagh and President of the Irish Episcopal Conference, said, ‘I warmly welcome the appointment today by Pope Francis of Monsignor Dermot Farrell as Bishop of Ossory. Today marks a significant new step in his vocational journey and he will be encouraged by the prayerful support of his family, friends and faithful, especially in the diocese of Ossory and in his home diocese of Meath. Bishop-elect Farrell has already shown great commitment to his priestly calling in a variety of pastoral settings. He has developed gifts and skills which, with the help of God’s grace, will enrich his service to the people, priests and religious in his new diocese.’
The appointment was also welcomed by Bishop Michael Smith, Bishop of Meath, who said, ‘On behalf of the priests and people of the Diocese of Meath, I wish Monsignor Farrell every blessing as he prepares for his new role and I assure him of our prayers and support.’ Bishop Alphonsus Cullinan congratulated Monsignor Farrell on his appointment saying, ‘Monsignor Dermot is a very fine scholar and is blessed with a very keen intellect. I am sure he will lead his diocese wisely and with great pastoral care. I have no doubt that the people of Ossory will be delighted with their new Bishop.’
Speaking at the Cathedral of Saint Mary, in Kilkenny, Monsignor Farrell said, ‘It was with enormous surprise that I received Pope Francis’ invitation to serve the priests and people of the Diocese of Ossory as bishop. I am humbled by this call from the Church. I have been a priest for over 37 years; half of that time in parish ministry where I have always been very happy and fulfilled. Of course, this is why I became a priest in the first instance: to work with people, in their service, in the service of the Lord, and of his gospel, of Christ’s good news about God, about us, and about our world.
‘This request was made to me a few days before Christmas, a time when Mary’s “yes” to God fills the Scripture readings of those final days of Advent. What strikes me is Mary’s courage, and her trust in the word of the angel. She is perplexed, she wonders what this greeting might mean, and yet she trusts in the goodness of God, and in God’s providence. She steps into the unknown.
‘Like Mary’s decision, and most major decisions in life, being called to be a bishop is also a step into the unknown. If we are honest, to be called to be a bishop in the Ireland of today is even more a step into the unknown. It is also a call to trust in the Lord, and in providence of God. I am glad to accept the call to serve here in Ossory, to be a pastor in this place, and in this community of faith.’
Monisgnor Farrell was born in November 1954 in the Castletown-Geoghegan Parish, Co. Westmeath, in the Diocese of Meath. Following studies in Saint Patricks College, Maynooth, he was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Meath in June 1980. Father Farrell served as curate at the Cathedral of Christ the King in Mullingar before returning to studies in the Gregorian University in Rome.
In 1987, Father Farrell served as Director of Formation in the Irish College in Rome, and in 1990 as Executive Assistant to the President of Saint Patrick’s College, Maynooth. He was appointed Vice-President of the College in 1993 and served as President from 1996 to 2007. In 2006 he was given the title of Honorary Prelate of His Holiness. From 2007 until present Monsignor Farrell served as Parish Priest of Dunboyne and Kilbride.
The Diocese of Ossory consists of County Kilkenny and portions of counties Laois and Offaly. The Catholic population of Ossory is 84,729. There are 42 parishes in the diocese and 89 churches. There are 58 priests active in the diocese and 15 others. The patron saint of the Diocese of Ossory is Saint Kieran.
For more information, please see www.catholicbishops.ie.