Pope Francis has appointed Father Michael Router as a new Auxiliary Bishop to the Archdiocese of Armagh. Father Router is currently the Parish Priest of Bailieboro, Co Cavan, in the Diocese of Kilmore.
The 54 year old is the first bishop to be appointed to assist Archbishop Eamon Martin since the resignation for health reasons of the late Bishop Gerard Clifford in 2013.
Commenting on today’s announcement, Archbishop Eamon said, “I am thankful to Father Michael for generously accepting this new call from God to leadership responsibility in the church. He has already gained considerable experience in leading pastoral development and adult faith formation and I look forward to his assisting me by contributing to these pastoral issues as well as others within both the Archdiocese of Armagh and the Diocese of Dromore.”
Commenting on his appointment Father Router said, “My reaction was one of shock, surprise and no little dismay. I had been happily serving as parish priest in Bailieborough and reasonably expecting, that God willing, I would be there for several more years; perhaps even until retirement.
Father Router said he never saw himself as someone worthy of this office and, as that he is very conscious of his limitations and weaknesses.
The Bishop-elect said, “I am very grateful to Pope Francis for the trust he has placed in me and I pray that the Holy Spirit will provide what is otherwise lacking.”
Auxiliary Bishop-elect Router began his ministry as a curate in the parish of Killinkere and in 1991 joined the teaching staff of Saint Patrick’s College, Cavan. He was appointed Chaplain of Bailieborough Community School in 1996 and Priest in Residence in the Parish of Kilmainhamwood and Moybologue. In 2002/2003 he studied at Mater Dei Institute of Education in Dublin and assisted during that time in Our Lady of Good Counsel Parish in Drimnagh. He graduated with a Masters in Religion and Education in 2003. On his return to the Diocese of Kilmore he was appointed the Diocesan Director of Adult Faith Formation and Pastoral Renewal while also serving as a Priest in Residence in the parish of Castletara/Ballyhaise. His role included providing training, encouragement and support for Parish Pastoral Councils, Liturgy Groups, Eucharistic Ministers and Ministers of the Word. He also helped to provide Adult Religious Education courses in the Diocesan Pastoral Centre, and in Manorhamilton, which were accredited by the Mater Dei Institute of Education and the Maryvale Institute.
In 2010, in addition to these roles, Auxiliary Bishop-elect Router was appointed director of the Diocesan Pastoral Centre. In 2013 he was transferred as Curate to the Cathedral Parish in Cavan with responsibility for the Butlersbridge area. In 2014 he was appointed to his present position as Parish Priest of Killann Parish, which includes the towns of Bailieborough and Shercock, and as Dean of the Bailieborough Deanery. He was also a member of the College of Consultors of the Diocese of Kilmore and was chairman of the Diocesan Priests’ Council since 2017.
Auxiliary Bishop-elect Router’s main area of interest outside of his work has always been in sport. He played football for the Ramor United and Killinkere Gaelic Football clubs in Cavan, was a selector with the Ballyhaise’s Minor and Senior football teams from 2004 to 2012, and a football and basketball coach in Saint Patrick’s College, Cavan, and Bailieborough Community School. He maintains a keen interest in all sports, particularly in the fortunes of the Cavan Gaelic Football team and Bristol City FC.
During his time as Diocesan Director of Adult Faith Formation Auxiliary Bishop-elect Router wrote a regular column on religious matters in the Anglo-Celt and the Cavan Voice local newspapers.