Bishop Brendan Kelly of Galway and Bishop Michael Duignan of Clonfert have issued a message to the people of the Diocese of Clonfert and the Diocese of Galway, Kilmacduagh and Kilfenora on the new announcement made by Pope Francis.
Bishops said, “We have been informed by the Apostolic Nuncio, Archbishop Jude Thaddeus Okolo that in the near future the Holy Father Pope Francis intends to appoint a single Bishop to the Diocese of Galway, Kilmacduagh and Kilfenora and the Diocese of Clonfert.
“This form of union of two dioceses under one Bishop is not an amalgamation and does not suppress either of the two dioceses. Both dioceses will continue to maintain their own integrity and autonomy as is but will work closer together, where possible, through the person and ministry of a single Bishop (in persona episcopi).*
“As the Holy See continues its consultations on the matter, we will be organising meetings at various levels in each diocese to inform the People of God and talk to them about it.
“We pray God’s blessings on our respective dioceses at this important time and we look forward to a closer working together towards a new springtime of faith within each of our diocesan and parish communities.”
This form of union (in persona episcopi) under one bishop is not an amalgamation and does not suppress either of the two dioceses. It respects the autonomy and allows for the functionality of the individual jurisdictions. It is a mild and practical form of union between dioceses and can be a temporary or permanent provision.