Fr Francis Duffy has been named as the new bishop of Ardagh and Clonmacnois Diocese.
The County Cavan native was officially unveiled on the steps of St Mel’s College this morning in front of around 100 spectators.
He used his first official address to heap praise on his predecessor Bishop Colm O’Reilly, who he described as an “inspirational figure,” while at the same time speaking of the many challenges that lie ahead.
Among those he said, remain the ongoing restoration of St Mel’s Cathedral as well as dealing with the country’s unresolved economic situation.
“I know only too well that life has been increasingly difficult for a lot of people and families because of the general economic situation,” he said.
“We all have a responsibility to help our neighbour where we can.”
Originally from Templeport, the 55-year-old comes with a wealth of experience, dating back over three decades. Previously, he has enjoyed spells as principal of Fatima and Felim’s Secondary School in Ballinamore, Co Leitrim and Sta Patrick’s College, Cavan.
His most recent post was as parish priest in Laragh, Co Cavan where he has remained since 2009.
Afterwards, Fr Duffy told of his surprise when news of his impending appointment was made.
“Two weeks ago I was wondering what pastoral appointment I would get in (the Diocese of) Kilmore. A week ago , I was considering a completely different scenario when Pope Francis, through Archbishop (Charles) Brown, asked me to become Bishop of Ardagh and Clonmacnois.”
In spite of today’s announcement, Fr Duffy will not officially take over as Bishop of Ardagh and Clonmacnois until his ordination is confirmed at a ceremony later this year.
No official time has been given as to when that may happen, although October has been mentioned as a possible target date.