Former Offaly curate appointed Bishop by Pope Francis
His Holiness Pope Francis has today appointed Monsignor Dermot Pius Farrell, Parish Priest of Dunboyne & Kilbride in the Diocese of Meath, as the new Bishop of Ossory.
The news was announced publicly in the Vatican at 11am, and the former Tullamore curate will become the Bishop of Ossory, replacing Bishop Seamus Freeman who left the position due to poor health in 2016.
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.
Dermot Farrell was born in 1954 in the Castletown-Geoghegan Parish, County Westmeath in the Diocese of Meath. He was baptised Dermot Pius a few days later in the Cathedral of Christ the King, Mullingar.
He went to school in Westmeath before going on to study a Bachelor of Science degree at St. Patrick's College in Maynooth. He continued his studies in theology and divinity in Maynooth in the 70s before becoming a curate in Mullingar in 1981.
He served as a curate for a year in Tullamore from 1989 to 1990 while also acting as a lecturer in Moral Theology at Maynooth.
He went on to be named the President of St. Patrick's College in Maynooth in 1996, a position he held until 2007. He has been the parish priest of Dunboyne and Kilbride since 2007 and was named a Vicar General of the Diocese of Meath in 2009.
Congratulatory messages have been flooding in for Dermot Farrell, with Bishop Michael Smith saying, "I warmly welcome the announcement today that Pope Francis has appointed Monsignor Dermot Farrell, Vicar General and Parish Priest of Dunboyne, as Bishop of Ossory."
"Since his ordination in 1980, Monsignor Farrell has served the Diocese of Meath with exemplary dedication, pastoral zeal and an immense capacity for work. His ministry in the Cathedral parish of Mullingar, Tullamore and Dunboyne has been characterised by fidelity, energy and commitment," Bishop Smith said.
Archbishop Eamon Martin also welcomed the news. "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," he said.
"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," he added.
Speaking today, Dermot Farrell described the appointment by Pope Francis as an "enormous surprise."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," he added.
"Embracing this new role means that I will have a great deal to learn in the years ahead. It is going to take time. I will need the help and guidance of all the people of Ossory, the people in the parishes, my sisters and brothers in ministry, and our sisters and brothers in the other Christian churches and communities," the newly appointed Bishop said.
"From my time working at Saint Patrick’s College, Maynooth, I had contact with many people from the Diocese [Ossory]. Over the years, I made many trips to this beautiful city and its surrounds."
"The names of many places were emblazoned in my mind by the commentaries of Mícheál O’Hehir and Mícheál Ó Muircheartaigh - places like Ballyhale, Clara, Dunamaggan, Freshford, Glenmore, Tullaroan—linked the names of the great Kilkenny hurlers down the years to their clubs most of which coincide with the names of parishes. In this context, I shouldn’t omit Seir Kieran which has produced its own share of renowned Offaly hurlers," he added.
"As you will understand, there is a certain sadness in leaving my own home diocese of Meath, and in particular, the parish of Dunboyne & Kilbride and its people, among whom I have been very fulfilled in my pastoral ministry."
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