The Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland, Eamon Martin, has told the new Bishop of Raphoe, Alan McGuckian SJ, to engage with the challenges and questions in his new role with ‘confidence, conviction and humility’.
Alan McGuckian SJ was Ordained as the Bishop of Raphoe at St Eunan’s Cathedral, Letterkenny, this afternoon.
Bishop elect Fr Alan McGuickan awaiting to enter St Eunan’s Cathedral. (North west Newspix)
A native of Cloughmills in County Antrim, but who has a close affinity to west Donegal, he is the first Jesuit Bishop in Ireland.
The Cathedral was packed-to-overflowing with around 1,000 people in attendance while the Episcopal Ordination was broadcast online.
Archbishop Martin was the Chief Ordaining Prelate at the service.
“As bishops it is always important for us to learn new ways of presenting our sincerely held perspectives alongside the opinions of those of other faiths and none, and to encourage conversations at a national level on significant issues and values,” Archbishop Martin said.
“President Michael D Higgins’s recent ‘Ethics Initiative’ has identified the need for a debate in contemporary Ireland about what ethical values and principles we want to uphold and strengthen. We need to have conversations about what constitutes a ‘good life’ and ‘flourishing life’ not just for individuals but also for communities.
“The engagement of people of faith together with all people of good will in such conversations is to be encouraged and welcomed. In entering such a process we in the Catholic Church can draw upon our rich tradition of social teaching.
“You have already shown, in your ministry with young people as a teacher and university chaplain, and through your creative gifts of communication, that you can engage with the challenges and questions of today, and do so with confidence, conviction and with humility.”
Bishop McGuckian was proposed to Pope Francis – the Catholic Church’s first Jesuit Pope – by Archbishop Charles Brown, who is the outgoing Papal Nuncio and was officially announced as successor to Bishop Philip Boyce in June.
Bishop Emeritus, Dr Philip Boyce, who served as Bishop of Raphoe since 1995 concelebrated along with Bishop Noel Treanor, Bishop of Down and Connor.
A large connection of Fr Alan’s family and friends, including his brothers Fatther Bernard McGuckian and Father Michael McGuckian, were in attendance while Commandant Louise Cullen, Aide de Camp, of President Michael D Higgins, traveled to Letterkenny for the occasion.
Archbishop Terence Prendergast SJ, Archbishop of Ottawa, read the Gospel.
Other clergy concelebrating the Mass included Archbishop Michael Neary of Tuam; Bishop Michael Smith of Meath; Bishop John Kirby of Clonfert; Bishop Leo O’Reilly of Kilmore; Bishop John McAreavey of Dromore; Bishop Donal McKeown of Derry; Bishop Brendan Kelly of Achonry; Bishop Brendan Leahy of Limerick; Bishop Raymond Browne of Kerry; Bishop Denis Nulty of Kildare and Leighlin; Bishop Kevin Doran of Elphin; Bishop Patrick Walsh, Bishop Emeritus of Down and Connor; Bishop Donal Murray, Bishop Emeritus of Limerick; Bishop Anthony Farquhar, Auxiliary Bishop Emeritus of Down & Connor; Monsignor Michael Ryan, Diocesan Administrator of Ossory; Monsignor Joseph McGuinness, Diocesan Administrator of Clogher; and, Monsignor Piotr Tarnawski, Chargé d’Affaires at the Apostolic Nunciature in Ireland.
Priests and other religious figures from across the Raphoe Diocese were out in force to welcome the new Bishop. Each Parish was allowed four representatives in the congregation.
Since first attending a Gaeltacht College in Rannafast in 1968, Fr McGuckian has been a regular visitor to Donegal.
Archbishop Martin said: “I know your affection for Donegal and its people has already been nurtured by your many visits to Rann na Feirste. As we look forward to the launch later this year of the new Irish translation of the missal – a project in which Bishop Boyce was intimately involved – your familiarity with, and respect for the Irish language will be invaluable. I would be very pleased if more parishes, not just those in the Gaeltacht, could introduce regular Sunday worship in our native language.”
After ordination in 1984 he spent some years teaching in Clongowes Wood College, a boarding school outside Dublin.
From 1991 to 2005 he was based at the Jesuit Communication Centre in Dublin. During that time he set up the websites sacredspace.ie, gettingmarried.ie and catholicireland.net.
Since Feb 2014 he has been the Director of Formation for the Permanent Diaconate and now moves to take up his new position as the head of the Raphoe Diocese.