Pope Francis has appointed as the new bishop of Galway and Kilmacduagh, Ireland, Bishop Brendan Kelly, who presently serves as Bishop of Achrony.
Bishop Kelly was born 20 May 1946 and ordained priest on 20 June 1971. He spent many of his early years of priesthood teaching in various colleges across the Diocese of Clonfert. Between 1986 and 1995 he was president of Our Lady's College in Gort. He also spent a year ministering to the sick and disabled as part of the Larche community in France.
Returning to Ireland in 1996 he served as parish priest of Lisdoonvarna in County Clare.
In 2002 he was appointed as a Canon of the Cathedral and in 2003 he became Vicar Forane for the Diaconate in Kilfenora. From 2003-2007 he was parish priest of Spiddal. He was named Vicar General of the Diocese of Galway and Kilmacduagh in 2007.
He was consecrated Bishop of Achrony in 2008. He also serves as President of the Council for Education within the Catholic Bishops Conference of Ireland.
Bishop Kelly said: "I am still somewhat in shock. Having settled happily in Achonry, I never expected I never expected to be asked to take on the shepherding of another diocese. However, the fact that it is my own native diocese of Galway, Kilmacduagh and Kilfenora makes it much easier to say yes to this appointment with which Pope Francis has chosen to honour me. I am very grateful to the Holy Father for his trust. And it is good to be coming home.
Archbishop Eamon Martin, Primate of All Ireland, said in a statement: "I wish to offer my warmest congratulations and prayerful support to Bishop Brendan Kelly for his generous acceptance of a new episcopal appointment.
"Bishop Brendan's ten years of pastoral service as Bishop of Achonry have been characterised by a natural warmth and empathy towards the people, priests and religious of the diocese, and a gentle, prayerful and caring leadership.
Now he returns to his roots! As a native of Craughwell, and a priest of longstanding, dedicated service in the diocese of Galway, Bishop Brendan will no doubt receive a wholehearted welcome home from the clergy and faithful of his native diocese. He returns with the benefit of new wisdom and experience garnered among the faithful people of Achonry.
"I am pleased that Bishop Brendan will continue his valued service to the Irish Episcopal Conference. His contribution, to date, has been immense - as a member of Standing Committee, the Commission for Catholic Education and Formation, Council for Liturgy and as chair of the Bishops' Council for Education.
"In recent days, we rejoiced with Bishop Brendan as he brought to completion a project that has been dear to his heart as a native Irish speaker - the launch of the new altar edition of An Leabhar Aifrinn Rómhánach, the Irish translation of the Roman Missal. One of the most important recent cultural achievements in this country, its preparation and production was the fruit of years of intensive work and collaboration of many individuals from throughout the Church, and Bishop Brendan deserves great credit for delivering an Irish Missal that we can all be proud of.
A man of great gifts, I wish him happiness and fulfilment in his new appointment.
"May Saint Colman, Saint Fachanan and Our Lady Assumed into Heaven guide Bishop Brendan in his new role in Galway, Kilmacduagh and Kilfenora.
"Guím gach rath Dé air agus ar a chuid saothair."
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