Ireland: Father Martin Hayes appointed new Bishop of Kilmore

Bishop-elect Martin Hayes

Bishop-elect Martin Hayes

Source: Irish Catholic Media Office

Today, Pope Francis has appointed Father Martin Hayes, a priest of the Archdiocese of Cashel & Emly, as the new Bishop of Kilmore. Fr Martin was been confirmed as the new Bishop of Kilmore at the 10am Mass in the Cathedral of Saints Patrick and Felim in Cavan Town.

Welcoming the news, Archbishop Eamon Martin said: I offer my sincere congratulations and prayerful support to Bishop-elect Hayes on what is a joyous day for him, his family, friends and for the faithful of the 35 parishes of Kilmore.

Fr Martin's considerable pastoral experience and interest in youth, vocation, marriage and family issues will be of great benefit not only to his leadership and pastoral care in the Diocese of Kilmore, but will also bring fresh ideas and insights to our discussions at the Bishops' Conference. I look forward to working alongside Bishop-elect Hayes in the Irish Bishops' Conference and I pray that his new patrons, St Patrick and St Felim, will guide him in his ministry."

Archbishop Martin continued: "On this day I also wish to express my deep gratitude to Mgr Liam Kelly who has been very generous in leading the Diocese of Kilmore since the retirement of Bishop Leo O'Reilly. Mgr Liam has faithfully attended the plenary meetings of the Bishops' Conference in Maynooth and offered valuable perspectives in our deliberations. I thank him for his willingness to take on the extra burden of diocesan leadership for almost two years in addition to his parish ministry. I wish him every blessing for the future."

Mgr Liam Kelly said: "When Bishop Leo O'Reilly stepped down as Bishop of Kilmore on 31 December 2018 we had mixed emotions. We were glad that he was getting to retire after more than twenty years of arduous work and we were sad that we were losing a bishop of such great integrity who was held in high esteem by all.

Today, on 29 June 2020, we have no such mixed emotions as we welcome the announcement of a new Bishop for Kilmore. Our feelings are of unbridled joy that Our Holy Father, Pope Francis, has seen fit to bless us with a new bishop. Today Fr Martin Hayes comes into our Cathedral having accepted his appointment by Pope Francis as pastor of all the people of the Diocese of Kilmore. We warmly welcome his appointment and, on behalf of the lay people, religious and priests of the diocese, I thank him for agreeing to become bishop of our diocese and assure him that there will be a warm welcome for him in Kilmore.

We are delighted that a priest of Fr Martin's calibre with such extensive experience in parish ministry and pastoral planning in his native Archdiocese of Cashel and Emily is coming to Kilmore as our new bishop. We assure him of our support and our prayers as he prepares for his new role among us and we hope that he will be blessed with contentment, peace and joy in his new role as Bishop of Kilmore.

I thank our Papal Nuncio, Archbishop Jude Thaddeus Okolo, for all his work in bringing us to this happy day. Archbishop Jude had agreed to come to Cavan to celebrate the Chrism Mass on Holy Thursday this year, but that had to be cancelled because of the Covid-19 pandemic. We are honoured that he has come here today to celebrate Mass for us on the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul to make this announcement on behalf of Pope Francis. We look forward to welcoming Archbishop Okolo soon again to the diocese for the ordination of our Bishop-elect.

Archbishop Kieran O'Reilly, of the Archdiocese of Cashel and Emily, and myself were classmates in Maynooth back in the 1970s and today I want to thank him sincerely for generously giving one of his ablest priests, Father Martin Hayes, to Kilmore. I know that Archbishop O'Reilly will be sad to see Father Martin leave Cashel but I am sure that he will get some consolation knowing that Fr Martin is going to the ancient Kingdom of Breifne, the ancestral home of the O'Reillys!

Today is a happy day for the Diocese of Kilmore and we are grateful to God and to all who helped bring it about."

Emeritus Bishop Leo O' Reilly said: "I warmly welcome the appointment of Very Reverend Martin Hayes of the Archdiocese of Cashel and Emly as my successor as Bishop of Kilmore. I know that the people of Kilmore, priests, religious and lay, will make him very welcome too and take him to their hearts. I heartily congratulate him on his appointment and trust that he will soon feel at home in his new surroundings and among his new flock.

I have only just made the acquaintance of Fr Martin and I look forward to getting to know him better when he is ordained bishop and takes up residence here. I wish to assure him that I will be available, and more than willing to assist him in any way I can, as he begins to find his way around the diocese and his new responsibilities as Bishop in the weeks and months ahead.

I wish to express my gratitude to Mgr Liam Kelly, who, in addition to his work as parish priest, has been Apostolic Administrator of the diocese since my retirement. I thank him for his personal care and kindness to me since I retired, and I compliment him on carrying out the task of Administrator with characteristic humility, diligence and competence.

Bishop-elect Martin takes up his task at a very challenging time for the Church and for society in Ireland. His ministry as a priest in the Archdiocese of Cashel and Emly, and particularly his work in the area of pastoral development and renewal there, has prepared him well for the task ahead. I assure him of my prayerful support and I wish him every blessing and happiness in his new role as Bishop of Kilmore."

Bishop-elect Martin Hayes was born in Borris (Newhill), Two-Mile-Borris, Thurles, Co Tipperary on 24 October 1959. His late parents were Daniel and Mary Agnes (née Bowe), and Martin is the eldest of five sons and three daughters, one of whom died in infancy.

Martin received his primary school education in Saint Kevin's National School, Littleton and secondary school education in CBS, Thurles. In September 1977, he began his studies in Production Engineering at NIHE Limerick, now the University of Limerick. As part of the course programme he worked at Wyeth Ireland in Askeaton, Co Limerick (1979) and at Ecco Ltd in Dundalk, Co Louth (1980). Martin graduated in 1981 with a BSc in Manufacturing Technology. In November 1981 Martin took up a position as a quality engineer with Amdahl Computers in Swords, Dublin, completing his initial orientation with the parent plant in Silicon Valley, California, where he was given responsibility for setting up quality control systems for new products.

During his studies in Limerick, Martin became involved in Muintearas Íosa, a youth faith initiative which continues to keep the three flames of Fáilte (welcome), Foghlaim (learning) and Guí (prayer) alive in the diocese. He was instrumental in organising Muintearas Íosa events in Dublin and in his native Archdiocese of Cashel & Emly in the early 1980's.

Entry to seminary, ordination, further studies, teaching at Saint Patrick's College, Thurles, and work with ACCORD Marriage Care

In September 1983, Father Martin entered Saint Patrick's College, Thurles, Co Tipperary, to study for the priesthood for the Archdiocese of Cashel & Emly. Having completed a Certificate in Philosophical Studies and a Diploma in Theology he was ordained deacon on 4 April 1988, and to priesthood on 10 June 1989, by the Archbishop Dermot Clifford.

Fr Martin undertook further studies to the Gregorian University, Rome, and completed a Licentiate in Philosophy (Anthropology) in 1991 while staying at the Pontifical Irish College. He was then appointed to the teaching staff at St Patrick's College, Thurles, and taught philosophy until 2001. During this period of his ministry, Fr Martin worked as a marriage preparation course facilitator with Accord, served as its Diocesan Director with the personnel of the Thurles and Tipperary centres, and established an administrative office to coordinate Accord's activities. In 1997, he was appointed Bursar at Saint Patrick's College, Thurles. As part of diocesan millennium initiatives and in cooperation with the then Mid-Western Health Board, Fr Martin was instrumental is setting up SUAS (Suicide: Understanding and Support) - a listening service for those bereaved by suicide. Throughout his time at St Patrick's College he worked in parishes in the Diocese of Sacramento, California, during the summer months.

In August 2001, Fr Martin undertook a sabbatical year studying at the Jesuit School of Theology, Berkeley, California, and separately at Tabgha Farm - Centre for Ecology & Spirituality, located in Cessnock, New South Wales, Australia.

In September 2002, Fr Martin was appointed as curate to Thurles Parish with responsibility for Saints Joseph & Brigid Church, Bothar na Naomh. He resumed his facilitation of marriage preparation courses with Accord Thurles, served on the Accord National Executive Council and provided supervisory support for Accord personnel in the South-East Region. He became an active member of the 'Cashel & Emly Ongoing Formation and Education of Priests Committee' from its inception in 2003.

Fr Martin worked as a part-time lecturer in Introduction to Philosophy on the newly established Bachelor of Arts in Education, Business Studies & Religious Studies course for secondary school student teachers which was delivered in St Patrick's College, Thurles. He also engaged with the two-year Ecology & Theology programme provided by the Columban Fathers, in Dalgan Park, Navan, Co Meath, on an audit basis.

In July 2007, Fr Martin was appointed Administrator of the Cathedral of the Assumption, Thurles. Working in collaboration with a group of lay people, he encouraged the celebration of relationships with the established voluntary organisations in Thurles, promoting the ongoing development of pastoral outreach and faith development groups which culminated in the formation of a Parish Pastoral Council in 2017.

During Fr Martin's term as Administrator, Sts Joseph & Brigid's Church, Bothar na Naomh was renovated, a Pastoral Centre (Lámh Chunta) was constructed and the cathedral presbytery was refurbished. During this period, Fr Martin was elected a member of the Cashel & Emly Council of Priests, having previously served as its recording secretary. Fr Martin was also appointed as a member of the diocesan committee for safeguarding children.

In 2014, with the appointment of Archbishop Kieran O'Reilly SMA as Archbishop of Cashel & Emly, Fr Martin co-ordinated the efforts of all involved in the preparations for his Episcopal installation at the Cathedral of the Assumption on 8 February 2015. Elected chairman of the new Council of Priests, and subsequently re-elected in 2020, Father Martin became involved as a member of the newly established Diocesan Pastoral Council. He was also a member of the Seinn Diocesan Committee which promotes and organises liturgical singing and music events involving the secondary school students at the cathedral.

In August 2017 Fr Martin was appointed to the full time position of Director of Pastoral Planning & Development in the Archdiocese of Cashel & Emly and he took up residence at the Parochial House, Knockanrawley, Tipperary Town. In conjunction with the Diocesan Pastoral Council, he co-ordinated the diocesan-wide 'Listening Process' with 46 parishes over 2017-18, alongside a 'Listening to Priests', commissioned by the Archdiocese.

In preparation for the 9th World Meeting of Families (WMOF) and the visit of Pope Francis to Ireland in 2018, Fr Martin served as delegate for the diocese and this involved chairing its WMOF Diocesan Committee, organising a Diocesan Family Fun Day, producing a Family Prayer Booklet and co-ordinating diocesan liturgies.

After WMOF Fr Martin's focus returned to the diocesan consultation as the outcomes of both listening processes became the subject of ongoing discussion with priests and parish groups at 'Gatherings of Parishes' throughout 2019. This has resulted in the establishment of necessary supports for priests and interim training for parish leadership groups. A draft pastoral plan was formulated in spring 2020 and feedback is currently being processed with a view to implementing a Diocesan Pastoral Plan for parishes over the years 2020-2025.


Diocese of Kilmore

Cavan Town Parish

Tags: Ireland, Bishop of Kilmore, Bishop Martin Hayes

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