Galway rolls out the red carpet for new Bishop

Bishop Brendan Kelly, who will be installed as the new Bishop of Galway, Kilmacduagh and Kilfenora, at Galway Cathedral on Sunday. Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy.

More than 2,000 people – including President Michael D Higgins – are set to attend the Installation of Bishop Brendan Kelly as Bishop of Galway and Kilmacduagh today.

Bishop Kelly, who is a native of Derrybrien in South Galway – will be formally installed in a ceremony at Galway Cathedral at 3pm today (Sunday).

Among those in attendance will be members of the Bishop’s family, representatives of every parish, public representatives and those associated with the life and work of the Church across the diocese.

His official title will be ‘Bishop of Galway and Kilmacduagh and Apostolic Administrator of Kilfenora’.

Michael Neary, the Archbishop of Tuam, will be the presiding prelate, while Martin Drennan, the retired bishop of Galway, will concelebrate.

At the beginning of the ceremony, a formal Apostolic Letter from Pope Francis will be read by the outgoing Diocesan Administrator, Canon Michael McLoughlin which will formally name Bishop Kelly as the new Bishop of Galway and Kilmacduagh and name him also as the Apostolic Administrator of Kilfenora.

This letter will then be formally viewed by the Chancellor of the Diocese, Canon Ian O’Neill and subsequently by the Chapter of Canons. Bishop Kelly is then accepted to be the new bishop.

Following the ceremony, there will be an informal reception in a marquee erected adjacent to the Cathedral.

A traffic management and parking plan will be in force in the Cathedral and Gaol Road carparks, and the surrounding area, which will be implemented by the Gardaí, Galway City Council and NUI Galway.

Because of capacity constraints in the Cathedral, the Installation will be “ticketed”, and more than 2,000 tickets have already been distributed within the diocese.

One of Bishop Kelly’s first engagements will be to celebrate Mass for the students and staff of GMIT the following week, February 14, which is both Ash Wednesday and Valentine’s Day.

Bishop Drennan formally retired on July 29, 2016 due to ill health, and the dioceses were administered by Canon McLoughlin (Moycullen parish priest) since then. He relinquishes his responsibilities this afternoon.

Brendan Kelly was born in Derrybrien in May 1946 to Seán and Annie Kelly, the second of nine children, and attended Craughwell National School before boarding at St Mary’s College in Galway.

In 1964 he was accepted to study for the priesthood by then bishop, Michael Browne, and went to Maynooth that year, where he completed his Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Divinity degrees and was ordained in Galway Cathedral in 1971.

His first parish was Kinvara and in 1972, he became a teacher at Coláiste Éinde in Salthill, completing a Higher Diploma in Education at University College Galway in 1973.

He remained on the teaching staff at St Enda’s until 1980, when he moved to Our Lady’s College in Gort, where he became President in 1986.

In 1995, with the amalgamation of the three Gort secondary schools, Bishop Kelly was granted sabbatical leave from his diocese which led him to spending a year with the L’Arche Community in France – a movement that seeks to create an environment where people with and without intellectual disabilities live in harmony.

Returning to his diocese in 1996, he was appointed Parish Priest of Lisdoonvarna in Co Clare and in 2003, Parish Priest of An Spidéal.

On November 2007, Bishop Brendan was appointed by Pope Benedict as Bishop of Achonry – bringing him to Ballaghaderreen where he has remained up to now.

A fluent Irish speaker, he also has a working knowledge of French.