Pope Francis has appointed Archbishop-elect Francis Duffy to succeed the retiring Archbishop of Tuam Michael Neary, it was announced today, November 10.
The archbishop-elect was “surprised and humbled” by the announcement, he told the congregation gathered at the Cathedral of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Tuam, Galway.
In his address, he added that for the Church to move forward, “we must listen to all who have been hurt by their experience of Church”, while paying testimony to the “vital role” of the clergy.
“To move forward we must listen to all who have been hurt by their experience of Church,” Bishop Duffy said. “I was particularly struck by what Archbishop Michael said a last month about the Catholic Church in this diocese being already synodal in so many ways.
“That is true and is a credit to Archbishop Michael, the people of the parishes, the clergy and religious and all involved in those life enhancing and hope filled initiatives that have taken place.
“I am really looking forward to joining the priests of this archdiocese,” Dr Duffy continued, “The caring, moving and hope filled work of clergy is vital.”
He said he “particularly looks forward to meeting with the parishioners, parish pastoral councils and school communities throughout this diocese”, and greeted religious communities as well.
Archbishop-elect Duffy concelebrated Mass at Tuam cathedral with the Apostolic Nuncio to Ireland Archbishop Jude Thaddeus Okolo, and Archbishop of Tuam Michael Neary, who tendered his resignation after turning 75 in April.
The 63-year-old Co. Cavan man was formerly bishop of Ardagh and Clonmacnois for eight years, as well as having served twelve years as a principal and working as diocesan secretary and financial administrator and chancellor in Kilmore Diocese.
As a member of the Irish Bishops’ Conference, Bishop Duffy is currently chair of the Council for Liturgy, a member of the Council for Education, as well as a member of the Commission for Worship, Pastoral Renewal and Faith Development.
Archbishop Neary, who served as archbishop of Tuam for 27 years, “warmly welcomed” Dr Duffy on behalf of Tuam, paying testimony to his reputation as a “hard-working, kind and generous pastoral leader”.
The Bishop of Elphin Kevin Doran also welcomed the archbishop-elect, saying in a statement that he “brings to his new role a great deal of experience in the world of Catholic education” at a time when “there is significant debate about the future contribution of the Church” in this field.
Meanwhile, the Primate of All-Ireland, Archbishop Eamon Martin paid tribute to Dr Neary for his “friendship, support and wise counsel” during his time serving the bishops’ conference.
“In his homily of last Saturday, as part of a Triduum of prayer to St Joseph, Archbishop Michael described the Patron of the Church as ‘a man of faith, strong, silent, patient and prudent … [who] placed himself at the service of the entire plan of salvation’,” Dr Martin continued.
“This description could easily be ascribed to Archbishop Michael, whose leadership in ministry has been nourished by prayer and a deep devotion to the Gospel, a natural humility, kindness of spirit and decisiveness.”
Archbishop Martin concluded by wishing Dr Duffy “every blessing” in his new role.
“He has already made significant contributions to the Bishops’ Conference in the fields of finance and administration, Catholic education, liturgy, pastoral renewal and adult faith development,” Dr Martin said. “With the help of God’s grace, and with the support and prayers of the faithful, he will now bring these gifts to the service of the Church in the West of Ireland.”