Ordination of Bishop Fintan Gavin of Cork & Ross Diocese
Chai Brady and Madison Duddy
Hundreds of parishioners laughed as outgoing Bishop John Buckley ribbed that visitors from Dublin would be happy in Cork as they were “simply travelling from one capital city to the alternative capital”.
Jokes were always expected as the ‘rebel county’ received their first bishop that wasn’t home-grown in 300 years. Bishop Fintan Gavin, from Dublin, was appointed by Pope Francis to succeed Bishop Buckley of the Diocese of Cork and Ross, whose resignation was formalised in April.
Previously serving as the Chancellor of the Archdiocese of Dublin, Bishop Gavin (53), is now the youngest bishop in Ireland.
The importance of the occasion was highlighted by more than 1,200 faithful who attended from all walks of life, with members of the Church community taking part from far and wide. Welcoming everyone to the Mass Bishop Buckley described the episcopal ordination as a “milestone in the life of the diocese”, saying that there has only been four bishops in Cork since 1916. He added: “Cork bishops are noted for their longevity!”
“I know that Msgr Fintan feels very much at home here in Cork. He has been among us for the past couple of months,” added Bishop Buckley, who has headed the diocese since 1998, after serving as an auxiliary bishop there since 1984.
“They say that the Dublin football team does not play well outside of Dublin, but this does not apply to Msgr Fintan! He is a man of wide and varied administrative and pastoral experience and I know too that he has the prayerful support of everyone in Cork.”
Bishop Gavin is the second eldest of seven brothers and sisters and was born on the northside of Dublin. He asked Fr Robert Young PP of Kinsale to preach the homily, welcoming the new bishop and highlighting several of the Scriptures to mark the occasion.
Fr Young said that many of the Faithful “hesitate because we are tired, we are a wounded Church, a Church that has been shamed, a Church that has lost credibility to many, a Church with an aging and diminished number of religious and priests. A Church that is in the winter season…”
He added: “Jesus speaks as he spoke to the 11 telling us that it is His Church, that He will be with us and that with him there is always a new spring, a new beginning”.
In his first public address as the Bishop of Cork and Ross, Bishop Gavin thanked the Archbishop of Dublin, Diarmuid Martin, “for his kindness and practical advice” as well as other prelates present. He extended the gratitude to the ecumenical representatives, priests from both Cork and Ross and Dublin dioceses, his family and friends and all those who attended and helped organise the event.
He said: “Today as we begin a new chapter in our diocesan story, we celebrate and give thanks for all that has been done to allow our parishes to be active and faith filled communities.
“We set out anew, building on all that great work through the years, together as priests, permanent deacons, religious and all the people of the diocese, as we collaboratively find new ways of witnessing to the Gospel message confronting with faith, hope and determination in joyful witness the many challenges that face our diocese and Church today.”
Bishop Fintan ended his address with the message: “As missionary disciples of Jesus, entrusted with his message, as married and single people, religious, deacons and priests in our complimentary service as the People of God, the living Church, we begin that renewal by living our faith in our parishes and in the market square as we look out for those on the margins – as the brave, daring and inspired Venerable Nano Nagle put it, ‘love one another as you have hitherto done’ and also ‘love the poor’.
“We recognise Jesus in his Word, in the Eucharist and each of the Sacraments, in each other, and in our own hearts.”
The ceremony was the first ordination to be livestreamed in the diocese. It was also relayed on a large screen in Skibbereen’s Cathedral were up to 850 parishioners and priests joined the celebration. The Diocese of Cork and Ross has a Catholic population of about 285,000.