Pope Francis has named the Bishop of Ossory Dr Dermot Farrell as the new Archbishop of Dublin. The announcement came in a communique from the Vatican this morning (Tuesday).
Dr Farrell (66) will succeed Archbishop Diarmuid Martin as the leader of the country’s largest diocese and is expected to be installed early in the New Year.
He has already signalled that co-responsibility and synodality – parishioners, priests and religious working in partnership – will be hallmarks on his ministry in Dublin. “The only genuine way into the future is a shared way, a way together,” he said speaking in the Church of Our Lady of Lourdes, Sean McDermott Street in Dublin this morning.
“Everyone in this diocese — laity, clergy, religious, those who embrace apostolic charisms, as well as the women and men called to a more contemplative way — has something essential to contribute to the future of the faith in Dublin,” he said.
Dr Farrell said that the challenge for the Church is to dialogue with a changing culture without neglecting the truths of the Faith.
“The response of our time to the plurality of positions, diversification of behaviours and variety of cultures cannot go down a road of disillusion and disappointment. We are called to renewal…It is reaching out towards the other, listening to the other, meeting the other, serving the other.
“This dialogue with others does not mean diluting the radical nature of the Gospel or manipulating it by restricting its reach. People of faith must still have the courage to proclaim the One who is the Saviour in all His power and newness and mystery,” he said.
The archbishop-elect is one of the newest members of the hierarchy having been consecrated Bishop of Ossory in 2018. In his time there he is widely credited with pioneering pastoral initiatives and re-organising the diocese to respond to a shortage of priests. Shortly after his appointment to Ossory, Dr Farrell embarked on a widespread consultation process with parishioners about future priorities. He has also put renewed focus on sacramental preparation.
Primate of All-Ireland Archbishop Eamon Martin welcomed the appointment saying that “Archbishop-elect Farrell is a hardworking and personable colleague with many skills and qualities to bring to his new ministry as Archbishop of Dublin.
“With my fellow bishops, and with laity, religious and clergy from across the country, I offer him my prayerful support as he undertakes the huge responsibility of shepherding the People of God in Ireland’s largest diocese and capital city,” Archbishop Eamon said.
Dr Farrell was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Meath in 1980. He holds a doctoral degree from Rome’s Gregorian University in dogmatic theology. In 1993, he was appointed vice-president of St Patrick’s College, Maynooth succeeding as president three years later. He served as president of the national seminary until 2007 when he was appointed parish priest of Dunboyne, Co. Meath. He continued in this role until his appointment to Ossory.
The archbishop-elect is known for his administrative ability and has served on various boards and committees including the board of Allianz Insurance, the governing body of the National University of Ireland, Maynooth and as national director of the permanent diaconate, and he is currently chairman of Veritas.
Archbishop Martin – who tendered his resignation to Pope Francis last April on having reached the mandatory retirement age of 75 – will continue as apostolic administrator in Dublin until Dr Farrell is installed and takes over the pastoral governance of the country’s largest diocese with more than a million Catholics and over 1,000 priests ministering in Dublin.
Dr Martin – who succeeded Cardinal Desmond Connell as archbishop in 2004 – is expected to retire to a parish in the diocese when Archbishop-elect Farrell assumes office.