Historic day for Ardagh and Clonmacnois

Diocese welcomes Bishop Francis Duffy

The Diocese of Ardagh and Clonmacnois welcomed its new leader, Bishop Francis Duffy, last weekend.

On October 6, in a packed St Mary’s Pro-Cathedral Athlone, Co. Westmeath, Bishop Francis was ordained in the presence of his fellow bishops and representatives of parishes across his new diocese. Bishop Duffy chose as his episcopal motto, ‘I have come that they may have life’, from John’s Gospel, to stress his conviction in the importance of each human life.

The fire

The site for the ordination was chosen in place of St Mel’s Cathedral, Longford, which is still rising from the ashes of the fire that devastated the historic structure in 2009.

Cardinal Seán Brady, Primate of All Ireland was principal consecrator with co-consecrators Archbishop Charles Brown, Apostolic Nuncio to Ireland and Bishop-Emeritus of Ardagh and Clonmacnois Colm O’Reilly.


Following rapturous applause for Bishop Duffy after he accepted the symbols of his new role, his mitre, staff and ring, the new prelate offered his warm thanks to all who had made his ordination day a success. In addition to a note of gratitude for the guidance of fellow Cavan man, Cardinal Brady, Bishop Duffy expressed special thanks to Bishop O’Reilly for “his warm welcome, his encouragement and his kindness to me over the last two months. I am conscious that I am following in the footsteps of a very caring and pastoral leader.  Bishop Colm’s wise counsel and assistance have been invaluable to me.

“I end where I hope to begin, with the people, priests and religious of Ardagh and Clonmacnois.  For me it is an immense privilege and joy to be bishop of this wonderful diocese. 

“I thank the people of Ardagh and Clonmacnois for the welcome I have received.  There are representatives here from the 41 parishes of the diocese. 

“I greet you warmly and look forward to being with you in your parishes.”