Ireland’s longest-serving diocesan bishop has welcomed the appointment of his successor as “a new beginning” for the Diocese of Cork and Ross.
Dublin archdiocesan chancellor Fr Fintan Gavin was this morning announced as Bishop-elect of Cork and Ross, with the diocese’s bishop emeritus, Bishop John Buckley, declaring that “It is a great honour for a Dublin man to be promoted to the real capital of Cork!”
Hailing the contributions prominent Corkmen have made to Dublin life, Bishop Buckley said: “We always think down here that there are only two categories of people in Ireland, Cork people and those who wish they were Cork people! You have now obtained your wish thanks to Pope Francis.”
Bishop-elect Gavin’s appointment was announced in Rome at 12pm Italian time today, after the 10:15 Mass in Cork’s Cathedral of St Mary and St Anne. Commenting on the appointment, Bishop-elect Gavin said it was difficult to express the “shock and surprise” he felt when Papal Nuncio Archbishop Jude Okolo told him of Pope Francis’ wish that he should be the next Bishop of Cork & Ross.
He said he had been “very happily serving the Church as an ordinary priest” and that while he would never have expected the Pope to place such trust in him, he was “very excited” by the challenge.
Looking forward to becoming part of Cork’s community and making his home there, he said: “I look forward to supporting and being enriched by the community spirit here and together in collaborative ministry, getting to know you as I visit and meet and engage with you in the parishes across the diocese.”
He said he was looking forward to get to know the clergy and people – especially young people – of the diocese, and added: “I am conscious of those who have felt let down by the Church and are just ‘hanging in there’. I encourage you not to give up.”
Born in Dublin on January 1, 1966, Bishop-elect Gavin grew up in Marino in the city’s northside, the second eldest of seven brothers and sisters. He studied for the priesthood at Holy Cross College, Clonliffe, and after being ordained priest in 1991 served in parishes in Bray, Tallaght, Westland Row and Glasnevin. He studied canon law in Rome, becoming Vice-Chancellor of the Archdiocese of Dublin in 2002 and Chancellor in 2017.
Fluent in Spanish and Italian, he has been chaplain to Dublin’s Italian-speaking community since 2015, and has had a range of other pastoral ministries in Ireland and abroad, including working in Rome’s Sant’Egidio community, and has had a range of administrative and teaching roles.
Armagh’s Archbishop Eamon Martin congratulated Bishop-elect Gavin on his appointment, saying he had over recent years come to know him as “a gentle, friendly pastor, and a hardworking priest and canon lawyer”.
Archbishop Kieran O’Reilly of Cashel & Emly welcomed the “wealth of pastoral and administrative experience” Bishop-Elect Gavin will bring to his new diocese, and said he looks forward to his contributions to the Irish Bishops’ Conference and to the metropolitan province of Cashel & Emly. He paid special tribute to Dr Buckley’s “long and fruitful” ministry as bishop, especially his ministry to the sick and bereaved.
Dr Buckley was ordained bishop in 1984, and has headed the diocese of Cork & Ross since 1998.