The new bishop of Ferns has said he will nurture a system of thinking about Church “which will recognise the reality of the world in which we live”, at his episcopal ordination on Sunday.
Speaking after his September 5 ordination in the Cathedral of St Aidan in Enniscorthy, Co. Wexford, Bishop Nash (62) said he hopes the diocese can work together to “ensure a place of welcome and hospitality for all”.
Bishop Nash was ordained by the Archbishop of Dublin Dermot Farrell who was assisted by the outgoing bishop of Ferns, Bishop Denis Brennan, whom Bishop Nash thanked for being a “steadying hand in difficult times”.
“He helped in no small way to tread a compassionate and healing path for a diocese and people in deep trauma as they dealt with the issues of the past,” Bishop Nash said.
“My hope is that we can work together here in Ferns with the Spirit of God sustaining us to nurture the Faith and continue to ensure a place of welcome and hospitality for all.”
Bishop Nash was born in Co. Clare. He studied business after school and then worked in the manufacturing industry for a number of years. After choosing to study for the Diocese of Killaloe in St Patrick’s College, Maynooth, he was ordained on June 15, 1991 in Tulla.
After ordination, he was appointed as chaplain/teacher in Roscrea Vocational School and as priest responsible for Roscrea Youth Centre. In 1996 he was appointed as General Manager of Clarecare, which provides a range of social services to the people of County Clare.
He served as a priest in several parishes and was appointed Diocesan Secretary in 2010. In 2016 he was appointed Director of Pastoral Development for the Diocese of Killaloe until Pope Francis appointed him to succeed Bishop Brennan in the Diocese of Ferns.
Fr Billy Swan, Administrator of Wexford Parish, preached the homily at the ordination. Focusing on Bishop Nash, he said “we do not know how the journey that you begin today will all work out, for we walk by faith and not by sight”.
“The challenges are many, the ongoing impact of Covid-19 being one of them. But I am sure St Senan did not know how it would all go either when he first came here. Yet, he trusted in God and because he did, his ministry was fruitful. In that same spirit of trust, we believe that the Holy Spirit that you receive today will guide you and empower you as you go forward to meet with the people of our diocese, listen to young and old, accompany us, visit our parish communities and pastoral areas. By the integrity of your own life, your love and care for people, your love for Christ and love for his Church, God will shape the future with you and ahead of you.
“As you go forward, keep before you the themes revealed in this beautiful Gospel – themes that you carry into your episcopal ministry as you build on and encourage all the terrific work being done in our diocese. We are certain that you will carry that work forward and build up the Church here among us,” Fr Swan said.
“You have chosen as your episcopal motto, ‘I sith agus muintearas Iosa’ (In the peace and companionship of Jesus). This will define your ministry as our bishop – walking with us and patiently drawing us deeper into the peace and friendship of Jesus Christ so that we become more like him – to become other Christs and partakers in his nature. This will be our strength as we go forward – possessing the gift of his friendship that we want to share with others.”
He added: “As you now become our bishop who walks with us to the Father’s house, may your heart burn within you with joy and peace. And may you always be sustained by our prayers, friendship and support.