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Diocese of GalwayKilmacduagh & Kilfenora

Deoise na GaillimheChill Mac Duach & Chill Fhionnúrach

Statements from the Apostolic Nuncio and Bishop Michael Duignan regarding the Province of Tuam

Published on 10/04/2024

Statement of Apostolic Nuncio Archbishop Montemayor regarding the Dioceses of Killala and Achonry

We know from personal experience that life is a process of adaptation to changing circumstances. Although we seek to preserve at all times our essential identity, we adopt measures to meet new challenges as they arise. That is true also of the life of the Church and it is reflected in what we are doing today.

To meet the evolving needs of the Church in the ecclesiastical Province of Tuam, it is necessary to envisage a gradual process of reorganisation, which will, it is hoped, give added impetus and vitality to the communities concerned.

Today, His Holiness Pope Francis has appointed the Archbishop of Tuam, Archbishop Francis Duffy, as Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Killala, and he has likewise appointed the Bishop of Elphin, Bishop Kevin Doran, as Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Achonry. Due to the retirement of Bishop John Fleming, by reason of age, and due to the episcopal reassignment of Bishop Paul Dempsey, who will now become Auxiliary Bishop in the Archdiocese of Dublin, the Dioceses of Killala and Achonry have become vacant Episcopal Sees entrusted to the pastoral care of their respective Apostolic Administrator.

In due time, and following careful assessment and consultation, the present Dioceses of Tuam and Killala on the one hand, and Elphin and Achonry on the other, may be governed by one Bishop in each case, just as the Dioceses of Galway and Clonfert are today governed by one Bishop. If this process evolves still further, the associated Dioceses may then merge fully under their Bishop, and, in this way, the six Dioceses in the Province of Tuam will eventually become three.

They say "in union there is strength". Thus, with pooled resources and combined endeavours, and trusting strongly in the grace of God, we can look to the future with hope and confidence.

Statement of Bishop Michael Duignan with Regard to the Province of Tuam

I welcome the significant announcement today with regard to the future of the Diocese of Killala and the Archdiocese of Tuam, and the Diocese of Achonry and the Diocese of Elphin. My appointment as the sole Bishop of the Diocese of Galway, Kilmacduagh and Kilfenora and the Diocese of Clonfert marked a new phase in the ongoing journey of restructuring and renewal for our two dioceses. A journey where dioceses working ever-more closer together can achieve much more than they might on their own. As the seanfhocail says “Ní neart go cur le chéile.” This is an ongoing process which requires time, dialogue, prayerful discernment, sensitivity and effort.

My prayers and best wishes and the prayers and best wishes of the Diocese of Galway, Kilmacduagh and Kilfenora and the Diocese of Clonfert are with Archbishop Francis Duffy and Bishop Kevin Doran as they take up their additional responsibilities in this regard. I have firsthand experience of the many fine personal qualities they both possess that will equip them well for the task ahead.

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Bishop John Fleming for his ministry as Bishop of Killala, his work on a national level with the Episcopal Conference and for his personal kindness, wisdom, friendship and support. I wish him well in his well-deserved retirement. Bishop Paul Dempsey has been a great colleague since his arrival to the Diocese of Achonry. I have no doubt that our loss will be the Archdiocese of Dublin’s gain. We also owe a debt of gratitude previously to Archbishop Jude Thaddeus Okolo and now to Archbishop Luis Mariano Montemayor, Papal Nuncios to Ireland, for their fatherly guidance in these processes.

Today is a day when I think we could truly say that “the West’s Awake”. Awake to the need to reconfigure and restructure for renewal and mission. I look forward to working with Archbishop Francis and Bishop Kevin and indeed the entire people of God in these parts in progressing this project into the future. I pray for a continuing renewal of the faith and of our faith communities as we journey “together towards tomorrow”.