ARCHBISHOP Francis Duffy.

Archbishop Duffy takes over as Apostolic Administrator of Killala

Announcement may pave way for amalgamation of dioceses

ARCHBISHOP Francis Duffy, Metropolitan Archbishop of the ecclesiastical province of Tuam, has been appointed as Apostolic Administrator sede vacante of the Diocese of Killala.

The Vatican made the announcement earlier this morning, with Pope Francis having accepted the resignation of Bishop John Fleming, Bishop of Killala, on the grounds of age.

The Archbishop of Tuam, Archbishop Duffy, together with His Excellency Archbishop Luis Mariano Montemayer, Apostolic Nuncio to Ireland; Bishop Fleming; Bishop Doran; Bishop Michael Duignan, Bishop of Galway, Kilmacduagh & Kilfenora, and Bishop of Clonfert; and, Bishop Dempsey, marked the announcement by concelebrating Mass in the Cathedral of the Assumption, Tuam.

Archbishop Duffy said: “The announcement of this level of change in the episcopate in one province at the same time is quite significant. It creates the possibility of exploring a closer union between the Archdiocese of Tuam and the Diocese of Killala, and between the Dioceses of Elphin and Achonry, not unlike the process that is already underway in the Dioceses of Galway and Clonfert.

“Any such change would involve living communities and could not be simply structural or administrative. It would require careful discernment over some time, involving the whole people of God in the respective Dioceses.”

His Excellency Archbishop Luis Mariano Montemayer, Apostolic Nuncio to Ireland, said: “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,” he concluded.