By Jim Fair
Pope Francis on December 8, 2018, appointed the Right Reverend Monsignor Larry Duffy, Parish Priest of Carrickmacross and Administrator of the Parish of Magheracloone (a priest of the Diocese of Clogher), as the new Bishop of Clogher.
This news of the appointment was made public at 12.00 noon on the 8th in the Vatican and also before the celebration of the 11.00 am Mass in St Joseph’s Church, Carrickmacross. Archbishop Jude Thaddeus Okolo, Apostolic Nuncio to Ireland, was the chief celebrant of the Mass. Also in attendance were the Administrator of the Diocese of Clogher, Mgr Joseph McGuinness, and both Bishops-emeritus of the diocese – Bishop Liam S. MacDaid who retired in 2016 and Bishop Joseph Duffy who retired in 2010 after a ministry of thirty-one years.
Welcoming the Papal Nuncio, the Diocesan Administrator, Mgr McGuinness recalled that the diocese had been well served over the past forty years by Bishops MacDaid and Duffy and that it was an honour for him to administer the diocese since October 2016. He said that the news which the nuncio brought to them was news of great joy and something that the priests and people of the diocese had been waiting to hear for a long time. Commenting afterwards, Mgr McGuinness warmly welcomed the appointment of Mgr Duffy. He congratulated the Bishop-elect, assuring him of the prayers and support of all the priests, religious and laity of the diocese. ‘Bishop-elect Duffy brings to this new ministry the experience of a lifetime of priestly pastoral care for people both here in Ireland and in Kenya. He is renowned across the diocese for his ability to connect with people, to care for them and to know them. Everywhere he has been, he is remembered with great affection. The diocese has gained a very worthy shepherd’, he said.
Response of Bishop-elect Duffy:
Speaking following the announcement of his appointment by Pope Francis, Bishop-elect Duffy said:
‘It is my privilege to welcome the Apostolic Nuncio, Archbishop Jude Thaddeus Okolo to Carrickmacross today. He comes with news that will surprise many, and which came as a shock to me when first mentioned.
‘Mary our Mother is the focus of today’s feast. Mary, full of grace. A mother who accepts responsibility with humility and faith; who says: “I am the handmaid of the Lord, let what you have said be done to me.” (Luke 1:38). Mary has been my companion and guide in recent days as I pondered the invitation to serve the Diocese of Clogher in a new role.
When I got the Nuncio’s call, I, like Mary, was deeply disturbed and asked what the greeting could mean. After much prayer, reflection, and words of encouragement, and in spite of my own limitations and weaknesses, I too say to God: “let what you have said be done to me”!
‘I am greatly encouraged by the presence of the Bishops-emeritus and priests here today. I thank you all for coming. The years of dedicated and generous service given by Bishop Joseph Duffy and Bishop Liam MacDaid is a model for me. I thank Monsignor Joseph McGuinness, Diocesan Administrator, for his encouragement and support, especially in recent days.
‘To work with the priests and all the people of the diocese is what this call is all about. Departing Carrickmacross parish will be sad. I thank the people here for their love, understanding, and support over the past five years. You will always be close to my heart.
‘Finally, my one wish and request is that you pray for me. May God’s kingdom come through our efforts and the grace of God.‘
Biography of Bishop-elect Duffy
Bishop-elect Larry Duffy, who has been Parish Priest of Carrickmacross since 2013, is a native of the neighboring Parish of Magheracloone where he was born to the late Thomas and Elizabeth Duffy in November 1951. He has three surviving siblings – Anna, Patrick, and Peter, his other brother Brendan having died two years ago. Having completed his studies for the priesthood at St Patrick’s College, Carlow, Mgr Duffy was ordained in St Macartan’s Cathedral, Monaghan in 1976 by Bishop Patrick Mulligan – himself also a former Parish Priest of Carrickmacross. Since then he has served in various parishes of the Diocese of Clogher including Enniskillen, Castleblayney, Monaghan & Rackwallace, Ederney, Clones, and Carrickmacross. In addition, he also spent four years working in the Diocese of Kitui in Kenya. During that time, he helped to lead the building of a church in Mwingi. He was Vicar General of the Diocese of Clogher from 2013 until the retirement of Bishop MacDaid in 2016.
A former player with Magheracloone Mitchells GAA, Bishop-elect Duffy is also an avid GAA fan and a keen golfer.
Statement by Bishop Liam S. MacDaid, Bishop-Emeritus of Clogher
‘The people and priests of the Diocese of Clogher will have good reason to remember the Feast of the Immaculate Conception 2018. They rejoice today as they hear that Pope Francis has favored them by naming as bishop one of their own, Monsignor Larry Duffy, PP of Carrickmacross. They pray that God will continue to inspire him to lead his people in loving God and neighbor, which he has done so generously and loyally over forty years of priestly ministry.’
Statement by Bishop Joseph Duffy, Bishop-Emeritus of Clogher
‘I have no doubt that the choice of Monsignor Larry Duffy to be Bishop of Clogher will be most welcome throughout the diocese and an occasion of joy and uplift of spirit for all who know him.
‘He has served with distinction in all areas of our diocese – Enniskillen, Ederney, Castleblayney, Monaghan, Clones, and finally Carrickmacross. He volunteered for a four-year term in Kitui in Kenya where, again, his generous and wholehearted pastoral care was much admired and appreciated.
‘As a former colleague of his, years ago in Enniskillen, and as his Bishop for many years, I have always been impressed by his natural wisdom, his keen sense of spiritual priorities, his marvelous sense of humor and humility and his courage in confronting problems. He works easily with others and has no illusions about the pastoral challenges facing the Irish and universal Church today.’
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