The Ordination of Bishop Tom Deenihan took place on Sunday 2 September 2018 in the Cathedral of Christ the King, Mullingar.
Gathered in the congregation were members of the new Bishop’s family, including his mother Phil, friends from Cork, clergy from Meath, Cork and elsewhere, together with Archbishop Eamon Martin, Bishop Michael Smith, Bishop John Buckley and Bishops from across the country. Representatives of Christian denominations in attendance were Bishop Paul Colton from Cork, Canon Alastair Graham from Mullingar, Canon John Clarke from Navan, and Fr Kyrillos Hanna from the Coptic Orthodox community.
In his words of welcome, Archbishop Martin said:
“I wish to express my deep gratitude to Bishop Smith, the longest serving bishop in Ireland. He is highly respected by his brother bishops and I know that you, the people and priests of this diocese, have greatly valued his commitment and leadership and personal warmth and generosity of spirit as your father and shepherd.”
The homily was preached by Fr Denis McNelis:
“Bestowing the crozier to a new bishop is a reminder of the mission entrusted to the bishop. The staff recalls the staff of Moses who led God’s people safely through the Red Sea. It is the staff of the Good Shepherd… who seeks and searches for the lost and the wounded, those who are have been hurt. It is the staff that is used to keep the wolf at bay, to protect the little ones from danger.
Today, there are so many people who are struggling, people at their wits ends, people barely keeping their heads above the water. Stretch out your staff and let them take hold. And bring with you always the cross of Christ – the cross that will be close to your heart. Remember that Christ’s approach was different. It was his goodness and mercy that brought him suffering. But it was Christ’s suffering and death that changed everything. It was his giving totally of himself that changed the world. When we all give totally of ourselves we will ensure that all are cared for and loved as brothers and sisters of one family.
Tom as you set out as our bishop on these sometimes calm, sometimes turbulent waters of the church, may God grant you every good grace from above.”
During the Ordination ceremony, the new Bishop exchanged greetings with representatives of various aspects of life in the Diocese of Meath, including
- Oliver and Karen Gaffney from Castlepollard parish, with their children Brian (who will be confirmed by the new Bishop next year), Dylan and Sean;
- Jaison and Manju Kunnathuparambil and family, originally from Kerala in India;
- Janice Decaymat, who came to Ireland from The Philippines and is working in the caring profession;
- Tomás Nally from the Diocesan Pilgrimage to Lourdes;
- Patrick and Kathleen Dinnegan from Mullingar parish;
- Mary Hughes and Martin Marshall who volunteer with the Westmeath homeless charity TEAM (Temporary Emergency Accommodation in the Midlands);
- Rose Mulligan from Navan ‘Meals on Wheels’ and Sr Catherine Lillis, Columban Sister who runs Tabor House Centre for Addiction Recovery, Navan.
- Representatives from parishes and diocesan agencies in Cork.
In his address before the final blessing, Bishop Deenihan spoke in particular about his desire to care for the priests:
“I am particularly conscious of my role in supporting, as best I can, the spirit of joy in the priests of the Diocese. They are the men who minister in so many different places, in so many different contexts and in oft difficult circumstances reaching out to those whom they minister to. It is not always easy being a priest today; like the parable, the priests of Ireland have worked in the noonday sun. They deserve support from Bishop and Parishioners. As Saint John of the Cross teaches us, ‘it is in the darkest night that the light of faith shines purest in our hearts.’”