New bishop appointed in Cavan as congregations return to churches

New bishop appointed in Cavan as congregations return to churches

One Irish parish had double cause for thanksgiving on Monday as the return of the congregation coincided with the appointment of a new bishop.

In Cavan, Martin Hayes was unveiled as the new Bishop of Kilmore at the Cathedral of Saint Patrick and Saint Felim.

The appointment by Pope Francis was announced as places of worship across Ireland were able to welcome back some members of their congregations for services.

An upper limit of 50 people is in force, however church leaders are hopeful this could be eased in the near future.

People were also able to attend services again in Northern Ireland on Monday.

In Co Cavan, Archbishop Jude Thaddeus Okolo, the Papal Nuncio to Ireland, attended the service in the cathedral along with the new bishop.

In his address, Bishop Hayes welcomed people back to the church.

Bishop-elect Martin Hayes (left) addresses parishioners alongside Archbishop Jude Thaddeus Okolo, Apostolic Nuncio to Ireland, during his appointment as Bishop of Kilmore at the Cathedral of Saint Patrick and Saint Felim, Cavan (Liam McBurney/{PA)
Bishop-elect Martin Hayes (left) addresses parishioners alongside Archbishop Jude Thaddeus Okolo, Apostolic Nuncio to Ireland, during his appointment as Bishop of Kilmore at the Cathedral of Saint Patrick and Saint Felim, Cavan (Liam McBurney/{PA)

“We are living in strange times as we continue to cope with Covid-19,” he said.

“This is a good day as we begin to gather for the celebration of Mass in our parish churches.”

Every other pew inside the cathedral was left empty as churchgoers were spaced out in line with social distancing guidelines.

Some wore face masks, but the majority did not.

The bishop offered his sympathies to the families of all those who had lost loved ones during the pandemic.

“Also, I would like to acknowledge the service of all the healthcare and all frontline workers who have been and continue to be involved in responding to the pandemic,” he added.

The Kilmore parish comprises much of Cavan, as well as parts of Meath, Sligo, Fermanagh and Leitrim.

Monday’s appointment follows the retirement of Bishop Leo O’Reilly in December 2018.

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