An Offaly-born priest, aged 49 and with his own Twitter account, is to become Ireland’s youngest bishop.

Pope Francis chose Fr Fintan Monahan as the next Bishop of Killaloe.

The diocese has been without a bishop for 18 months.

At yesterday’s announcement in Ennis of the new bishop-elect, Fr Monahan remarked he did not know the procedure for changing his Twitter handle on becoming a bishop in late September or early October.

“I am a strong believer in the positive use of social media. I believe that it is an important medium,” he said.

“It is a great source of joy to remain in touch with people through Twitter.

“It is very valuable way of getting the good news out there of so many wonderful faith events in a very effective way and reaching a target audience that you wouldn’t otherwise reach in other ways. I would hope to continue to develop that.”

The Tullamore-born bishop-elect served as diocesan secretary in the Archdiocese of Tuam for the past 10 years and taught at St Jarlath’s College, Tuam, for the previous 13 years.

Yesterday, he admitted to being “absolutely shocked” to receive the call from the Papal Nuncio two weeks ago.

Fr Monahan said he told Nuncio Archbishop Charles Brown there were at least five in his class who were better suited to the job.

“The response to that was that the Holy Father has chosen you,” he said.

He consulted with a small number of people after receiving the call “and their sense was that it was a call to serve. It is taking on an enormous task but I feel that I am not worthy.”

The appointment of Fr Monahan comes against a background of declining vocations. Earlier this week, residents of the Clare village of Crusheen were told that they will lose their resident priest from September.

Bishop-elect Monahan said that dealing with the issue of vocations will be his greatest challenge in his time as Bishop of Killaloe.

A fluent Irish speaker, he enjoys the outdoor life, such as hill-walking, jogging, cycling, swimming, and gardening.

The former teacher said that he will bring energy and enthusiasm to the job.

Archbishop of Tuam, Most Rev Dr Michael Neary, said: “Father Fintan is a man of deep faith, integrity, and humility; someone who radiates a great love for and joy in priesthood.

“All those qualities are very much appreciated by those to whom he ministers. He brings great qualities of generosity, wholesomeness, and leadership to his new responsibility.”


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