The new Bishop of Limerick, Brendan Leahy, told a congregation of over 1,200 at his installation in St John’s Cathedral that while for some it is difficult to believe, moments of difficulty are written into the Christian journey of faith.
“A fellow Irishman, Bono, wrote a song some years ago. Its words ran something like this:
“I have climbed the highest mountains; I have run through the fields...
“But I still haven’t found;
“What I’m looking for.
“I don’t know what Bono had in mind, but these words can be applied to the situation many find themselves in with regard to the faith.”
As he begins a new charter as bishop, he said all in the diocese need to reach out to the marginalised and those who are broken.
In doing this, he said, we should follow the advice of Pope Francis, by starting “from the outskirts”.
“Each of us has regions that are our outskirts; people who are different from us or who we find hard to get on with; groups that we dislike because they have different views than ours; areas that we simply ignore; causes that we know are right but feel lazy about getting involved in.”
Bishop Leahy spoke of the Church’s need to seek forgiveness for it’s own sins, particularly in relation to clerical abuse.
“I want to make their pain my own pain and seek forgiveness seventy times seven. It is a deep wound also for all of us. I have been greatly consoled in knowing how much has been done in the diocese of Limerick in the area of child safeguarding.
“I am deeply indebted to the high professionalism of the many lay men and women involved in our diocesan structures in this regard. It was good to read the observation made by the audit in the National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church in Ireland that the diocese of Limerick has robust measures in place in the area of child safeguarding and protection.”
Bishop Leahy, aged 53, was born in Dublin and his parents Maurice and Treasa, were school teachers who both came from Ballyferriter in West Kerry.
While his mother is deceased, Maurice Leahy, aged 91, who taught for a period in Athea, Co Limerick, was in the congregation.
Finance Minister Michael Noonan Housing Minister Jan O’Sullivan and Mayor of Limerick Cllr Gerry McLoughlin led the public figures present. President Higgins was represented by his Aide de Camp, Col Brendan McAndrew and the Taoiseach was represented by his Aide de Camp, Comdt Michael Treacy.
Also present were the Church of Ireland Bishop of Limerick and Killaloe, Rev Trevor Williams and representatives of other Christian communities.
The Archbishop of Cashel and Emly, Dr Dermot Clifford was the chief celebrant and the co-consecrators were the apostolic nuncio, Archbishop Charles Brown, Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin and Fr Tony Mullins, who served as administrator of the diocese since the resignation of Bishop Donal Murray in Dec 2009. Cardinals Seán Brady and Desmond Connell were at the ceremony.
Up to 15 bishops and 200 priests were present at the installation.