Bishop Ray Browne, 56, was yesterday installed as head of the Church in the Kerry diocese and said many people had got through their problems with the help of others, in recent years.
“If we are to give a chance to those in need, will it mean that some who have plenty will make do with a little less?
“Love one another is a down to earth call that can bear abundant fruit. Remember those in our communities who are struggling with unemployment, financial difficulties, recent tragedies, some serious illness, or depression, or addiction. This day let us believe in our hearts that an important part of bringing light to such darkness is that we respond in our hearts to that loving plea of Jesus: love one another.
“In all we do, as Christians and as citizens, let us be gentle, kind, caring and giving, as Jesus was,’’ he said in his address.
Bishop Browne made no reference to the abortion legislation and a spokesperson said he would not be commenting on the issue, as it was not the day for it.
Upwards of 1,500 people attended the ticket-only, episcopal ordination at St Mary’s Cathedral, Killarney, preceded by a procession of about 100 priests, followed by many members of the hierarchy.
Principal ordaining bishop was Archbishop Dermot Clifford, of Cashel and Emly, assisted by the papal nuncio Archbishop Charles J Brown, and Dr Bill Murphy, Bishop Browne’s predecessor who will now have the title, bishop emeritus.
Cardinal Sean Brady, Archbishop of Armagh and primate of Ireland, was among the ordaining concelebrants.
Representatives from the 53 parishes in the Kerry diocese, which also includes parts of north and West Cork, attended the two-hour ceremony conducted in the Famine era cathedral with due formality and splendour.
The son of a train driver, Bishop Browne grew up in Athlone, Co Westmeath, and was ordained for the Diocese of Elphin in 1982. Prior to his appointment as bishop, he had been parish priest of Ballagh, Co Roscommon.
He has three sisters and three brothers and his parents are deceased.
His sisters (Maura McEvilly, Nora Cafferkey and Triona O’Flaherty) bore his mitre, staff and ring. His brothers (Jimmy, Tommy and Dermot) were also present.
Bishop Browne studied Canon Law in the Gregorian University, Rome, and obtained a science degree from UCC in 1978.
He has also worked on the Galway Regional Marriage Tribunal and was the designated person for safeguarding children in the Diocese of Elphin.
The retiring Dr Murphy, who spent 18 years as bishop, said his successor’s wide range of administrative and pastoral skills would greatly benefit the Church in Kerry.