His Holiness Pope Francis has appointed Fr Fintan Gavin, Chancellor of the Archdiocese of Dublin, as the new Bishop of Cork and Ross.
The appointment was announced simultaneously in the Vatican and after morning Mass in the Cathedral of Saint Mary and Saint Anne on the northside of Cork city, where Bishop-elect Gavin concelebrated with His Excellency the Apostolic Nuncio to Ireland, Archbishop Jude Thaddeus Okolo, Bishop Emeritus of Cork and Ross, Bishop John Buckley and with priests of the diocese.
He will succeed Bishop Buckley, 79, who was installed as Bishop of Cork and Ross in February 1998.
The diocese, which includes Cork city and part of the county, has some 220,000 Catholics living in its 68 parishes.
Bishop-elect Gavin, 53, said he was shocked and humbled by the appointment but was looking forward to his new ministry.
“I am conscious of those who have felt let down by the Church and are just ‘hanging in there’. I encourage you not to give up,” he said.
Setting out on this new ministry, I have a lot to learn from you the people, religious, deacons and priests of the Diocese of Cork and Ross. I look forward to listening to you and benefiting from your experience, from your wisdom and guidance.
Bishop Buckley joked that it is a great honour for a Dublin man to be promoted to the real capital.
"We always think down here that there are only two categories of people in Ireland - Cork people and those who wish they were Cork people. You have now obtained your wish thanks to Pope Francis," he said.
He spoke of the diocese's contribution to the missions, and said it and its priests faces challenges
"Cork and Ross is an extensive diocese, encompassing a large city, ever-growing suburbs, large towns, rural parishes, islands, educational establishments, prison, hospitals and, for 40-years, a faraway mission in Peru and Ecuador," he said.
"The demands on the priests, therefore, have been varied and challenging.
"There was always a willing manpower to fulfil whatever duties were demanded to provide for the spiritual care of the people.
And in recent years, despite their increasing age profile and the constraints regarding personnel and the increasing population of their parishes, the priests have continued to provide for their parishioners a full parish service.
"Their only desire is to bring people closer to Christ and to serve the people as effectively as possible."
Bishop-elect Gavin was born in Dublin on 1 January 1966.
The second eldest of seven brothers and sisters, his family roots are in Marino, Saint Vincent de Paul Parish, on the Northside of Dublin.
Prior to his seminary formation in Clonliffe College, Dublin, Bishop-elect Gavin had begun training as a residential social worker in Our Lady’s Hostel, Eccles Street, Dublin, from September 1983 – August 1984.
He was ordained to the Diaconate by the former Archbishop of Dublin, Archbishop Desmond Connell, in 1990, and was ordained to serve as a priest of the Archdiocese by the Bishop Éamonn Walsh, Auxiliary Bishop of Dublin, and was appointed to the Saint Vincent de Paul Parish Church, Marino, Dublin, in June 1991.
Up to today’s appointment to the Diocese of Cork and Ross, Bishop-elect Gavin was chancellor in the Archdiocese of Dublin and parish chaplain in Ballymun Road parish and the grouping parishes of Iona Road, Drumcondra, Glasnevin, Ballymun Road and Ballygall, Dublin.
He was also chaplain to the Italian speaking community in the Dublin Archdiocese and chaplain to the annual Dublin Diocesan Children’s Pilgrimage to Lourdes.
He is fluent in Italian and Spanish and enjoys keeping fit, walking, cooking - especially vegetarian, and gardening.