Father Gavin to become fourth bishop appointed by the Vatican to join Diocese of Cork and Ross

Father Fintan Gavin, 53, will become the fourth bishop to be appointed by the Vatican to join the Diocese of Cork and Ross, since it was formed in 1958.

Father Gavin to become fourth bishop appointed by the Vatican to join Diocese of Cork and Ross

Father Fintan Gavin, 53, will become the fourth bishop to be appointed by the Vatican to join the Diocese of Cork and Ross, since it was formed in 1958.

A noted canon lawyer, he is a member of the Case Management Committee of the National Board for Safeguarding of Children in the Catholic Church in Ireland.

Bishop-elect Gavin was born in Dublin on January 1, 1966 and is the second eldest of seven brothers and sisters. His family roots are in Marino, on Dublin's northside.

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.

In 1990 he was ordained to the Diaconate by the former Archbishop of Dublin, Archbishop Desmond Connell, and was ordained to serve as a priest of the Archdiocese by Bishop Éamonn Walsh, Auxiliary Bishop of Dublin. He was appointed to the Saint Vincent de Paul Parish Church in Marino in June 1991.

Up to his 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.

While serving in the inner city parish of Saint Andrews, Westland Row, Dublin, Bishop elect Gavin collaborated in the ‘Second Chance Saturday’, offering an invitation and an encouragement to people who had drifted from the Church to give their faith a second change, reaching out through street ministry and offering social time and hospitality.

He led groups of young people to International World Youth Days in Madrid, Rio de Janeiro and Krakow and has participated as a chaplain to the Dublin Diocesan Children’s Pilgrimage to Lourdes each year during Easter Week.

Recently he worked with the Music Director to develop the Gospel Choir in Our Lady of Victories Parish, Ballymun Road in Dublin. The choir was chosen to lead the liturgical singing during the meeting of Pope Francis with engaged and newly married couples at the Pro Cathedral during the World Meeting of Families last August.

He is fluent in Italian and Spanish and enjoys walking, cooking - especially vegetarian - and gardening.

Bishop John Buckley has been a familiar figure in the life of Cork for many years, whether as parish priest, president of St Finbarr's seminary or in his role as Bishop of Cork and Ross since 1998.

There is great affection in the city and across the diocese for Bishop Buckley, who is known for his frequent hospital visits, love of hurling and football and his passion for road bowling. For many years, he was known as 'The Bowling Bishop' and was never shy about participating in road bowling, a sport peculiar to Cork and Armagh.

Whether during hospital visits, attending funerals or at sporting events, the tall, angular figure of Bishop Buckley has always been notable for the easy charm and affable demeanour that has endeared him to people of all religions, among them his Church of Ireland counterpart, Bishop Paul Colton, who wished him "every joy, contentment and blessing on his retirement".

Born in Inchigeela in the parish of Uibh Laoire, he studied for the priesthood at St Patrick's College, Maynooth, and was ordained in 1965. He taught at St Finbarr’s College, Farranferris, becoming college president in 1975. He worked for a year as parish priest of Turner’s Cross Parish in Cork city before he was made Auxiliary Bishop of Cork and Ross in 1984.

He became the diocesan administrator following the death of Bishop Michael Murphy in October 1996 and was appointed to succeed him in December 1997. He was installed as Bishop of Cork and Ross at the Cathedral of St. Mary and St. Anne in Cork (known to parishioners as the North Cathedral) in February 1998.

Shortly after becoming bishop, he showed his skills as a negotiator when he managed to end a row that had been simmering for years concerning the merger of the dioceses of Cork and Ross in 1958. A priest in the Ross part of the diocese had challenged the authority of both Bishop Murphy and his immediate predecessor, Bishop Cornelius Lucey, and wanted Ross restored as an independent diocese.

Bishop Buckley proved himself to be as good a listener as a talker when he went to meet the priest and persuaded him the merger was in the best interest of the people of the diocese.

As bishop, he has always been a traditionalist without being authoritarian. He was an outspoken defender of retaining the 8th amendment to the Constitution and supports Pope Francis' refusal to appoint women priests, declaring that “The Pope has stated quite clearly that he hasn’t the authority from Christ to ordain women".

Yet, it will be as a pastor rather than a prelate that the people of the diocese will remember their friend, Bishop John Buckley.

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