Pope Francis has appointed Dublin priest Fr Fintan Gavin as the new Bishop of Cork & Ross.
Concelebrating Mass in the Cathedral of St Mary & St Anne in Cork City with the Apostolic Nuncio to Ireland, Archbishop Jude Thaddeus Okolo; Bishop Emeritus of Cork & Ross, John Buckley and with priests of the diocese, Bishop-elect Gavin spoke of his excitement at becoming “part of your great sense of community and making my home among you”.
“Today is about the people of the Diocese of Cork & Ross, one of the largest dioceses in Ireland,” he told the congregation. “I have experienced in Cork people their great sense of community spirit and warm welcome across all the generations of all age groups and places.
“I look forward to becoming part of your great sense of community and making my home among you. That community spirit is alive in active and faith-filled parishes throughout the diocese as people and priests work together.
“I look forward to supporting and being enriched by the community spirit here and together in collaborative ministry, getting to know you as I visit and meet and engage with you in the parishes across the diocese.”
Extending his “warm welcome” to Bishop-elect Gavin, Bishop Buckley said: “I am certain that the people of Cork will give him the traditional ‘Céad Míle Fáilte’. It is a great honour for a Dublin man to be promoted to the real capital of Cork!”
Listing Cork people “who made it big in Dublin”, Bishop Buckley added: “Perhaps now is a good time to begin reversing that trend and that Dublin people would make a contribution to Cork! 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.”
Bishop Buckley concluded: “Mgr Fintan, your appointment will be a new beginning and I can assure you of the prayerful support of myself, priests, religious and the people of the diocese and, particularly, the prayers of the sick in our hospitals and nursing homes who are cared for so well. May God bless you.”
The Primate of All-Ireland and Archbishop of Armagh, Eamon Martin, extended his best wishes and blessings to Bishop-elect Gavin, describing him as “a gentle, friendly pastor, and a hardworking priest and canon lawyer”.
Archbishop Martin also expressed his gratitude to Bishop Buckley, the longest serving current member of the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference.
“As a relative newcomer to the Bishops’ Conference, I have personally valued Bishop Buckley’s carefully chosen and incisive contributions to our discussions – which drew from a depth of pastoral wisdom and intuition.
“Bishop Emeritus John’s personal commitment to visiting the sick, the housebound and those in hospital is well known and is typical of his selfless dedication as a pastor close to his people. At local and national level Bishop Buckley has remained a fearless advocate for the right to life of unborn children.”
Archbishop Martin concluded: “As with his people in Cork and Ross, Bishop Emeritus John will continue to be held in esteem and affection by his brother bishops. I pray God’s blessing on him for a long, healthy and well-deserved retirement.”
Meanwhile, the Archbishop of Dublin, Diarmuid Martin, extended his warm congratulations to Bishop-elect Gavin, who is currently chancellor of the Archdiocese of Dublin.
“Fr Gavin will be missed in our diocese where he is known for his experience, knowledge and personal warmth,” he said.
“I am personally very pleased that his contribution has been recognised by Pope Francis and that he will have a an opportunity to bring his gifts and wide pastoral experience to the Diocese of Cork and Ross. He will be missed by all of us in Dublin but I know he will minister to the very best of his ability for the people of Cork and the wider Irish Church at the Bishops’ Conference level.”
Bishop-elect Gavin was born in Dublin on 1st January 1966 and baptised in St Andrews Church, Westland Row, Dublin. The second eldest of seven brothers and sisters, his family roots are in Marino, on the northside of Dublin.
He played hurling and football with St Vincent’s GAA Club, Marino, and was a member of Marino Athletic Club. 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, until August 1984.
He was ordained by Auxiliary Bishop of Dublin, Éamonn Walsh, in June 1991.
Picture: Bishop-elect of Cork & Ross, Fintan Gavin, with diocesan secretary, Brid O’Connell. (Tony O’Connell).