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Thurles Born Fr. Martin Hayes New Bishop Of Kilmore Diocese.

Thurles born Bishop-elect Martin Hayes
Photograph courtesy G. Willoughby

Former, much loved Thurles priest, Fr. Martin Hayes, has been unveiled by Pope Francis (Jorge Mario Bergoglio) as the new Bishop of Kilmore, at the Cathedral of Saint Patrick and Saint Felim, Farnham St, Kinnypottle, Co. Cavan. His appointment, on the feast day of St. Peter and St. Paul (Monday, June 29th), follows the retirement of Bishop Leo O’Reilly in December of 2018.

A native of Two-Mile-Borris, Thurles, Co. Tipperary; Bishop-elect Hayes received his primary school education at Saint Kevin’s National School, Littleton, and his secondary school education here in the Christian Brothers School, Thurles. He graduated from the then NIHE, Co. Limerick, [now the University of Limerick], with a BS in Manufacturing Technology.

Close family members attend at unveiling of Thurles born Fr. Martin Hayes as new Bishop of Kilmore Diocese.

Bishop-elect Hayes entered Saint Patrick’s College seminary, Thurles, in September 1983, before being ordained a deacon five years later on April 4th 1988. He was ordained to the priesthood on June 10th 1989, by His Grace Archbishop Dermot Clifford; latter now retired.

Later the then Fr. Martin obtained a Licentiate in Philosophy in Rome, in 1991, while staying at the Pontifical Irish College, and subsequently served as curate in the Thurles Parish with responsibility for the church of St. Joseph & St. Brigid, Bothar na Naomh and as an active member of the ‘Cashel & Emly Ongoing Formation and Education of Priests Committee’ in 2003.

In July 2007, the Bishop-elect was appointed Administrator of the Cathedral of the Assumption, Cathedral Street, Thurles, before being appointed 10 years later, in August 2017, to the full-time post of Director of Pastoral Planning & Development in the Archdiocese of Cashel & Emly.

Bishop-elect Hayes served as delegate for the diocese in preparation for the 9th World Meeting of Families and the visit of Pope Francis to Ireland in 2018.

His new Diocese of Kilmore has a Catholic population of some 69,000 people, and is served by 51 priests who minister in 35 parishes comprising 95 churches. The Kilmore parish itself comprises much of Co. Cavan, together with parts of Co. Meath, Co. Sligo, Co. Fermanagh and Co. Leitrim.

His appointment today, by Pope Francis, was announced as places of worship across Ireland began to welcome back members of their congregations for religious services. In keeping with Government and HSE guidelines regarding public gatherings; in relation to the Covid-19 virus pandemic, an upper limit of 50 people came into force today, with church leader’s hopeful that this will be further eased in the not too distant future.

Archbishop Jude Thaddeus Okolo, the Papal Nuncio to Ireland, was amongst those in attendance at the service in the Cathedral to welcome the new bishop.

With social distancing guidelines fully observed; Bishop Elect Martin Hayes welcomed his congregation back to the Cathedral, pointing out that “We are living in strange times as we continue to cope with Covid-19, nevertheless this is a good day as we begin once again to gather for the celebration of Mass in all our parish churches.”

Bishop Hayes offered his personal sympathies to the families of all who had sadly lost loved ones to date, during the Covid-19 pandemic, while acknowledging the huge service by healthcare and other frontline workers who continue to remain involved in responding to this pandemic.

Residents of Thurles wish Bishop Martin Hayes every success in his new role and new Diocese.

Go mbeannaí Dia duit.

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