Extracts from Bishop Noel Treanor’s address on the occasion of his Episcopal Ordination as Bishop of Down and Connor

Grace-filled ceremony

Dear sisters and brothers in Jesus Christ, a phobal D, Cardinal Brady welcomed you at the beginning of this beautiful and grace-filled ceremony. For my part I reiterate his words of welcome and I thank you for joining us in this beautiful liturgy. Your presence and participation are an assurance of your support for my mission.

Personal Journey

If despite my personal shortcomings, I have been entrusted with the ministry and office of bishop in your presence today, my friends, several strands and rivulets of parenting, education, correction, training and inter-personal experience have led to this day .

I recall with profound gratitude my first educators, my parents Mollie and Johnnie, with us in spirit, my uncles, aunts, family friends, my brother and sister, their spouses and families, and our neighbours – from all of whom I learned the ways of Christian living.

I recall my teachers at Leitrim School and Scoil Bhride in Tyholland, where I grew up. Like many including my predecessor I owe a debt of gratitude to the Christian Brothers and their staff who taught me in second level.

I am mindful of my teachers at Maynooth, both in the National University and in the Pontifical faculty of Theology : I thank you for opening my mind all those years ago and I thank many of you for your interest in and contributions to my work in Europe.

And I trust that my classmates of both ordination classes of 1975 and 1976 will feel welcome to visit me here and that we shall now have a chance to re-connect in our silver years !

My thanks also go to the Irish College, Rome, to the Gregorian University and to the many institutions with which I had contact in my student days and indeed again in the past twenty years.

You will appreciate that on this occasion I should like to evoke the name of the late Bishop Patrick Mulligan who ordained me to the priesthood on 13 June 1976 : I remember him with fondness. And I thank Bishop Duffy for his good counsel and guidance over many years.

I thank my friends and colleagues, the priests of the diocese of Clogher, the religious and laity of the parishes of Monaghan and Enniskillen, where I worked as a curate in the days of my youth. I thank you for your friendship and for your oftentimes edifying and exemplary example of service in your particular walk of life.

European Posting

Like many of you here today, I am a child of Ulster. In 1989 I left Enniskillen after a formative and short term as curate to take up an appointment with the Commission of the Bishops Conferences of the European Community (COMECE). Despite some misgivings on my part after one year of service there, which might have led to my return to the bucolic pastoral lands of the Clogher valley had luck been with me, Bishop Duffys good counsel prevailed at that time. Thus I spent almost two decades of my life working in the service of the Church in Europe more precisely on an emergent interface between Church and that historic, unique and precious project which is the European Union.

These were happy, enriching and formative years. I saw at first hand how reconciliation between erstwhile enemies is possible and can be achieved. I worked with colleagues -become friends for life – from many different national and cultural backgrounds. In the spirit of the Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World, Gaudium et Spes, our work was enhanced by the expertise of many women and men in the European institutions, in public life, in academia and research, in business and finance : I thank many of them here today for the effort you have made to be with us and for your contribution to the life of the Church in Europe and beyond its borders through the work of COMECE.

Peter and Paul

As I follow in the footsteps of Bishop Patrick Walsh, I am aware of setting forth in this ministry on the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul, on the first day of the Year of St. Paul, and also in the first quarter of the Year of Vocation here in Ireland.

The memory of Peter and Paul, strong personalities, who wrestled with weakness, both of whom experienced the bitter-sweet moment of conversion, invites us to return to the source of our Christian faith: what better way than taking the reading of the letters of St. Paul as a project for the forthcoming twelve months.

In that body of literature we find windows unto the deep yearnings of our own minds and hearts, upon our intimations of the divine. We find a personal testimony to the power for faith, hope and charity which freely chosen belief in Jesus Christ released in the life of St. Paul, a Jew, and at a time a persecutor of Christians.

Reading St. Pauls letters will enable us to consider how we give concrete expression to our vocation in our lifes setting, with its opportunities and its trials. Reading and mulling over these texts, as vibrant and pertinent today as they were 2000 years ago, will sharpen our sense of the Christian life, rooted in free and maturely considered personal choice. Delving into their pages will remind us of our shared responsibility to foster vocations to ministry within the Church so that the Word of God may be proclaimed and so that our Christian communities may be active in diaconal service.

Year of Vocation

In the context of the Year of Vocation, launched by Archbishop Martin on Vocations Sunday, 13 April last, I am deeply aware of the quiet and unsung heroism which the clergy of this diocese demonstrated as they served their people throughout the years of the Troubles. So too I am deeply aware of the same quiet and unsung heroism and forgiveness shown by people who had themselves suffered so much during those same years. On 22nd February I had the opportunity to meet with the members of the Council of Priests, the Vicars Forane and a representative of the religious orders working in the diocese. Fellow members of the presbyterate of Down and Connor, I am sure that as you faced the challenges of those years, now together with Bishops Farquhar and McKeown and myself, you will engage with the challenges of the present and the future.

No doubt we shall have many issues to face, as did the preceding generations. Several journalists have asked me understandably what plans I have to address this and that issue. Rest assured: I do not come with pre-conceived plans. My intention is rather to listen and to do my best to hear and understand – and to do so for as long as it takes to gain a sense of what is in your hearts and minds as the clergy and laity of this diocese, my new home. Together we shall have to decipher with prayer, study, analysis and imagination how the Gospel of Christ can best be proclaimed in our time.


In a sermon St.Augustine of Hippo once said of himself as bishop: vobis sum episcopus, vobiscum christianus I am a bishop for you, I am a Christian like you. Sharing your joys and sorrows, your anxieties and fears, your doubts and self-questioning, as every bishop does, I also know that I am called and have accepted to be a bishop for you. I have accepted an office and function of leadership. Episcopal leadership is first and foremost a service rendered in devotion to both the local Church and the universal Church. Exercising this form of leadership entails several modes: proclaiming the Word of God whether it is welcome or unwelcome, fostering and maintaining unity within the ecclesial community, drawing on, releasing and directing the talents and gifts among clergy and laity.

Tim ag tnuth leis na curaim nua at amach romham. Ach beidh m i measc daoine filteach agus is mr agam bhur n-uaisleacht, bhur n-ionracas is bhur muintearas.

So I ask you to pray that I may be capable of this leadership in service, so that I may follow humbly and effectively in the footsteps of my predecessors in serving this diocese with its past history of faith, prayer and of spiritual courage in recent decades.

Go maire sibh agus go raibh sibh uilig faoi choimirce D is na Maighdine Muire. Is faoi mhuinin De go mairimid.


The Crosses:

(i) Christ crucified – Redemption
(ii) Also an adaptation of the Cross which appears in the Arms of Brussels,
where Bishop Treanor worked – a European reference.

The Sprig of Rowan/Mountain Ash:

Associated with St Macartan, disciple of St Patrick, Patron of Clogher.

Fess Wavy Argent:

A reference to Silverstream, Co Monaghan, Bishop Treanors home area.


Bishop Treanor has chosen for his Episcopal Motto a phrase from St Pauls Letter to the Ephesians (Eph. 5:8): Sicut Filii Lucis Ambulate (Walk as Children of Light).