The former rector general of the Pallottines, Mgr Samus Freeman, was ordained the 94th Bishop of Ossory yesterday afternoon in a two-and-three-quarter hour ceremony in St Marys Cathedral, Kilkenny.

May his coming to our church be truly an advent time so that in the darkness and wilderness of our lives we might encounter Christ anew

Mgr Liam Bergin, homily

click here for full text of homily

The principal consecrator was Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin, assisted by Apostolic Nuncio Guiseppe Lazzarotto and Bishop Freemans predecessor, Dr Laurence Forristal, who has stepped down after 26 years as bishop.

Attendance

The attendance included Cardinals Sen Brady and Desmond Connell and several members of the Irish Bishops Conference including Archbishop Dermot Clifford and Bishops Willie Walsh, John Buckley, Willie Lee and Denis Brennan.

Other dignitaries present included Mayor Marie Fitzpatrick, Kilkenny TDs Phil Hogan and Bobby Aylward and the former Church of Ireland archbishop of Dublin, Dr Walton Empey. The event was also attended by a large retinue of friends and former colleagues of the new Bishop who travelled from Rome.

Each of the 43 parishes in the diocese was represented as well as schools, sports and other organisations.

During the ceremony, 63-year old Bishop Freeman was presented with the crozier, one of the oldest ecclesiastical symbols in Kilkenny which dates from 1839.

Homily

In his homily Monsignor Liam Bergin, rector of the Irish College in Rome and himself a native of the diocese, said that at its heart, the Church was a communion and should never be understood as a multi-national corporation or a business or a political structure.

It is primarily a communion of believers struggling to live out their faith in the world in which they live, he said.

He said the communion of believers in a diocese was overseen, not by a chief executive but by a bishop who was not a business leader nor a management expert nor a political representative, but must be a man of faith and hope who lovingly walks with others on lifes journey encouraging, consoling, teaching, leading.

Mgr Bergin said that the church in Ossory was welcoming a new overseer.

May his coming to our church be truly an advent time so that in the darkness and wilderness of our lives we might encounter Christ anew, he said.

Pilgrimmage

On the day before his ordination, Bishop Freeman undertook a pilgrimage from his native Callan to two of the dioceses oldest monastic settlements, Seir Kieran in Co. Offaly and Aghaboe in Co. Laois.

For more coverage – visit www.ossory.ie