Homily of Bishop Denis Nulty at Mass for the Announcement of new Bishop of Ossory
St. Mary’s Cathedral, Kilkenny 28.10.2022, 11am
Feast of St. Simon & Jude, Apostles
Luke’s gospel names the twelve disciples and it is here that we find the names of Simon listed tenth, and Jude listed eleventh, the two whose feastday is celebrated this day. And what an historic day this is, as Pope Francis has just named Fr. Niall Coll, as the 96th successor to St. Kieran here in Ossory.
I, along with the people, priests and religious of Ossory, very warmly welcome this announcement and assure Fr. Niall of our support, our prayers and our encouragement. I thank Msgr. Julien Kaboré, the Chargé d’Affaires at the Apostolic Nunciature who represents Pope Francis this day. And what a great message Msgr. Julien has brought us from the Holy Father. I thank all of you for being present at such short notice, representing every aspect of the life of this great diocese.
In the footsteps of St Kieran & St. Canice, Fr. Niall too comes a journey to the people of Ossory – as Kieran once came from Cape Clear and Canice from Ulster – Fr. Niall now comes from Donegal Town in Raphoe Diocese. Fr. Niall, I know you will be warmly welcomed here. You have been called by the Lord to this new ministry as the apostles Simon and Jude were once called too. Interestingly they are commemorated together, companions in the mission of gospel proclamation, a mission which cost them their lives. As Bishops we need more than ever to be companions on the journey, companions with one another and those we work alongside.
I have known Niall since our student days together in Maynooth in the 1980’s and as such, understand full well his immense abilities, his deep faith and his great energy for theology, pastoral ministry and lay faith formation. Having journeyed with the people of Ossory as Apostolic Administrator I know how wonderfully Bishop Elect Niall will settle here. This is a good home. I know also that Fr. Niall is known to many in this Diocese, as he mentioned himself, some he has taught in his years lecturing in systematic theology, many others he has encountered in various settings throughout his ministry. Our paths in life bring us together – the Lords hand in every encounter.
Over the past 20 months it is been my joy to serve as Apostolic Administrator and in that time great work has been carried out by the many various groups and people in the Diocese. I have enjoyed the opportunities to visit all of the Pastoral Areas in Ossory; to witness the transition from the lay deanery structure to these new means of our working together. We have gathered for many happy occasions and some sad – but in each of these moments the Lord has been present with us; we have been truly blessed. Ossory is a Diocese with a very rich history and with an ever more promising future.
Niall, as we move into the weeks ahead, and as we plan for your Ordination as the next Bishop of Ossory, we will continue to hold you in our prayers. That the Lord who has called you to this new ministry will support you as your undertake it. I know the fulsome support that the priests, religious and lay faithful of Ossory will give you not only in these weeks as you prepare, but in the many years to come as your paths now continue together.
May St Canice support you, may St Kieran guide you and may St Fergal bring you the assurance of God’s presence and blessing in your new ministry as shepherd of Ossory.