Pope appoints Archbishop Martin as Apostolic Administrator of Diocese of Dromore

Archbishop Eamon Martin.
Archbishop Eamon Martin.

Archbishop Eamon Martin has been appointed by the Pope as the Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Dromore.,

Pope Francis announced the appointment today, that Archbishop Martin, who is the ‘Metropolitan Archbishop of the ecclesiastical province of Armagh’, will become the Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Dromore with immediate effect,

Resignation letter: Bishop John McAreavey

Resignation letter: Bishop John McAreavey

It follows the resignation of Dr John McAreavey as Bishop of Dromore in March 2018. He had been the subject of intense media scrurtiny regarding his role in dealing with child sex abuse allegations levelled at Fr Malachy Finnegan.

At short notice, Bishop Philip Boyce OCD (79) took over from Dr McAreavey.

Bishop Boyce said, “I am very happy to welcome Archbishop Eamon Martin as the new Apostolic Administrator of Dromore.

“I wish to thank the people and clergy for their prayers, goodwill, encouragement and unstinting support over the last year. While I am looking forward to my retirement, I remain available to pastorally support Archbishop Martin, and Dromore, in any way that I can.”

Bishop Philip Boyce

Bishop Philip Boyce

Archbishop Eamon Martin said, “The Holy Father has asked me to take over the role of Apostolic Administrator from Bishop Boyce whilst continuing with my role as Archbishop of Armagh.

“I am humbled by Pope Francis’ request and grateful for his confidence in me. It will be an honour for me to serve the people, priests and religious of Dromore during this transitional time for the diocese. Please pray for me as I take up this new responsibility.”

Archbishop Martin will celebrate the annual Mass of Chrism for the priests and people of the Diocese of Dromore at 10:30am this Holy Thursday in the Cathedral of Saint Patrick & Saint Colman, Newry, and the Easter Sunday Mass at 10.00am, also in the cathedral.

Please see below the letter of Archbishop Eamon Martin to the people, clergy and religious of the Diocese of Dromore which has been published today.

Archbishop Eamon Martin was born on 30 October 1961 in Pennyburn, Derry. Archbishop Martin was ordained a priest in Saint Eugene’s Cathedral, Derry, by the late Bishop Edward Daly on 28 June 1987.

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI appointed him as Coadjutor Archbishop of Armagh on 18 January 2013.

On 8 September 2014 Archbishop Martin became the 116th successor of Saint Patrick, Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland.

Archbishop Martin is the Metropolitan Archbishop of the province of Armagh and this area includes the dioceses of Armagh, Ardagh & Clonmacnoise, Clogher, Derry, Down & Connor, Dromore, Kilmore, Meath, and Raphoe.

The Diocese of Dromore has a Catholic population of 90,000. The diocese has 22 parishes with 25 priests in active ministry.

An Apostolic Administrator is appointed to temporarily govern a diocese when special circumstances warrant such an appointment. He governs in the name of the Holy Father.

The appointment of Archbishop Eamon Martin as Apostolic Administrator has taken place by Decree issued 15 April 2019 which grants him the rights, faculties and responsibilities attributed to a diocesan bishop that are applicable in accordance with canon law.

In a letter to his parishioners, Archbishop Martin said: “Last year, on Monday of Holy Week (26/3/2018), following the resignation of Bishop John McAreavey, Pope Francis appointed Bishop Philip Boyce OCD, as the Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Dromore.

“One year on from that announcement, the Holy Father has asked me to take over the role of Apostolic Administrator from Bishop Boyce. I thank Bishop Boyce for so willingly giving up a full year of his retirement to step in at short notice and accept governance responsibility for the Diocese of Dromore.

“I am humbled by this request from Pope Francis and grateful for his confidence in me. Whilst continuing my roles as Archbishop of Armagh and President of the Irish Episcopal Conference, it will now also be an honour for me to serve you - the people, priests and religious of Dromore - during this transitional time for the diocese. I aim to provide as much stability as possible for Dromore as we await the Holy Father’s decision regarding the appointment of a new bishop in the future.

“One of my first priorities in the diocese will be to receive a full briefing on safeguarding issues and to be updated on any statutory investigations into these matters. I shall, of course, fully cooperate with developments in this regard. “I will also strongly encourage the positive pastoral initiatives and administrative developments already underway in the diocese to ensure that the parishes of Dromore remain vibrant, missionary and in a state of readiness for the future.

“Although in many ways as Archbishop of Armagh I am already your “next door neighbour”, I look forward to getting to know you better and to learning and appreciating the unique characteristics of this historic diocese of Dromore.

“I am looking forward to my first visits to the Cathedral of Saint Patrick & Saint Colman in Newry for the Chrism Mass on Holy Thursday at 10.30am and for Easter Sunday Morning Mass at 10.00am. I will be praying for you there. Please pray for me. Thank you and may God bless you all.”