Pope Francis has appointed the Very Reverend Thomas Deenihan (a priest of the Diocese of Cork & Ross) as the new Bishop of Meath.
Bishop Deenihan's appointment was revealed this morning following the celebration of 10am Mass in the Cathedral of Christ the King, Mullingar in the presence of His Excellency the Apostolic Nuncio to Ireland, Archbishop Jude Thaddeus Okolo, and Bishop Michael Smith, Bishop of Meath.
In his address at Mullingar Cathedral this morning Bishop Deenihan said "It is quite daunting to stand before you this morning! Two weeks ago today, the Nuncio made contact with me and when we met the day after, he told me of the Holy Father’s wish to appoint me to this Diocese. My initial reaction was one of fear and there have been sleepless nights since. There is an acute sense of being unworthy for the task, the enormity of the task and a deficit too in local knowledge – be it geography or personality. Dare I mention the difficulties that deciphering a Cork accent will cause in this historic diocese!
"I know that I have much to learn from you all in the months ahead. Be patient with me!
"I always had the view that the Diocese of Meath has a unified and a talented clergy and younger too than many other dioceses. That must be a blessing. In the weeks and months ahead, I look forward to meeting the priests of the Diocese and visiting the various parishes. Those parishes could not survive either without the work and expertise of the laity who live in them and give of their talents willingly and freely. I look forward to working with those people into the future and benefiting from their expertise, commitment and talents in supporting the Diocese, particularly in the areas of education, finance and safeguarding."
Bishop Michael Smith was consecrated as Auxiliary Bishop of the Diocese of Meath in 1984, and was appointed Bishop of Meath on 16 May 1990. The Diocese of Meath includes the greater part of counties Meath, Westmeath and Offaly, and a portion of counties Longford, Louth, Dublin and Cavan. There are 69 parishes in the Diocese of Meath and the patron saint is Saint Finian.
Bishop-elect Tom Deenihan was born in the parish of Blackpool in Cork city on 20 June 1967. He attended the North Monastery Christian Brothers School in the city. After completing post-primary education, he studied in the national seminary of Saint Patrick’s College, Maynooth. Bishop-elect Deenihan was ordained a deacon by Bishop Michael Smith, Bishop of Meath, in Maynooth on 1 April 1990. On 1 June 1991 he was ordained to the priesthood for the Diocese of Cork & Ross by the late Bishop Michael Murphy.
Since Ordination, Bishop-elect Deenihan worked in Glanmire Parish (1991-1994), taught in Saint Goban’s College Bantry (1994-2003) during which time he also worked in the parishes of Schull, Kealkil and Bantry. During that time also he undertook a Masters and Doctoral Degree in Education. In 2003, Bishop John Buckley, Bishop of Cork & Ross, appointed him as Diocesan Advisor for Post-Primary Catechetics and, in 2006, as Diocesan Secretary and Diocesan Education Secretary.
A morning of great joy with the Papal Nuncio and of #gratitude for +Michael @CatholicBishops and as we welcomed the appointment by @Pontifex of Canon Thomas Deenihan as our new bishop. pic.twitter.com/sJgH4QmskU— Diocese of Meath (@dioceseofmeath) June 18, 2018
On a national level, Bishop-elect Deenihan served as General Secretary of the Catholic Primary Schools Management Association from 2013 to 2016, and as acting-executive secretary to the Council for Education and to the Commission for Catholic Education and Formation of the Irish Episcopal Conference from 2016 to date.
Canon Deenihan is a member of the Honan Governors at University College Cork; a member of Mercy Care South, a Diocesan Public Juridic Person for the Mercy University Hospital in Cork; and is chair of the Board of Directors of the Christian Leadership in Education Office. In 2017 Bishop Buckley appointed him a Canon and a member of the Cathedral Chapter in Cork.