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Ashbourne-Donaghmore Parish Congratulates Bishop Nulty on his Ordination
Friday, August 9th 2013

Bishop Denis Nulty was ordained Bishop of Kildare & Leighlin on Sunday  4th August in Carlow Cathedral. Below are some of the texts of the addresses made on the day including photos from the ceremony.

This post contains the following sections:

Opening Remarks of Most Rev. Diarmuid Martin, Archbishop of Dublin

Cathedral of the Assumption, Carlow, 4th August 2013

The Second Vatican Council noted that among the principal duties of the bishop the preaching of the Gospel is preeminent.  Ireland today needs a renewed and dynamic preaching of the Gospel.

We come to invoke the Holy Spirit on this priest, Denis Nulty, called to the office of Bishop in the service of this local Church of Kildare and Leighlin.  Through the laying on of hands and the Prayer of Consecration the grace of the Holy Spirit will be bestowed on him that he may carry forward the mission of Christ himself as teacher, shepherd and high priest and can act in the person of Christ in a special way.

We come to pray for Denis.  This Church of Kildare and Leighlin rejoices as it receives its new Bishop. The entire Church in Ireland joins in this rejoicing.  I would like to remember on this day Bishop Jim Moriarity and also to express my special appreciation to Monsignor Brendan Byrne for the manner in which he has led this diocese over these past years, as well as to the priests and lay leaders of this great diocese which has played and continues to play such a significant role in the life of the Church in Ireland.

We celebrate this liturgy on the Feast of Saint John Vianney, patron of priests.  A Bishop is not simply a manager or an administrator or a social commentator.  He is and remains always a priest and shares in the very fullness of the priesthood of Jesus Christ. The ministry of the Bishop is priestly ministry.  The centre and the focal point of a diocese is not the Diocesan Offices, but the Cathedra of the Bishop and the altar of the Cathedral where the bishop exercises his priestly functions and animates the sacramental life of the local Church.

The Second Vatican Council noted that among the principal duties of the bishop the preaching of the Gospel is preeminent.  Ireland today needs a renewed and dynamic preaching of the Gospel.  We cannot let this Year of Faith pass and still be a weary Church.  We cannot remain the Church of yesterday. Pope Francis latest tweet is clear:  “The security of faith does not make us motionless or close us off, but sends us forth to bear witness and to dialogue with all people”.  We need to seek new paths.  We have to Share the Good News with the enthusiasm that good news brings with it.

What is this good news?  One of the most quoted phrases of Pope Benedict is to be found in the opening paragraph of his first Encyclical Des Caritas Est: “Being Christian is not the result of an ethical choice or a lofty idea, but the encounter with an event, a person, which gives life a new horizon and a decisive direction”.  Taking up those words of Pope Benedict, Denis, your mission as a Bishop is not to moralise or to boast of lofty words, but to witness to others of what your own encounter with Christ means to you in your life and to share that experience with others, especially young people.

Where do we share that good news?  Just over a week ago Pope Francis spoke in the Cathedral in Rio de Janeiro to Bishops who had attended World Youth Day.  He spoke to them about the mission of the Church, the mission of the Bishop, and about how and where we should be sharing the good news:  “We cannot keep ourselves shut up in parishes, in our communities, in our parish or diocesan institutions, when so many people are waiting for the Gospel!  We have to go out as ones sent. It is not enough simply to open the door in welcome because they come, but we must go out through that door to seek and meet the people!  Let us think resolutely about pastoral needs, beginning on the outskirts, with those who are farthest away, with those who do not usually go to church”

My wish for you, Denis, in the days and years to come, is that you will discover ever more deeply the joy that comes from sharing with others what your faith in Jesus Christ means to you and discover the joy that comes through being a member of the community of believers, the Church.

Now together we will renew our commitment to the faith we received in our baptism and ask for the grace of pardon and strength.

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Ordination Address of Bishop Denis Nulty

Cathedral of the Assumption, Carlow
4th August 2013

The very beautiful story is told of the Curé of Ars, one Fr. John Mary Vianney enquiring the direction of Ars from a group of school children. Initially he struggled to make them understand his question until one of the boys Anthony Givre showed him the way to Ars. “My little friend”, Abbé Vianney said to him “you have shown me the road to Ars, I will show you the road to heaven”. Today a statue marks that spot where the enquiry was made and the direction was given. That was 1818 and it was said then that Abbé Vianney put all his worldly possessions onto a cart, including his bed frame, a clothes chest and a few books! If only moving house, moving parish, moving diocese was as easy 200 years later!

Today is a very special day for me, for my family and for my friends – I thank all of you here in Kildare and Leighlin for the warmth of your hospitality, keeping the tradition of Saint Brigid so alive in this diocese. We didn’t need directions to Carlow this August Bank Holiday weekend. It is rumoured that local hotels were offering a special ordination deal! I thank all of you for being here this day – I speak directly not only to the 750+ here in the Cathedral of the Assumption, but also to those who are watching the proceedings on large screens in the Cathedral Parish Centre and the George Bernard Shaw Theatre in the Visual Arts Centre. Your presence wherever you are is deeply appreciated by me this day. Also a special greeting to those who join us through the live streaming of this ceremony on the internet via

I thank especially the chief consecrator Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, assisted by the Papal Nuncio Archbishop Charles Brown and my very good mentor Bishop Michael Smith who as I mentioned three months ago when my appointment was announced: “opened many doors of ministry and opportunity for me in Meath Diocese” . I very much thank Cardinal Seán Brady for his great encouragement and Cardinal Desmond Connell – for gracing us with their presence this afternoon in Carlow. It was very important to me that Bishop Jim Moriarty was the one to present the Crozier during our ordination liturgy: Bishop Jim has been a great shepherd of this Diocese and a great bolster to me in recent weeks. I also thank the other Archbishops and Bishops who join us today – your support and good wishes to me since my appointment is greatly appreciated.

Today is a celebration of all that is good in a Diocese – all that is so enriching in our Church; all who gather today represent all that is good about parish and diocesan life. I thank particularly the priests, the religious and the people of Kildare and Leighlin for the embrace of their welcome over the last few months. Today’s ceremony and celebration alone involves a mammoth team of people in specialised areas such as liturgy, music, stewarding, catering, printing, flower arranging but most importantly accompanying me and walking with me during this time of transition and profound change in my life. The uplifting music, the grace of the liturgy, the decoration of the Cathedral continue a proud Kildare & Leighlin tradition, which speaks volumes to native and visitor alike this day. To everyone I simply say thanks.

Monsignor Brendan Byrne has been a tremendous soul mate for me during this period, for that I am most grateful.

In the homily earlier he spoke of Meath’s link with Kildare & Leighlin. Another connection goes in fact much further back to the first Bishop of Kildare, Conleth – because a certain Erc who was then Bishop of the ancient diocese of Slane assisted at the consecration of Conleth. He was a great friend of Saint Brigid so perhaps the tradition of hospitality and welcome stretch to the very foundation roots of this ecclesiastical territory that has become known today as Kildare & Leighlin! I realise only too well I have so much to learn about this Diocese – about every one of the 56 parishes – and I look forward to visiting each parish, meeting those who keep Saint Brigid’s flame lit in their communities, listening to the young – the young whom Pope Francis left spellbound only a week ago on Copacabana Beach at World Youth Day. His powerful reminder to all young people that “faith is a flame that grows stronger the more it is shared and passed on, so that everyone may know, love and confess Jesus Christ, the Lord of life and history” . Kildare and Leighlin have a proud tradition of reaching out to the young through the John Paul II Awards and Meitheál; I will enjoy the expansion and development of these programmes. And lets not forget the Ploughing Championship, a great institution in these parts, I relish meeting so many of you up in Portlaoise next month; I can’t promise you good weather, but I can assure you I’m well use to wearing the wellies!

I mentioned St. John Vianney, the Curé of Ars earlier – his feast day falls this day – August 4th. He is the Patron Saint of Priests. His beautiful icon adorns the prayer space here in the Cathedral and its image is on page 18 of your souvenir booklet. The annual Intercession for Priests commences tomorrow in its 38th Year at All Hallows College. The motto I have chosen is taken from psalm 100 ‘Serve the Lord with Gladness’ . The priesthood is a call, not a career; a way of life, not a job; an identity, not just a role. The word gladness has its roots in gratitude and gratefulness – we serve the Lord because we have so much to be thankful for – we serve the Lord with joy. The best examples of priesthood for me are joyful priests who love their faith and who love the Church. Every priest is a Vocations Director – we priests and people need a renewed vigour about our priesthood and a fresh courage to invite others to respond to that call.

But serving the Lord with gladness is not just the prerogative of the ordained – it is the challenge for us all. How can we serve the Lord with gladness in the struggle of the current economic turmoil so many are experiencing? How can we serve the Lord with gladness when we see fewer priests and greater challenges? How can we serve the Lord with gladness when like in today’s parable society risks storing up treasure for itself in place of making itself rich in the sight of God?

The word serve suggests service and the greatest image of service we have in our Church is rooted in the Holy Thursday Evening Liturgy as Jesus washes His disciples feet – with such an action he turned our world, our expectations, our image of authority upside down – stooping down brings with it an honest humility, a privileged understanding of service. May this model offer the template for me and all of us who strive to lead our Church in 2013.

While the Curé of Ars needed directions, we don’t, we just need one another. And how acutely aware we all are in recent days of that very need of one another as evidenced by the small community of Ballinkillen out the road in Bagnalstown Parish as they surrounded Kathleen Chada and her family after the horrendous loss of Eoghan and Ruairí. Our only role at this time is to extend the comfort of our prayers to all who are in any way affected by this tragedy. Your prayers, your support, your love has carried me over the past three months, kindly hold me in your prayers as I will hold you in mine. Many thanks, Míle Buiochas to one and all.

+ Denis Nulty

Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin

4 August 2013

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Bishop Denis Nulty, Bishop of Kildare & Leighlin, Episcopal Motto & Crest

‘Serve the Lord with Gladness’ Ps. 100.

The Crest features a hill with a fire on top recalling the lighting of the Paschal Fire by Saint Patrick on the hill at Easter.  Also included is the Cross of Saint Brigid of Kildare.  As an ancient Christian symbol the Fleur-de-Lys represents purity, and therefore in turn the Virgin Mary.

The colours in the shield signify the virtues and gifts that Father Denis hopes for himself in his Episcopal ministry and virtues he will endeavour to spread to all in his pastoral care.

  • Silver / White – Argent: Signifies truth, sincerity, peace, innocence and purity.
  • Gold – Or: Signifies wisdom, generosity, glory, constancy and faith.
  • Green – Vert: Signifies abundance, joy, hope and loyalty in love.
  • Blue – Azure: Signifies loyalty, chastity, truth, strength and faith.

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Prayer for Fr. Denis Nulty

O God, we pray for Fr Denis Nulty.

Filled with your Spirit, may he minister with wisdom, understanding, knowledge and right judgement.

May he display courage, reverence and a deep sense of wonder and awe in your presence.

Hold him close to your heart that he may be a humble instrument of your love and compassion in the service of your people.

We make this prayer through Christ our Lord, Amen.

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Below is a gallery of photos from the ordination. Click an image to enlarge it or start the slideshow.



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