By Dan Walsh at St. Aidan’s Cathedral, Enniscorthy
Bishop Ger Nash has become the 81st Bishop of Ferns, successor to Bishop Denis Brennan, and ordained today in St. Aidan’s Cathedral, Enniscorthy, by the Most Revd Dermot Farrell, Archbishop of Dublin, assisted by Most Rev. Denis Brennan, Bishop Emeritus of Ferns, and Most Revd Fintan Monahan, Bishop of Killaloe.
Concelebrants were His Excellency Jude Thaddeus Okolo, Apostolic Nuncio, Most Revd. Kieran O’Reilly, SMA, Archbishop of Cashel and Emily, Most Revd Willie Walsh, Bishop Emeritus of Killaloe, and Most Revd. Denis Nulty, Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin.
In his initial address, Bishop Nash said this is a special day in the story of the Diocese of Ferns and on this special day for me, my family and friends, I greet the small number gathered here in the Cathedral of Saint Aidan in Enniscorthy, but I also welcome in spirit those who are present virtually by webcam, YouTube link and local radio.
“First amongst them are the people of Ferns in all their individual parish communities with whom I will work in the years ahead to discern what our God is calling us to. I greet especially the priests of Ferns Diocese who have welcomed me so generously and whom I will get to know and work with as the current restrictions are eased.”
Bishop Nash said; “We are living in strange times as we continue to cope with Covid-19. I offer my sympathies to the relatives of those who have died including those who suffered with the Covid-19 coronavirus and in particular, the families of Ferns diocese who have lost loved ones. Leaba i measc na naomh doibh siud ata imithe uainn. Also, I would like to acknowledge the heroism of all the healthcare and frontline workers who continue to be involved in responding to the pandemic.
“I am privileged to have been asked by Pope Francis to lead the historic Diocese of Ferns and I feel very humbled. I would like to thank Bishop Denis (Brennan) for the welcome extended to me from the moment he heard the news and, on your behalf, to express gratitude for his leadership and care of the diocese over the past 15 years.”
Bishop Nash referred to “to the voice of the worldwide Church under the guidance of Pope Francis and his successors, there are other voices who will need an open ear on our part. And what is interesting about that is that Pope Francis has called us to be attentive to each one of them already.
“First, is the need for a Church which has a personal and committed relationship to Jesus Christ, His life and His teachings, and to the promise of the Resurrection and a Kingdom where all our weaknesses of mind and body will vanish.
“Secondly, the voice of the lived experience of people which has rarely been heard or acknowledged and which Pope Francis is now calling the whole Church to address through the process of synodality. Another word for synodality is conversations – the kind of conversations which will bring the reality of people’s lives into engagement with the healing, encouraging but very challenging Good News of the Gospel.
“Thirdly, the voice of our planet and our fragile human existence. In the past 18 months, that voice of our human frailty has spoken and said “Stop”. And we have stopped, rich and poor, developed and developing countries, Northern Hemisphere and Southern Hemisphere, celebrities and ourselves, the lesser known – all have heard the hidden yet powerful voice of Covid and found a common humanity at some level. But recent voices have also said that unless we take serious and immediate action, future generations will inherent a destroyed earth. As Pope Francis pointed out in 2015 encyclical letter on caring for our common home, called Laudato Si, we cannot be God’s people without looking after God’s earth.”
“My hope is that we can work together here in Ferns with the Spirit of God sustaining us to nurture the faith and continue to ensure a place of welcome and hospitality for all. In accord with Pope Francis’ model in “Let us Dream” I would wish to lead our diocese in Seeing, Reflecting and Acting so that we become a refuge of healing and encouragement with space for all who are searching for meaning, especially, as we emerge tentatively from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.”
Bishop Egan concluded; “I look forward, with the help of God, to working with you in your parish communities throughout the Diocese of Ferns. Please pray for me.”
During the ceremony Fr Billy Swan, Administrator, Wexford Town Parish read the homily and other participants included Rev. Joseph McGrath, Vicar General, Rev. Tom Dalton (Master of Ceremonies), Rev. Jim Doyle (Assistant Master of Ceremonies), Rev. Odhran Furlong and Rev. Mr Dermot Davis (Concelebrating Clergy), Eliza Chapman and Gabriel Hendrick (Sacristans), Roisin Dempsey and Fr. Jim Fegan (Cantors), Adrian Doyle, organ/piano; Colm Ó Tiernaigh, violin; Aileen Kennedy, Irish harp and Michelle Mason, cello (Musicians), First Reading Margaret Nash, Second Reading David French, Presentation of Ring and Pastoral Staff, Jim Willis and Ger Mulgannon, and Post Communion Reflection. Teresa Nash.