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New Bishop of Raphoe: Jesuit priest Alan McGuckian ordained in Co Donegal

The new Bishop of Raphoe, Bishop Alan McGuckian SJ, with his brothers Fr Michael McGuckian SJ (left) and Fr Bernard McGuckian SJ at his ordination. Picture by Liam McArdle

A JESUIT priest has been ordained in Co Donegal as new Bishop of Raphoe.

Bishop Alan McGuckian, from Cloughmills, Co Antrim, was appointed after Pope Francis accepted the resignation of the long-standing Bishop of Raphoe Philip Boyce.

Archbishop Eamon Martin ordained the new bishop at the Cathedral of Saints Eunan and Columba in Letterkenny, Co Donegal, yesterday.

In a marked departure for the Irish Catholic Church, Fr McGuckian (64) became the first ever member of the Jesuit Order to be appointed a bishop in Ireland.

In 2013, Pope Francis became the first Jesuit pontiff.

Bishop McGuckian's brothers, Fr Bernard and Fr Michael are also Jesuit priests.

During his homily yesterday, Archbishop Martin paid tribute to Bishop McGuckian's family.

"My dear brother Alan, as Ireland prepares to host the World Meeting of the Families this time next year, I am grateful to your family, your late parents, Brian and Pauline, and to the various families of faith which have helped to nurture and sustain your vocation - your extended family; your brothers in the Society of Jesus; the people, religious and priests of the diocese of Down and Connor," he said.

A former teacher at Clongowes Wood College in Co Kildare, Bishop McGuckian studied Irish and Philosophy at Queen's University in Belfast before training for the priesthood. He was ordained in June 1984.

Since 2012 he has been director of the Diocese of Down and Connor's Living Church office in Belfast.

An Irish language enthusiast, Bishop McGuckian served as editor of the Irish language magazine An Timire and the Jesuits' Irish language publishing organisation 'Foilseachain Abhair Spiordalta'.

The new Bishop of Raphoe is a brother of well-known Cloughmills businessman, John B McGuckian, a former chairman of UTV and the Industrial Development Board.

The youngest of six children, Bishop McGuckian's sister Mary Dynan lives in Newry while his other sister Paula Haughey died in 2013.

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