County Antrim priest to be ordained bishop of Raphoe

Fr Alan McGuckian SJ from Cloughmills in County Antrim who has been named by Pope Francis as bishop-elect of Raphoe.
Seamus McKinney

CHURCH leaders from across Ireland are expected to attend the ordination tomorrow of new bishop of Raphoe.

Co Antrim-born Fr Alan McGuckian (64) will succeed outgoing bishop, Philip Boyce who has retired.

As the first ever Jesuit priest to be appointed bishop in Ireland, Fr McGuckian's appointment marks a major change in the appointment of senior members in the Irish church.

His appointment was announced in June by Pope Francis who is also a member of the Jesuit Order.

The new bishop elect is a brother of well-known Northern Ireland businessman, John B McGuckian, a former chairman of Ulster Television and the Industrial Development Board.

For the last three years, Fr McGuckian as served as director of the “Formation for the Permanent Diaconate” in Down and Connor, developing greater co-responsibility between laity and clergy.

He will be joined at tomorrow's ordination at St Eunan's Cathedral, Letterkenny by his two brothers Fr Bernard and Fr Michael, who are also Jesuit priests.

Ordained a priest in 1984, Fr McGuckian has served as a teacher at the prestigious Irish school, Clongowes Wood College in Co Kildare. He has also served as director of the Jesuit Communications Office.

The Co Antrim priest has strong links with Donegal through his love for the Irish language, in particular with the Rann na Feirste area in the west Donegal Gaeltacht.

Tomorrow's ordination will be led by Archbishop or Armagh and Primate of All Ireland, Eamon Martin. He will be assisted by Bishop Boyce and Bishop Noel Treanor of Down and Connor.

Other church leaders expected to attend include Archbishop Terence Prendergast SJ of Ottawa and Archbishop Michael Neary of Tuam.

Catholic bishops from throughout Ireland are expected to be joined by Christian church representatives.

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