Pope Francis appoints Father Paul Connell as Bishop of Ardagh and Clonmacnois

His Holiness Pope Francis has appointed Father Paul Connell, a priest of the Diocese of Meath, as the new Bishop of Ardagh and Clonmacnois.  The news of this Episcopal appointment will be made public this morning at 11.00am (12.00pm in the Vatican) by Monsignor Julien Kaboré, Chargé d’Affaires of the Apostolic Nunciature in Ireland, in Saint Mel’s Cathedral, Longford, Diocese of Ardagh and Clonmacnois.

Following this announcement, Mass will be celebrated by Archbishop Francis Duffy, Archbishop of Tuam and Bishop Emeritus of the Diocese of Ardagh and Clonmacnois; Bishop Tom Deenihan, Bishop of Meath; Bishop-elect Paul Connell; Monsignor Julien Kaboré; Father Tom Healy, Diocesan Administrator of Ardagh and Clonmacnois, and clergy of the diocese.

  • Life and Ministry of Bishop-elect Paul Connell

Bishop-elect Paul Connell, a native of Mullingar, Co Westmeath, was born on 27 January 1958, the second of four children to Thomas and Philomena Connell.  He began his primary education with Mrs Katherine Mullaly before attending Saint Mary’s CBS primary school in Mullingar.  In 1970, he commenced his secondary education in Saint Finian’s College, Mullingar, sitting his Leaving Certificate in 1975.  From Saint Finian’s he entered Saint Patrick’s College, Maynooth, where he completed his seminary training in 1982.  He was awarded a BA in 1978, followed by a BD in the Pontifical University in 1981.  The following year he was recipient of the Gilmartin prize in Ecclesiastical History from the Pontifical University.

Bishop-elect Connell was ordained to the priesthood in the Cathedral of Christ the King, Mullingar, on 20 June 1982.  Following ordination, he was briefly attached to Rochfortbridge parish before being appointed to the staff of Saint Finian’s College, completing his Higher Diploma in Education in 1983.  He became Vice-President of the College in 1989 and succeeded as President and Principal in 1998.  From 1992 to 1994 he completed an evening Masters in Local History in NUI Maynooth, and was awarded a doctorate in history by the university in 2002.  Subsequently, Bishop-elect Connell spent a number of years lecturing part-time in Ecclesiastical History at the Milltown Institute of Theology, Dublin, and has published a number of works in the area of local history.

Bishop-elect Connell remained as President and Principal of Saint Finian’s College until 2019.  Under his direction the college became a co-educational secondary school in 2003, and its boarding school closed in 2007.  In addition, he was President of the national support body for secondary schools, the Secretariat for Secondary Schools, from 2013 to 2018.  In January 2019, he resigned his position as Principal of Saint Finian’s, whilst remaining as its President.  This following his appointment as Executive Secretary of the Council for Education of the Irish Episcopal Conference, based in Columba Centre of Saint Patrick’s College, Maynooth.  In 2020, he was appointed by Bishop Tom Deenihan, Bishop of Meath, as Chancellor of the Diocese of Meath.

Since his appointment to Saint Finian’s in 1982, Father Paul has held the position of chaplain in Saint Mary’s Hospital, Mullingar (Cluain Lir).  For many years during the summer months he has worked in the dioceses of All Saints and Saint Gabriel’s in the Archdiocese of Miami, USA, and more recently in the parish of Saint Gregory, San Diego.  In August 2021 he was appointed as Administrator of the Parish of Multyfarnham, Co Westmeath.

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