RTÉ: New Bishop of Ossory ordained in Kilkenny

Updated / Sunday, 22 Jan 2023 23:33

Bishop Niall Coll was appointed by Pope Francis in October last year
Bishop Niall Coll was appointed by Pope Francis in October last year

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By Ailbhe Conneely

Social Affairs & Religion Correspondent

Bishop Niall Coll has been ordained as the Bishop of Ossory at the Cathedral of Mary in Kilkenny.

He was appointed by Pope Francis in October last year.

Born in Letterkenny in Co Donegal, Bishop Coll was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Raphoe in 1988.

Today, he thanked those in the Diocese of Ossory who had already extended a warm welcome to him.

He said he had been reliably informed by a diocesan historian that he is the 96th Bishop of Ossory and the first Ulsterman to serve in the office.

Bishop Coll replaces the former Bishop of Ossory Dermot Farrell who is now the Archbishop of Dublin.

Archbishop Farrell was principal consecrator at the ordination, along with two co-consecrators – Bishop Coll’s Maynooth classmate, Bishop Denis Nulty and the Bishop of Raphoe, Alan McGuckian.

In the long tradition of the Catholic Church where each new bishop picks a motto, Bishop Coll chose – ‘Christ Jesus our hope’, ‘Críost Íosa ár ndóchas’, ‘Christus Jesus Spes Nostra’ – taken from the opening salutation of the First Letter of St Paul to Timothy.

Bishop Niall Coll replaces the former Bishop of Ossory Dermot Farrell

He told those gathered that in an era marked by strong currents of secularisation, materialism and individualism, when many people have pushed God to the margins of life, Christians can be tempted to lose hope and retreat into “a holy huddle”.

He said this was exacerbated for many due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the war in Ukraine, civil conflicts raging elsewhere, economic difficulties, especially for young people, rising prices, climate change and social unrest especially in relation to the family.

While he said some may be tempted to lose heart, to despair would fly in the face of the Gospel.

He added that committed Irish Catholics know that a new way of being Church needed to be built up from the ground – blending the old faith and, “where possible, the new ground of contemporary Irish society in a new organic synthesis.”.

He commended discussions, reflections and actions already underway in Ossory as part of of the Synodal process of renewal in the Catholic Church.

Bishop Denis Nulty, Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin, who served as Apostolic Administrator to the Diocese since Archbishop Dermot Farrell took up his role in Dublin, said he had seen at first hand the wonderful life of the Diocese, which he said, “is alive with the faith”.

He said he looked forward to accompanying the new Bishop on the synodal journey as a neighbouring Bishop and friend.

In his homily, Fr Kieran O’Shea described the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead for the new Bishop as “formidable and exciting”.

Bishop Coll’s biog: from the Irish Bishops Conference Website:


Life and ministry of Bishop-elect Niall Coll

Niall Coll was born on 25 August 1963 in Letterkenny, Co Donegal, Diocese of Raphoe.  Bishop-elect Coll’s ministry has comprised leadership in Catholic education and, along with his priestly appointments, has included conducting retreats for clergy, as a contributor to various publications, including Doctrine and LifeThe Furrow, The Irish Theological Quarterly and The Tablet and as the Editorial Director of the Catholic School ethos journal Le Chéile.


1981 – 1984    BA National University of Ireland, Saint Patrick’s College Maynooth, Co Kildare

1984 – 1987    BD Pontifical University Saint Patrick’s College, Maynooth, Co Kildare

1988                Priestly Ordination: 3 July 1988 Incardinated in the Diocese of Raphoe

1987 – 1989    Licence in Dogmatic Theology Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome, Italy

1991 – 1992    H Dip Ed University of Dublin, Trinity College

1992 – 1995    Doctorate in Christology Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome, Italy


1989 – 1991    Teacher: Saint Eunan’s College, Letterkenny, Co Donegal

1995 – 1998    Lecturer: Saint Patrick’s College, Carlow

1998 – 2001    Curate: Parish of Dungloe, Co Donegal

Chaplain and Teacher: Pobalscoil na Rosann, Dungloe, Co Donegal

2001 – 2019    Professor of Religious Studies and Religious Education,

St Mary’s University College, Belfast

2019 – 2021    Parish Priest: Drumholm-Ballintra, Co Donegal

2021 – 2022   Parish Priest: Donegal (Tawnawilly) and Clar, Co Donegal         

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