CATHOLIC Bishop of Kilmore Diocese Leo O’Reilly has announced his retirement in recent days.
Since then he has stepped down from this role having received notification from Pope Francis that his request for early retirement on the grounds of ill-health was accepted and his retirement was to take effect immediately.
The Bishop penned a pastoral letter to priests in the diocese notifying them of his retirement. The letter was read out at the Killesher, Kinawley and Knockninny parish Masses. He would have been due to retire from the role on his 75th birthday later in April this year, as is required under canon law.
In the letter Bishop O’Reilly reflected with gratitude on the twenty years he had served as bishop in the diocese and remarked that it was with ‘mixed feelings’ that he was sharing the news of his retirement.
“It has been a wonderful privilege to have served you, the people and priests of Kilmore, during two very challenging decades in the life of the Church here in Ireland. It would not have been possible to do so without the generous cooperation I have received from the priests, deacons, religious and lay people of the diocese over the course of those years. I thank you all from the bottom of my heart for your generosity and encouragement and above all for the support of your prayers.”
Leo O’Reilly had been installed as bishop of the diocese in November 1998 following the retirement of Bishop Francis MacKiernan. He added that he was now leaving the role with ‘a heart full of gratitude’ for the blessings he had received.
In the days that followed it was announced that Cavan priest, Monsignor Liam Kelly would step in to take over the daily running of the diocese which spans both sides of the border and has a Catholic population of around 69,000. Mgr Kelly will remain in this role until a new bishop is appointed by Pope Francis.
Following his appointment Mgr Kelly thanked Bishop O’Reilly, adding that it had been a privilege to learn from his example of generous service, and to have benefited from his kindness and support.