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Pope announces west of Ireland church leadership change

The Vatican has announced a major reorganisation of diocesan church leadership in the west of Ireland.

The decision will lead to a number changes in the metropolitan ecclesiastical province of Tuam.

It follows a decision by Pope Francis to appoint Bishop of Achonry Paul Dempsey as Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Dublin.

Bishop Dempsey’s move means Bishop of Elphin Kevin Doran will now become Apostolic Administrator to the Diocese Achonry.

Furthermore, Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Bishop John Fleming of the Diocese of Killala, on the grounds of age.

A decision has been made to appoint Archbishop of Tuam Francis Duffy to become Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Killala.

The announcements were made by the Papel Nuncio to Ireland Archbishop Luis Mariano Montemayor at the Cathedral of the Assumption in Tuam this morning.

Archbishop Duffy described the level of change as quite significant.

He said it created the possibility of exploring a closer union between the Archdiocese of Tuam and the Diocese of Killala, and between the dioceses of Elphin and Achonry, not unlike the process already under way in the dioceses of Galway and Clonfert.

“Any such change would involve living communities and could not be simply structural or administrative. It would require careful discernment over some time, involving the whole people of God in the respective dioceses,” he said.

In February, Pope Francis appointed Fr Donal Roche as an auxiliary bishop to the Archdiocese of Dublin to support Archbishop Dermot Farrell in his work.

Bishop Dempsey will join the two men in leading the largest archdiocese in the country.

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