"There were sleepless nights" - New bishop says he nearly turned down big job as he loved parish life in Newbridge

Senan Hogan

Reporter:

Senan Hogan

"There were sleepless nights" - New bishop says he nearly turned down big job as he loved parish life in Newbridge

Bishop Paul Dempsey at his Ordination PHOTO: JOHN McELROY

Bishop Paul Dempsey, who was ordained Bishop of Achonry in the Cathedral of the Annunciation and Saint Nathy, Ballaghaderreen, Co Roscommon on Sunday, 30 August, said he almost turned down the prestigious position because he loved parish life in Newbridge.

He said at the weekend: “This really wasn’t on my agenda, I can assure you of that.
“I asked for some time to think about it and I went through an agonising few days.

Sleepless nights

“There were sleepless nights — and I’m a good sleeper — but that really threw me.
“I was trying to struggle with whether I should for this or not or say yes to it.
“I have great time for Pope Francis, I think he has brought great refreshment and renewal to the Church.
“At the end of the day, my own life is about call and response and if you are called to do something in the life of the Church, and trusting in God’s grace, I said ‘yes’ to the role.”

He told the Sunday with Miriam programme on RTE Radio One: “There are anecdotes where some priests, before they’re up out of the chair, they say ‘yes’ but that really genuinely wasn’t the case for me. I really did struggle with it.

Privilege

“I’ve been a priest for the past 23 years. I’ve worked in Clane, Naas and Newbridge. I love parish life. It’s such a privilege to journey with people in the joys and sorrows of life. I get a great buzz out of it.
“Newbridge was a huge parish and a great parish team there, fantastic people and in a sense this uproots you up out of that and although you are still a priest, your role is quite different as a Bishop.
“That was the struggle I was going through at the time and still.
“It’s all very new and I’m still finding my feet with it.”

The new Parish Priest of Newbridge, Fr Ruairi Ó Domhnaill, began his new role on September 4 and celebrated his first Mass in St Conleth’s Parish Church the following day.