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Busy first week for new Bishop of Raphoe

Bishop Alan McGuckian during Sunday’s ordination ceremony.

The newly ordained Bishop of Raphoe began a hectic schedule on Monday morning visiting the diocese’s six deaneries and getting to know some of the faithful.

Bishop Alan McGuckian (64) celebrated Mass in Rathmullan on Friday which is part of the diocese Northern Deanery and includes Gartan and Termon, Kilmacrennan Carrigart, Tamney and Dunfanaghy.

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This concluded the six visits which included Ardara on Monday, Ballyshannon on Tuesday, Annagry on Wednesday and St Johnston on Thursday.

The six deaneries are six regional groupings of parishes. They are Ardara, Ballyshannon, Annagry, Cathedral, St Johnston and Rathmullan.

The visits were not accompanied by any ceremony, just an opportunity to meet the clergy and faithful of each area.

The Antrim native is the first Jesuit to be ordained a bishop in Ireland. He was born in Cloughmills and developed a deep interest in the Irish language following a visit to Donegal as a teenager.

He is the youngest of six siblings, with two brothers who are also Jesuit priests.

He studied at UCD, Queen’s University Belfast, the Milltown Institute in Dublin and the School of Theology in Toronto and was ordained in 1984.

For the past six years he has been working with Down and Connor diocese in the Living Church project, which heard from the priests, religious and laity in all of its 87 parishes.

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He has now headed off on holiday for ten days, a break he had arranged well before he learned he would become the new Bishop of Raphoe taking up the role held by Dr Philip Boyce since 1995.

Diocesan Secretary Fr Michael McKeever described the new bishop’s first week as “extremely busy”.

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