Bishop Monahon told those packed into Ennis Cathedral that he is still getting over the "shock and surprise of being chosen by His Holiness, Pope Francis, to be your Pastor in this beautiful, historic and expansive diocese of Killaloe."
"I come here with great humility, acutely aware of my own limitations and unworthiness to take on such a great and challenging role. It is indeed a great honour for me personally and it is only with great faith in the presence of the Lord to lead and guide me along with the great support of the wonderful and welcoming community in this diocese that I would even dream of taking on such an enormous task.
"It seems though that I have arrived only in the nick of time … I recently heard from the Catholic Communications Office in Maynooth that it received a media query in the early summer asking “when will a new bishop be appointed to Killaloe because this is the longest time”, according to the journalist, “since Cromwell’s invasion of Ireland that we here in the diocese have been without a bishop?!” To me this is definitive proof – as if it were ever needed - that we possess very long memories in this part of the country!
"Just last week I attended in Rome what is often called a “baby-bishop’s course” and, as part of that, I had the privilege and delight to meet Pope Francis. Even though the Holy Father has little English and I have even less Italian – in our conversation we agreed to pray for each other and those to whom we minister. It was a most humbling experience to be asked in person by the Holy Father to pray for him personally!
"As bishop of the diocese here in Killaloe there will be many challenges, priorities and points of focus, vocations promotion, care of the clergy, faith renewal, evangelization, continuing and expanding the great involvement of laity, youth ministry, religious education, safeguarding children in the Church, the protection of life, family ministry, liturgy, Eucharistic Adoration, bridging the east-west socio-economic divide which exists in Ireland, the role of Church in contemporary society, the falling away of sacramental practice, finding new ways to communicate the joy of the Gospel.
“Pope Benedict in recent years spoke of the future of the Church in Europe as being a “creative minority”. Please God new and creative and dynamic ways will be found to live and address these great challenges and opportunities. All to be addressed with faith in the good Lord’s presence and with the great support so palpable from so many there in Killaloe and elsewhere!