Episcopal Ordination of Father Ger Nash as Bishop of Ferns
- Bishop-elect Ger Nash will be the 81st Bishop of Ferns
You, or a representative, are invited to the celebration of Mass for the Episcopal Ordination of Father Ger Nash as the new Bishop of Ferns. For media wishing to attend, please contact the Catholic Communications Office as numbers are limited due to Covid restrictions.
Date and time: Sunday 5 September 2021, at 3.00pm
Venue: Cathedral of Saint Aidan, Enniscorthy, Co Wexford, Diocese of Ferns
The Chief Ordaining Prelate will be Archbishop Dermot Farrell, Archbishop of Dublin, who will be assisted by Bishop Denis Brennan, Bishop of Ferns and by Bishop Fintan Monahan of Killaloe. His Excellency Archbishop Jude Thaddeus Okolo, Apostolic Nuncio to Ireland, will attend. The Apostolic Mandate from His Holiness, Pope Francis, will be read by Monsignor Joseph McGrath, the Vicar General of the Diocese of Ferns. The homily for the ceremony will be preached by Father Billy Swan, Administrator of Wexford Parish.
Clergy concelebrating the Mass will include: Archbishop Kieran O’ Reilly SMA, Bishop Denis Nulty, Bishop Willie Walsh and Bishop Éamonn Walsh, priests of the Dioceses of Ferns and Killaloe.
The music for the ceremony will be led by Father Jim Fegan, Parish Priest of Ballindaggin and Father Tom Dalton, Parish Priest of Riverchapel will act as Master of Ceremonies.
Family and friends of Bishop-elect Nash; priests and laity of the Dioceses of Ferns and Killaloe. Covid-19 restrictions mean that numbers are very limited, and it is hoped that the improving situation will afford the newly elected Bishop the opportunity to meet with priests religious and laity of the diocese, public and civil representatives, leaders and members of other faith groups, apostolic societies and pastoral groups in the coming weeks and months.
Journalists wishing to attend the Ordination ceremony should contact the Catholic Communications Office in advance. From 2:00pm on Sunday 5 September a dedicated media centre will be open in the office of the Cathedral of Saint Aidan. Catholic Communications Office staff will be available to brief journalists from this time. The media centre will hold copies of the Mass booklet (which contains details of the Mass, the biography of Bishop-elect Nash, and an explanation of his Episcopal Coat of Arms); copies of the welcoming remarks of the new bishop; copies of the homily of Father Swan and remarks by the Metropolitan Archbishop, Archbishop Farrell, and the newly ordained Bishop, Ger Nash.
Media representatives will have an opportunity for photographs and brief interviews with Bishop Nash after the Ordination Mass.
Photographs from the ceremony will be available to media by contacting photographer John McElroy on + 353 (87) 241 6985.
The ceremony can also be followed on the following websites:
www.southeastradio.ie broadcasting on 95.6; 96.2 and 96.4 MHz with commentary by Father John Paul Sheridan
Life and Ministry of Bishop-elect Ger Nash
Gerard Nash was born on 27 February 1959 at Glandree in the parish of Tulla, Co Clare. His parents Tommy and Mary are deceased, and he has two sisters, Teresa and Margaret. His sister Bernie died in 2008. He went to the local primary school in Drumcharley and then to secondary school in Tulla. After the Leaving Certificate he studied business and then worked in the manufacturing industry for a number of years. After choosing to study for the Diocese of Killaloe in Saint Patrick’s College, Maynooth, he was ordained on 15 June 1991 in Drumcharley Church, Tulla, by Bishop Michael Harty.
After ordination, he was appointed as chaplain/teacher in Roscrea Vocational School and as priest responsible for Roscrea Youth Centre. In 1996 he was appointed as General Manager of Clarecare, which provides a range of social services to the people of County Clare. From 1996 he was also assistant priest in Corofin. In 2003, he was appointed as resident priest in Corofin and part of the first grouping of parishes in the Diocese of Killaloe. The newly created area was called Imeall Boirne. In 2007 he moved to Crusheen, also within the Imeall Boirne Pastoral Area. Father Nash was appointed Diocesan Secretary in 2010, while continuing to minister in Imeall Boirne. In 2016 he was appointed Director of Pastoral Development for the Diocese of Killaloe. On the 11 June 2011 the Holy Father Pope Francis appointed Father Nash as the new Bishop of Ferns to succeed Bishop Denis Brennan. He will be the 81st Catholic Bishop of Ferns.
Summary of the historical development of the Diocese of Ferns
The foundation of the Diocese of Ferns (Fearna) is said to date from the year 598 AD when Brandubh, king of Uí Cinsealaigh, gave a grant of land to Maodhóg (Saint Aidan, patron saint of the diocese) who became first bishop in the area at that time. One of his successors, Saint Moling (697 AD) dedicated a holy well at Ferns to his memory, known as Maodhóg’s Well.
During the ninth and tenth centuries, Ferns was attacked and plundered on at least eight occasions by the Vikings. At the Synod of Ráth Breasail in 1111, the boundaries of the diocese were determined.
One of the results of the Norman invasion in the twelfth century was the foundation of Cistercian abbeys at Dunbrody (in the present parish of Horeswood) about 1175, and at Tintern (in the present parish of Ballycullane) in 1200.
In 1184, Ailbin Ó Maolmhuaidh, abbot of the Cistercian foundation at Baltinglass, succeeded to the See of Maodhóg. He attended the Fourth Lateran Council in 1216. He wrote to Rome requesting, on behalf of the Church in Ireland, the canonisation of Lorcán Ó Tuathail (Saint Laurence O’Toole). His successor was an English courtier-cleric, John Saint John, nominated by King Henry III.
The last pre-Reformation bishop of the diocese was Alexander Devereux, abbot of Dunbrody at the time of its suppression by Henry VIII. He endeavoured to be loyal both to Rome and to the king. He died in 1566 and no Catholic bishop was appointed to Ferns for fifteen years when Peter Power was appointed by the Holy See in 1582.
The previous year, six Wexford men were martyred for the Faith: Matthew Lambert, a baker; Robert Meyler, Edward Cheevers, Patrick Cavanagh, and two others whose names are not recorded. They were beatified on 27 October 1992, their feast-day being 5 July. Bishop Nicholas French, consecrated in 1645, had to flee to the continent in 1651; he died as assistant bishop of Ghent in 1678. In 1691, the Dean of the Diocese of Ferns, Daniel O Breen, and another priest, James Ó Murchú, were martyred at Wexford. The cause for their beatification is proceeding.
In the nineteenth century most of the existing churches in the diocese were built following Catholic Emancipation in 1829, some of them designed by the celebrated Augustus Welby Pugin, including the Cathedral Church of Saint Aidan. Later in that century Bishop Furlong (+1875) founded several convents and institutions in the diocese. He attended all the sessions of the First Vatican Council. His successor, Dr Michael Warren, promoted strongly the cause of Temperance and established the Catholic Total Abstinence Association in 1876, appointing Father James A Cullen as organising secretary. Father Cullen, a member of the House of Missions, later joined the Society of Jesus and founded the Pioneer Total Abstinence Association of the Sacred Heart.
For media contact: Catholic Communications Office Maynooth: Martin Long +353 (0) 86 172 7678 and Brenda Drumm +353 (0) 87 310 4444.