Dear brothers and sisters, fifteen years ago when Pope Benedict XVI first stepped on to the balcony overlooking Saint Peter’s Square, Rome, he expressed surprise that the Cardinals had elected him as Pope. In a reference to today’s Gospel story, he described himself as “a simple and humble laborer in the vineyard of the Lord”, who was comforted to know that the Lord can work “even with inadequate instruments”.

Father Martin, I am sure, like Pope Benedict and all of us bishops on the day of our ordination, you feel a certain sense of nervousness and trepidation, for we are all “inadequate Instruments” whom the Lord has called. But do not be afraid. God’s grace will guide and strengthen you, and you will be surrounded by encouragement and prayerful support.

You bring to the diocese of Kilmore a depth of pastoral experience and a particular understanding of how to encourage the vocation and mission of the lay faithful in the Church. Your pastoral insights on this matter will also be of great value to the Irish Bishops’ Conference because we are committed to a ground-up synodal process for new evangelization and for revitalizing the Church in Ireland.

Praise the Lord

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