Parish gives great welcome to Bishop

Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin Denis Nulty greeting Phil  O'Keeffe in SS. Peter and Paul's Parish Church after he celebrated mass last Thursday. Pic: Jim Yorke
The new Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin familiarised himself with one of the biggest parishes in his new Diocese as he celebrated morning Mass in Portlaoise, last week.

The new Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin familiarised himself with one of the biggest parishes in his new Diocese as he celebrated morning Mass in Portlaoise, last week.

Just days after his ordination, Bishop Denis Nulty said he had received a “tremendous welcome” from the people of Portlaoise. He also visited the prison and hospital as part of his trip to Portlaoise.

The Parish Church was almost full to capacity, as the people turned out to get a first glimpse of their new Bishop.

The mass won co-celebrated by Monsignor John Byrne.

Aware that those at Mass had other things such as their shopping to do that morning, Bishop Nulty said he would keep his homily short and was true to his word.

Before the final blessing, Msgr John Byrne said Portlaoise was the Bishop’s first parish to visit outside of Carlow.

“Our Eucharistic prayer is complete now, we can say Pope Francis and Bishop Denis,” he said.

Referring to the Bishop’s height, Msgr Byrne joked: “Isn’t God great that he sent us a man to look up to.”

He wished the new Bishop a “long and happy and fulfilled time as Bishop” and said he hoped it would be “fruitful for you and all of us.”

After the Mass, Bishop Nulty met with local people as they enjoyed some light refreshments in the Parish Centre.

“This is wonderful, I am really delighted,” the Meath man told the Leinster Express.

“It was a tremendous service organised at such short notice.

“It is great to be able to meet some of the people whoi attend the daily mass as these people are the backbone of the Church,” he said.

Msgr Byrne said it was a great honour that the Bishop had chosen Portlaoise to visit first.

“He has a very big task ahead of him getting to know the diocese, but we like to say he came to the best parish first,” Msgr Byrne joked.