BREAKING: Donegal has a new Bishop of Raphoe

His Holiness Pope Francis appoints Antrim man Fr Alan McGuckian SJ

Democrat Reporter


Democrat Reporter


BREAKING: Donegal has a new Bishop of Raphoe

Bishop elect for Raphoe, Fr Alan McGuckian SJ

Father Alan McGuckian SJ has been appointed as the new Bishop of Raphoe by His Holiness Pope Francis.

The announcement was made in the Vatican at 11am by Pope Francis.

Bishop Philip Boyce, who celebrated mass at 10am in St Eunan’s Cathedral in Letterkenny to mark the Feast of St Columba, is speaking at the moment in the Cathedral in Letterkenny where he is joined by the new Bishop elect.

Fr McGuckian, 64, a Jesuit priest, from Cloughmills, County Antrim, succeeds Bishop Philip Boyce OCD.

At the announcement in Rome His Holiness accepted the resignation of Bishop Boyce.

Tribute from Archbishop Eamon Martin

Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland Eamon Martin has welcomed the appointment of Father Alan McGuckian SJ as Bishop of Raphoe and  has paid tribute to Bishop Philip Boyce.

Archbishop Martin said, “On the feast of Saint Columba I want to offer my sincere and prayerful congratulations to Father Alan McGuckian SJ whom Pope Francis has appointed as the new Bishop of Raphoe.  Father McGuckian’s background in education and communications, as well as his recent immersion in pastoral planning and development with the Diocese of Down and Connor, indicate just some of the rich experiences and gifts that he will bring to his new ministry.  I pray that Saint Columba and Saint Eunan will intercede for him as he takes up his new duties as bishop.

“I also want to pay warm tribute to Bishop Boyce.  Bishop Philip has been a hugely supportive and dedicated member of the Episcopal Conference since his ordination as Bishop of Raphoe in October 1995.“

No stranger to Donegal

Bishop elect McGuckian is no stranger to Donegal. A love for the Irish language brought him to Rann na Feirste for the first time in 1968 and he has been a regular visitor to the Donegal Gaeltacht ever since.

His commitment to the Irish language in adult life is very significant. It led him to serve for over ten years as editor of both An Timire and Foilseacháin Ábhair Spioradálta.  Later, when already living in Belfast, he translated the autobiography of Saint Ignatius Loyola from the Spanish original into the Irish language under the title Scéal an Oilithrigh (Foilseacháin Ábhair Spioradálta).


About the new bishop - in brief

*Bishop elect McGuckian was born on February 26th, 1953, the youngest of six children of the late Brian and Pauline McGuckian in Cloughmills, Co Antrim.

Two of his brothers, Fathers Bernard and Michael are also Jesuit priests.

* In October 1972 he joined the Jesuit novitiate in Clontarf in Dublin.

*In the 1990s Father McGuckian ran the Jesuit Communication Centre in Dublin.  During this period he was involved in setting up the web sites and  Along with Mr Tony Bolger he set up Church Resources and Church Services TV.

*In Belfast, Father McGuckian has served as chaplain to many of the Gaelscoileanna in the Diocese of Down and Connor and was, for a few years, Chaplain in the University of Ulster at Jordanstown and Belfast.
In recent years Father McGuckian and his team have worked closely with clergy and laity in the establishment of Pastoral Communities all across the Diocese of Down and Connor