A member of the Jesuit Order has been ordained a bishop in Ireland in a marked departure for the Irish Catholic Church.
Bishop Alan McGuckian, 64, was ordained Bishop of Raphoe on Sunday, the first ever member of the Jesuit Order to be appointed a bishop in Ireland.
Archbishop Eamon Martin ordained the new bishop at the Cathedral of Saints Eunan and Columba in Letterkenny, Co Donegal.
In his homily, Archbishop Martin paid tribute to Bishop McGuckian’s family: “I am grateful to your family, your late parents, Brian and Pauline, and to the various families of faith which have helped to nurture and sustain your vocation,” he said.
Bishop McGuckian, from Cloughmills, Co Antrim, was appointed after Pope Francis accepted the resignation of the long-standing Bishop of Raphoe, Philip Boyce.
In 2013, Pope Francis became the first Jesuit pontiff.
The new Bishop of Raphoe worked as a secondary school teacher before training for the priesthood. Two of his siblings, Fr Bernard and Fr Michael, are also Jesuit priests.
Since 2012 he has been director of the Diocese of Down and Connor’s Living Church office in Belfast.
An Irish language enthusiast, Bishop McGuckian served as editor of the Irish language magazine An Timire and the Jesuits’ Irish language publishing organisation ‘Foilseachain Abhair Spiordalta’.