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Pope Francis has appointed Fr Alan McGuckian SJ as Bishop of Raphoe. He replaces Bishop Philip Boyce ODC, whose resignation was also accepted by the Pope, today, Friday 9 June, the Feast of St Columba. Irish Jesuit Provincial Leonard Moloney SJ welcomed the news of the appointment saying the prayers and warm wishes of all those in the Province were with Alan as he takes up this position of service in the local Church. “Alan brought a spirit of dynamic service and generous commitment to the various Jesuit apostolates where he has worked.” he said, adding, “I have no doubt he will bring these same qualities now to his new office in pastoral care of the priests and people of the Diocese of Raphoe.” He also offered best wishes for his retirement to Bishop Philip Boyce “after his many years of faithful service in the diocese since 1995”.

Alan joined the Jesuits in 1972, and was ordained in 1984. After his tertianship in southern India he ran the Jesuit Communications Centre in Dublin, where he set up Sacred Space, an on-line prayer website (www.sacredspace.ie). He then spent a few years as Chaplain at the University of Ulster. During the last six years Alan has been working with the Diocese of Down and Conor in the ‘Living Church’ project. This began in 2011 with a Listening Process, aimed at hearing the hopes and fears of the priests, religious and the lay faithful in all 87 parishes. This process led to the publication of a document known as the Living Church Report in 2012.

As a Jesuit, he believes that one of his strengths lies in sharing St Ignatius’ very practical conviction that the Holy Spirit, who is always at work in the lives of individuals and communities, can be recognised and responded to in real life if we take the time and effort to listen. “In my recent job listening was a huge theme. I guided a listening processes for priests, religious and lay faithful across the diocese and believe that all of us involved saw God at work among us. I am convinced that God doesn’t just give us ideas and inspirations but leads us into actions that make a difference."

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Read (and listen also to): Interview with an Irish Jesuit bishop

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