Archbishop Charles Brown, Apostolic Nuncio in Ireland, imposed the Pallium on Most Rev Kieran O’Reilly SMA during the 12 noon Sunday Mass in the Cathedral of the Assumption, Thurles. In a simple but solemn ceremony at the beginning of Mass, the Pallium – symbol of the unity between the Pope and Archbishop – was brought to the Altar by a member of the congregation and, after Archbishop Reilly had professed his faith and repeated his Oath of Obedience to the Pope see picture on left], the woollen circular band [about two inches wide] was placed around his shoulders. The Pallium dates back to the 4th century and is a more ancient symbol of a bishop that the Crozier or Miter.
Speaking of the Pallium, St Simon of Thessalonica declared, “The Pallium signifies the Saviour who, finding us like lost sheep, puts us on His shoulders, and taking on our own human likeness in the Incarnation He glorified it, with His death on the cross he offered us to the Father, and with the resurrection He exalted us.“
After this ceremony the Mass continued with the Cathedral Choir leading the Gloria of the Mass, whose singing throughout the Mass was greatly appreciated by the visitors to Thurles. Archbishop O’Reilly preached a brief homily, based on readings from Deuteronomy 6:2-6, Hebrews 4:12-13 and the Gospel of St Mark – the healing of blind Bartimeaus [10:46-52].
The Archbishop stressed that the work of the bishops is to promote unity in the church and to be attentive to the needs of the people confided to their pastoral care. They need to cooperate so that they learn from one another how to be good pastors. They are ‘young’ bishops! Other than Bishop Buckley of Cork & Ross, all have been ordained as bishops since 2010. He concluded his homily by quoting the Prayer to Our Lady which Pope Francis used to conclude his Encyclical Letter, The Joy of the Gospel.
As the ceremony took place on a Sunday it was difficult for most diocesan clergy to attend, due to their own Mass and other commitments. Concelebrating with the Archbishop were the 4 of the 5 bishops who are part of the Munster Ecclesiastical Province – Bishops Raymond Brown [Kerry], William Crean [Cloyne], Alphonsus Cullinan [Waterford & Lismore] and Brendan Leahy [Limerick].
Bishop John Buckley of Cork & Ross, who was in Lourdes with the Diocesan Pilgrimage, was represented by Archbishop Patrick Coveney [Apostolic Nuncio Emeritus]. Due to the transfer of Archbishop O’Reilly to Cashel and Emly the diocese of Killaloe is vacant at present and was represented by its Apostolic Administrator, Very Rev Des Hillery. An interesting historical fact is that the Archbishop of Cashel and Emly is also the Metropolitan for the diocese of Kilmacduagh, which is in north Clare and is led by Bishop Drennan, Bishop of Galway and Kilmacduagh, which is part of the Connacht Ecclesiastical Province.
The Archbishop with his sister Deirdre, her daughter Jennie with her partner Sean and their son Rory.
Also present were the Abbots of Glenstal and Mount St Joseph, Roscrea, Abbot Mark Hederman OSB and Abbot Richard Purcell OCSO. Fr Michael McCabe, SMA Provincial Leader, and six other SMA priests also participated in the ceremony. Archbishop O’Reilly’s brother Joseph and his two sisters, Therese and Deirdre, along with their families were in the congregation.
After the Mass the Archbishop greeted parishioners at the door of the Cathedral. Two of the Mass servers with their mother pose with Archbishop O’Reilly.
Our photo below shows, from left, SMA Fathers John O’Brien, Kevin O’Gorman, Malachy Flanagan, the Archbishop, Michael McCabe, Tom Curran and Maurice Henry.