St. Oliver Plunketts


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New Bishop of Derry

 New Bishop o f Derry

His Holiness Pope Francis has announced that Bishop Donal McKeown is to be the new Bishop of the Diocese of Derry.


Bishop Donal McKeown was presented to the priests and people of the diocese by Fr. Francis Bradley, Diocesan Administrator, accompanied by the Apostolic Nuncio, Archbishop Charles Brown, at a Prayer Service in St. Eugene’s Cathedral, Derry.

Present at the Prayer Service were Father Francis Bradley, Diocesan Administrator, Bishop Séamus Hegarty, Bishop Francis Lagan, the Diocesan College of Consultors and lay peo

Bishop McKeown will be installed as Bishop of Derry on Sunday 6th April 2014, in St. Eugene’s Cathedral, Derry.

The Diocese of Derry has been vacant, without a Diocesan Bishop, since the retirement of Bishop Hegarty in November 2011. The Diocese includes most of County Derry, parts of Counties Donegal and Tyrone and a small part of County Antrim.

Bishop Donal McKeown is currently Auxiliary Bishop to the Bishop of the Diocese of Down and Connor, and will transfer to the Diocese of Derry upon his Installation as Diocesan Bishop on 6th April. Bishop McKeown, aged 63, was born in Belfast, but raised in Randalstown, Co. Antrim. He has a BA (Hons) Degree in German and Italian from Queen’s University, Belfast, a Licence in Sacred Theology from the Gregorian University, Rome and an MBA from the University of Leicester. He was ordained a priest in 1977, for the Diocese of Down and Connor. Bishop McKeown’s priestly ministry was largely in education. He served as a teacher in three schools, before being appointed President of St. Malachy’s College, Belfast in 1995. In 2001, he was ordained a bishop, serving as Auxiliary Bishop to the Bishop of Down and Connor to the present day. He was a member of the NI Government’s Post-Primary Review Working Group (June–Dec 2003) and is currently Chair of the NI Commission for Catholic Education. Bishop McKeown has broadcast widely and published many articles on a wide range of issues.

Archbishop Charles Brown is Apostolic Nuncio to Ireland – the Representative of Pope Francis to the Church in Ireland and Ambassador from the Holy See to the Republic of Ireland.

Father Francis Bradley is Diocesan Administrator for the Diocese of Derry, during the time when there is no Diocesan Bishop.

Bishop Francis Lagan was Auxiliary to the Bishop of Derry from 1988 until his retirement in 2010.

Bishop Séamus Hegarty was Diocesan Bishop of Derry from 1994 until his retirement in November 2011.

The Diocesan College of Consultors are: Monsignor Joseph Donnelly, Monsignor Bryan McCanny, Father Patrick McGoldrick, Father John Cargan, Father John Farren, Father Michael Canny and Father Francis Bradley. The College of Consultors assist the bishop in the governance of the Diocese of Derry.