Future Irish bishop encourages ‘new generation’ of Christian witness
“An Ulsterman deep in Leinster? A bishop who has spent most of his ministry in the world of education? He asked. “But here I am! Truly, I feel intimidated by the prospect and know that it will only be by the grace of God and your continued welcome and support that I will be able to minister fruitfully here.
The Diocese of Ossory has a population of over 85,000, the vast majority of whom are Catholic. There are 42 parishes within the territory of the diocese, which includes parts of the three Irish counties of Kilkenny, Laois and Offaly, according to the diocese’s website.
The diocese has been without a bishop since 2018 when its previous bishop, Dermot Farrell, was appointed Archbishop of Dublin. Bishop Denis Nulty, head of the neighboring diocese of Kildare and Loughlin, has since been administrator of the diocese of Ossory.
“I have known Niall from our student days together at Maynooth in the 1980s and as such I fully understand his immense abilities, deep faith and great energy for theology, pastoral ministry and formation of the secular faith,” Nulty said in a Friday statement. “Niall, as we move forward in the coming weeks and plan for your ordination as the next Bishop of Ossory, we will continue to keep you in our prayers.”
The bishop-designate noted some of his ties to his new diocese, including his encounters with nuns, clergy and seminarians from the region. Coll said he was “sorry” to leave his current parish, especially given the difficulties of the pandemic.
“COVID-19 has been hard on people and parishes and as you know the recovery has been slow and we don’t yet have clarity on its full effects,” he said. “He is likely to cast a long shadow into the future.”