Bishop-elect Paul Dempsey
His Holiness Pope Francis has appointed Father Paul Dempsey, Parish Priest of Newbridge as Bishop of the Diocese of Achonry in Connaught.
Carlow-born Fr Dempsey has been in his position in Newbridge since 2015 but has also served in other areas in the county such as Clane, Rathcoffey, Kildare town, Naas, allins and Twomilehouse.
The popular priest was a previous columnist in the Leinster Leader newspaper.
The Diocese of Achonry includes parts of counties Mayo, Roscommon, and Sligo.
The Patron Saint of the diocese is Saint Nathy.
The diocese has a Catholic population of 34,826 and consists of 23 parishes and 48 churches.
There are 30 diocesan priests in active ministry in the diocese and eight others who are working in other dioceses, retired, studying or on sick leave.
The appointment was announced after Mass in the Cathedral of the Annunciation and Saint Nathy, Ballaghderreen, Co Roscommon this morning.
This Mass was concelebrated by His Excellency Archbishop Jude Thaddeus Okolo, the Apostolic Nuncio to Ireland, Bishop-elect Paul Dempsey and Father Dermot Meehan, Diocesan Administrator of the Diocese of Achonry.
Father Paul Dempsey was born in Carlow Town on April 20, 1971. He is the youngest in his family, having one brother and two sisters.
In 1978 his family moved to Athy, Co Kildare where he was educated by the Christian Brothers at primary and secondary level. He joined the seminary in 1989.
His studies took place in the Milltown Institute, Dublin, Saint Patrick’s College, Carlow and All Hallows College, Dublin. During his formation for the priesthood his mother, Berry, died from cancer in February 1994 and his father, Tony, died suddenly twelve days later.
He was ordained to the priesthood in the Cathedral of the Assumption, Carlow, by Bishop Laurence Ryan, on 6 July 1997.
Father Paul’s first appointment was as curate in Clane & Rathcoffey Parish, Co Kildare.
It was during this time that he started a weekly article in the Leinster Leader newspaper.
After seven years he moved to Kildare Town as curate and was also appointed Youth Director and Vocations Director for the diocese by Bishop Jim Moriarty.
During this time, Father Paul organised two diocesan World Youth Day pilgrimages to Cologne (2005) and Sydney (2008) as well as many other youth initiatives. Father Paul also presented a weekly religious and social affairs programme on Kildare FM Radio on Sunday mornings.
In 2008, Father Paul did further studies in the Milltown Institute, Dublin. He completed an Honours Master’s Degree in Theology in the area of Faith & Culture. His thesis was entitled “The Contemporary Irish Catholic Church – A Church in Crisis or in Question?”
On completion of his studies, Father Paul took up his appointment as curate in parish cluster of Naas, Sallins and Two-Mile-House in 2009.
In August, 2014, Bishop Denis Nulty appointed Father Paul to Newbridge Parish and also as Vicar Forane for the Kildare & Leighlin North Deanery consisting of 17 parishes.
On 1 September 2015, Father Paul was appointed Parish Priest of Newbridge and Administrator of Caragh and Prosperous Parishes. The parish has approximately 32,000 parishioners.