Mar 15, 2016

Diocesan secretary Fr. Paul Finnerty Rome bound to take up post as Vice Rector of Irish College

Departure leaves a big gap to fill – Bishop Leahy 

Bishop of Limerick Brendan Leahy has today said that the departure of Diocesan Secretary Paul Finnerty to take up the post of Vice Rector of the Irish College in Rome will lose only for a while someone who has given sterling service to the diocese.

Congratulating Fr. Finnerty on the appointment, Bishop Leahy said it will be with a heavy heart but the very best wishes that the diocese will bid farewell to Fr. Finnerty after 12 sterling years as diocesan secretary. Fr. Finnerty takes up the post in June.

“Paul, as Diocesan Secretary, has given 12 great years of service to the Limerick Diocese. On my arrival here I was immediately struck by his integrity, hard work and deep humanity.  He will leave a big gap when he leaves us.

“He has championed many causes, aside altogether from the immense workload that he has gotten through as Diocesan Secretary.  He has put endless hours, for example, into the Le Chéile school in Roxboro and I believe its emergence as a model, inclusive education entity will stand the test of time.”

Giving the background to the appointment, Bishop Leahy continued, “Paul has a deep sense of calling from the Lord to minister wherever the Lord wants him to serve and, after 12 years of great service to the Diocese as Secretary, we discussed where he might next best serve. One possibility was the Missions in Peru but the position as Vice Rector of the Irish College in Rome came up recently and he was recommended for this and selected by the Trusteees.

“He will be a great loss to the Diocese of Limerick but a great addition to the Irish College.  I have no doubt but he will play a huge role in the formation of many future priests.”

Commenting on the appointment, Fr. Finnerty said,  “It is an exciting time to be involved in the formation of future priests who will minister the pilgrim people of God in Ireland. The face of the Church in Ireland is changing, as is the culture and environment in which priest will minister.

“I have had 12 immense years here at the diocese. It has been a time of great change and a time of great challenge.  There were some dark days but there has always been light, even in the darkest hours, to follow.

“I will leave the diocese at a time of real hope now as we prepare for the Synod next month and the reimagining, together with the people, of how the Church will continue to serve in the years and decades ahead.  I firmly believe we are experiencing a renewal as the Church, not least with the guidance of Pope Francis and, indeed, here in Limerick with Bishop Leahy, readies itself for a new era in communion with the people.”

Fr. Finnerty, the son of Supt. Tony and Mary Finnerty, attended St Patrick's College Maynooth and Seminary, beginning his studies for the priesthood on the 4th of September 1994. He recalls one notable aspect of the day from a Limerick perspective.  “It was the day that Limerick lost the hurling All-Ireland to Offaly. Two of my  brothers, both Limerick supporters, left the game in Croke Park before the full-time whistle to go to Maynooth for the opening Mass.  They arrived there thinking that Limerick had won the All-Ireland, which was sadly not the case.”

He was ordained in June 2002, and returned to Maynooth to complete a licentiate in Theology. His first appointment was a curate to the parish of Askeaton/Ballysteen. One year into this appointment Bishop Donal Murray appointed him as assistant diocesan secretary and the following year he was appointed secretary on a full-time basis to replace Fr Tony Mullins.

He remained in the post since, for 12 years, while also assisting in the Parish of St. Joseph’s and prior to that Askeaton/Ballysteen.  He added,  “The experience I have had as secretary over the last 12 years will be something I will bring to my new role. Over the last 12 years I have worked closely with priests and people of the diocese and I am very grateful for the goodwill and warmth I experienced.  The role of diocesan secretary has been a demanding one but enormously enriching.”

Fr. Paul has also been chaplain to the Westbourne Convent of Mercy in the city. Referring to Catherine McAuley who used to invite her fellow sisters to come out of their comfort zone, Fr. PauI remarked: “I will certainly be coming out of my comfort zone with this new appointment. It is both daunting and exciting and with God's help I will fulfil my new role to the best of my ability.”