A Dublin-born professor of theology at St. Patrick’s College, Maynooth, has been named as the new Bishop of the Diocese of Limerick.

It was announced at St. John’s Cathedral last Thursday that Fr. Brendan Leahy has been appointed by Pope Benedict XVI to succeed Dr. Donal Murray who resigned in December 2009.

Born in 1960, Fr. Leahy qualified as a barrister in 1983 and was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Dublin in 1986, having studied at U.C.D., Mater Dei Institute of Education, Dublin, Clonliffe College, Dublin and the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome.

Fr. Leahy served as a curate in Clonskeagh for a short period before becoming a staff member of Holy Cross Seminary and later Mater Dei Institute of Education. He was Secretary of the Advisory Committee on Ecumenism of the Irish Bishops’ Conference from 1999 to 2010.

A prolific writer, the Bishop-elect has had several books published.

Though born in Dublin, Fr. Leahy’s parents came from Ballyferriter in west Kerry and both were teachers. His father taught in Athea for a year in the 1940s.

“Being appointed Bishop of Limerick is certainly not something I foresaw as part of my life’s journey, but I am very grateful to Pope Benedict for opening up for me a new stage in life among the people and places of the historical and renowned diocese of Limerick. I look forward very much to getting to know the people of this diocese,” Fr. Leahy stated. “Many people have told me of the invaluable contribution Father Tony Mullins has made in the past three years. I’d like to add my thanks to theirs for his wonderful work. He has worked selflessly and tirelessly as admin-istrator. I am most grateful to him for the warm welcome he has extended to me,” he added.

Welcoming Fr. Leahy’s appointment, Fr. Tony Mullins who has been Diocesan Administrator since Bishop Murray’s resignation said, “In Limerick Father Brendan Leahy will find dedicated priests, committed religious and enthusiastic lay men and women, young and not so young, who welcome him warmly and who are eager to be his co-workers in the vineyard of the Lord. I ask the good people of Limerick to pray for our new bishop in the days and weeks ahead as he prepares for the most important undertaking of his life, namely being Bishop of Limerick”.