The Archbishops of Armagh and Dublin have paid tribute to the Bishops of Tuam, Killala and Achonry and Limerick, Killaloe and Ardfert following news that both are soon to retire.
Commenting on the announcement that Bishop Patrick Rooke of Tuam, Killala and Achonry and Bishop Kenneth Kearon of Limerick, Killaloe and Ardfert are to retire on October 31 this year, the Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland, the Most Rev John McDowell, said: “There will be time and opportunity to say something more when the date of the bishops’ retirement comes round, but for now I wish to thank Bishop Patrick Rooke and Bishop Kenneth Kearon for their respective and very distinctive contributions to the work of the House of Bishops and to the life of the Church of Ireland.
“When each was elected to the House, they brought with them a combination of wide experience and unique gifts. Bishop Rooke has worked tirelessly on an enormous range of projects on behalf of the bishops with his characteristic thoroughness and energy. Bishop Kearon brought with him an unparalleled knowledge and experience of the Anglican Communion which he generously shared with many of us during the course of the last six years.
“Both bishops, working together, with patience and pastoral care, successfully negotiated (in every sense of that word) the amalgamation of their united dioceses, which can now look to the future with confidence and optimism.
“May I wish both bishops God’s continued presence and blessing as they prepare, over the coming months, to move into a new phase of life and vocation.”
The Archbishop of Dublin and Primate of Ireland, the Most Rev Dr Michael Jackson, stated: “I would like to commend Bishop Patrick Rooke and Bishop Kenneth Kearon for their positive contributions to the life of the Church of Ireland in the dioceses of Tuam, Killala and Achonry and Limerick, Killaloe and Ardfert and beyond. Geographically, the dioceses cover a large area along our western seaboard with a diverse population. Members of the Church of Ireland in the west of Ireland make a great contribution to their own communities and to the wider Church.
“The retirement of Bishop Rooke and Bishop Kearon will bring significant structural change to the dioceses.
“Both the bishops now retiring and the people of Tuam, Killala and Achonry and of Limerick, Killaloe and Ardfert have done sustained work in building a firm foundation for their future together. They are to be commended on the spirit in which this work has been carried out collaboratively. There will be much to do in the coming months and years but I wish to assure them of my support as they travel this road together.”
Bishop Rooke, a former Archdeacon of Dalriada spent much of his early ministry in Connor Diocese, beginning in 1978 when he was made Deacon in St Anne’s Cathedral, Belfast. From 1978 until 1981 he was Curate Assistant of Mossley Parish, and from 1981-1983 he was Curate Assistant of Ballywillan Parish, Portrush. From 1983-1988 he was Incumbent of Craigs, Dunaghy and Killagan Parishes, before moving to the Diocese of Armagh where he was Incumbent of Ballymore Parish, Tandragee. He returned to Connor in 1994 to become Incumbent of Agherton Parish, Portstewart. In 2005 he was appointed Archdeacon of Dalriada, and he moved back to Armagh in 2006 as Dean of Armagh and Keeper of Armagh Public Library. He has been Bishop of Tuam, Killala and Achonry since 2011.
Bishop Kearon was ordained a priest in 1982 and served as curate in All Saints’, Raheny, and St John’s, Coolock, before his appointment as Dean of Residence at Trinity College, Dublin. In 1991 he became rector of Tullow before becoming Director of the Irish School of Ecumenics in 1999 and Secretary General of the Anglican Communion in 2005. He was consecrated Bishop of Limerick and Killaloe in January 2015.