Apostolic Visitation

The Holy Father has asked me to serve on the apostolic visitation of Ireland.  Here’s how the Vatican Information Service announced it.


VATICAN CITY, 31 MAY 2010 (VIS) – This morning the Holy See Press Office released the following English-language communique concerning the apostolic visitation of Ireland as announced in the Holy Father’s 19 March Letter to the Catholics of Ireland:

“Following the Holy Father’s Letter to the Catholics of Ireland, the apostolic visitation of certain Irish dioceses, seminaries and religious congregations will begin in autumn of this year.

“Through this visitation, the Holy See intends to offer assistance to the bishops, clergy, religious and lay faithful as they seek to respond adequately to the situation caused by the tragic cases of abuse perpetrated by priests and religious upon minors. It is also intended to contribute to the desired spiritual and moral renewal that is already being vigorously pursued by the Church in Ireland.

“The apostolic visitors will set out to explore more deeply questions concerning the handling of cases of abuse and the assistance owed to the victims; they will monitor the effectiveness of and seek possible improvements to the current procedures for preventing abuse, taking as their points of reference the Pontifical ‘Motu Proprio’ ‘Sacramentorum Sanctitatis Tutela’ and the norms contained in ‘Safeguarding Children: Standards and Guidance Document for the Catholic Church in Ireland’, commissioned and produced by the National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church.

“The visitation will begin in the four metropolitan archdioceses of Ireland (Armagh, Dublin, Cashel and Emly, and Tuam) and will then be extended to some other dioceses.

“The visitors named by the Holy Father for the dioceses are: Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, archbishop emeritus of Westminster, England, for the archdiocese of Armagh; Cardinal Sean Patrick O’Malley O.F.M. Cap., archbishop of Boston, U.S.A., for the archdiocese of Dublin; Archbishop Thomas Christopher Collins of Toronto, Canada, for the archdiocese of Cashel and Emly, and Archbishop Terrence Thomas Prendergast S.J. of Ottawa, Canada, for the archdiocese of Tuam.

“In its desire to accompany the process of renewal of houses of formation for the future priests of the Church in Ireland, the Congregation for Catholic Education will co-ordinate the visitation of the Irish seminaries, including the Pontifical Irish College in Rome. While special attention will be given to the matters that occasioned the apostolic visitation, in the case of the seminaries it will cover all aspects of priestly formation. Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York, U.S.A., has been named apostolic visitor.

“For its part, the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life will organise the visitation of religious houses in two phases. Firstly it will conduct an enquiry by means of a questionnaire to be sent to all the superiors of religious institutes present in Ireland, with a view to providing an accurate picture of the current situation and formulating plans for the observance and improvement of the norms contained in the ‘guidelines’. In the second phase, the apostolic visitors will be: Fr. Joseph Tobin C.Ss.R. and Fr. Gero McLaughlin S.J. for institutes of men; Sr. Sharon Holland I.H.M. and Sr. Mairin McDonagh R.J.M. for institutes of women. They will carry out a careful study, evaluating the results obtained from the questionnaire and the possible steps to be taken in the future in order to usher in a season of spiritual rebirth for religious life on the Island.

“His Holiness invites all the members of the Irish Catholic community to support this fraternal initiative with their prayers. He invokes God’s blessings upon the visitors, and upon all the bishops, clergy, religious and lay faithful of Ireland, that the visitation may be for them an occasion of renewed fervour in the Christian life, and that it may deepen their faith and strengthen their hope in Christ our Saviour”.

I released the following statement to the press today:


“I am happy to accept the Holy See’s invitation to serve as a member of the upcoming apostolic visitation to the Church in Ireland, with special attention to their historic seminaries.

“My love for the faith of Ireland, and my own background in priestly formation, make me grateful for this assignment, and I look forward to close cooperation with my brother bishops, priests, religious, and the faithful of Ireland.  I await further information and instruction from the Holy See on the specifics and timing of the visitation.”

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10 Responses to “Apostolic Visitation”

  1. Reverend Martin A. Vallely says:

    I am a priest of the Diocese of Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, and was ordained 30 years ago earlier this month.

    I was directed, by the latest post of my good friend Rocco, to the presentation which you made at the Seminary in Maynooth last week.

    I thank you for an absolute masterpiece; and I shall be praying over it and acting on it for quite a while to come.

    Thank you again, and God’s blessings on the Apostolic Visitation to Ireland, in which I observe that Archbishop Collins (who started out as a priest of our Diocese, taught me in the Seminary, and whom I admire beyond measure) will also be participating.

    Father Martin Vallely

  2. My prayers for you and for all in this undertaking. If we are truly the Body of Christ, then we must truly and literally “re-member” the Body of Christ and that is ultimately what you are about to do.

  3. Father Michael Fritsch says:

    This may not be the best place to ‘post’ but, I simply ask for your prayers, Archbishop Dolan, on the occasion of my 25th anniversary of Ordination. I first met you at Fr. Joe Villa’s diaconate ordination in Rome in ’96 and again at Fr. Jonathon Meyers diaconate in ’02. I serve in the Archdiocese of Indianapolis. You gave our priests a great day of recollection some years back as well. Blessings on your ministry. Keep up the good fight!
    Fr. Michael Fritsch.

  4. I was in Maynooth last week and had the very good fortune (and blessing) to hear your words. I have since added them to our Diocesan Website http://www.achonrydiocese.org Well done – a powerful, motivated and motivating presentation. The Catholic Communications Office has some video excerpts from your talk on its site http://www.catholicbishops.ie May God bless you in your continued work with the church here in Ireland.

  5. Fr. Martin Linebach says:


    I had the pleasure of reading your address to Saint Patrick’s in Maynooth. It was a joy to read and an even greater joy to use as a tool for prayerful meditation. I have recently been appointed the pastor of Saint Patrick Parish and begin on June 16th. As I arrive, I will remember your good counsel and simply be with the good people there. I will also pray for the Lord to help me grow in holiness.

    Thank you for your generous, charitable and intelligent service to our Church. And for being a model of priestly life and ministry rooted in joy, trust and humility.

    God bless you,
    Fr. Martin Linebach
    Archdiocese of Louisville

  6. Larry says:

    I would think that an American bishop’s time would be better spent making an \apostolic visitation\ to each one of his own parishes, unnannounced and quietly, on weekly confession day. He should slip in a side door and observe from the shadows just how few people come to confess their sins on a regular basis–in other words, how few people in that parish are likely to be on the road to heaven. Then the bishop could have a talk with that pastor as to what can be done–on an emergency basis–to remind the people that to neglect the Sacraments, particularly confession, is to court deadly danger for their eternal souls.
    As for the apostolic vistation to Ireland, I sincerely hope it doesn’t result in the Irish Church becoming more like its U.S. counterpart, which is characterized more and more by the spiritual slackertude of the laity and the complacency of the priests and bishops in dealing with the same.

  7. Patricia A Barnett says:

    Larry …. really do you think an American Archbishop should be lurking the shadows tallying the fathful in the confessional line rather then spreading the joy, hope and promise each day brings us.
    You may want to consider that you have your own inventory to conduct, as I seem to recall a quote along the lines of motes and beams in peoples eyes. Look for the joy in each day that is a gift to you.. have a beautiful day and may your journey be one of wonder, faith and blessings.

  8. Andy Piacente says:

    I agree with the spirit of what Larry is saying considering that 75% of Catholics used to attend weekly Mass in America, now only 23% do. Confession? Hardly anyone believes in this most important Sacrament anymore yet the 23% all get up in time to receive our Lord at Mass in what Father Peter Stravinskas called “The great emptying of the pews.”

    Want to make a good Priest laugh? Ask him how many people show up for Confession as opposed to the amount of those that receive our Lord at Sunday Mass.

    Help us Bishop Dolan.

    AndyP/Doria2 Yonkers, NY

  9. Steven Pearson says:

    Larry, I understand your frustrations, but believe me The Church in the USA is in a much healthier state than here in Ireland, and we will be only borrowing the Archbishop for a matter of months. The Church here can be compared to the US Church in the 70s and 80s. Michael Rose’s Book “Good bye, Good Men” is very relevant to our seminary. Irish Men have to leave the country to get a proper formation. Your orthodox seminaries are now thrieving and you have strong leaders, and beautiful new orders are springing up in the US, as well as the tremendous grace of EWTN. We badly need the Archbishop in Ireland, and we very much welcome his appointment. May God continue to bless your work Archbishop & and Our Blessed Mother guide and protect you.

  10. Wow, what an honor – Archbishop Dolan! You are very inspiring to the Holy Father, and he seems to really like you. :-)