Bishop Cullinan ordained as Bishop of Waterford & Lismore

ordination of Alphonsus CullinanBishop Cullinan

To view the ceremony, please click on :

Photographs are available to view on our Picture Gallery on this website.  All photographs courtesy of John Power Photographer, Percy Terrace, Waterford.

Please click on Opening Words by Bishop Lee from the ceremony

Please click on Homily by Michael Olden that was delivered today by Mgr. Michael Olden PE.

Please click on Words of Gratitude from Bishop Alphonsus


ordination of Alphonsus Cullinan



Below is an overview of the life and ministry of Bishop Cullinan.

Life and ministry of Bishop Alphonsus Cullinan

Newly Ordained BishopFather Cullinan was born in Lahinch, County Clare in 1959 to Christy and Rita and has four sisters and five brothers.  Father Cullinan is a priest of the diocese of Limerick.  His family moved to Limerick city where he attended the Salesians for early education, John F Kennedy National School and the Crescent College Comprehensive (SJ) for his secondary education.  From 1978-1981 he attended Mary Immaculate College of Education Limerick and qualified as a primary teacher (B.Ed) in 1981, and taught for six years in Castleconnell, County Limerick. He worked part-time during that time for four years with the Bunratty Castle Entertainers before going to Spain where he taught English for two years in a school in Valladolid.  Father Cullinan studied at Saint Patrick’s College Maynooth from 1989-95 where he completed an STL (Licentiate in Theology).  He was ordained by Bishop Jeremiah Newman in 1994 in Saint John’s Cathedral, Limerick, and appointed Curate in Saint Munchin’s Parish Limerick city 1995-1996.  Father Cullinan’s next appointment was as chaplain to the Regional Hospital in Limerick from 1996 until 2001.  He studied for his doctorate in moral theology in the Alfonsianum in Rome 2001-2004.  Appointed chaplain to the Limerick Institute of Technology 2004-2011.   He was appointed Parish Priest of Rathkeale , County Limerick in 2011.

The Diocese of Waterford & Lismore includes County Waterford, and part of Counties Tipperary and Cork.  There are 45 parishes, 85 Churches and a Catholic population of 152,107.  The patrons of the Diocese are Saint Otteran, Saint Carthage and Saint Declan.



ordination of Alphonsus Cullinan

ordination of Alphonsus Cullinan

Statement by Father Alphonsus Cullinan on his appointment as Bishop of Waterford & Lismore

Gospel BookYour Excellency Archbishop Charles Brown, Apostolic Nuncio, your Grace Bishop William Lee,  Monsignor Nicholas O’Mahony, Diocesan Administrator, brother priests, members of the many religious congregations here and you good people of Waterford & Lismore.

I greet you all. Dia ’is Muire Dhibh go leir.  I am honoured and humbled and excited to have been nominated as bishop of this Diocese.

I thank Bishop Willie Lee for his most gracious and warm welcome.  I congratulate him on his shepherding of this diocese for twenty years and I look forward to his friendship and advice in the years to come.  I thank Monsignor Nicholas O’Mahony who has looked after the diocese so well since October 2013.  I thank Archbishop Charles Brown for his help, his advice in the last week or so since he told me that Pope Francis had appointed me.  I wish to thank Pope Francis also and I am looking forward to meeting him in person in September.

This is an historic city and Waterford and Lismore is an historic Diocese with a Christian heritage going back to the earliest days of Christianity on this island and I am very proud to be called to do something to continue that wonderful tradition.

Up to last week I had under my care the 4,000 or so souls in my parish.  Now I am moving to the other side of Munster and am called to be the shepherd of over 150,000 souls! I don’t have any illusions about the difficulties of the job which I have been given and I know my own unworthiness and limitations.  In that sense I have a mountain to climb but mountains are made for climbing!  And I am not the only one with a mountain to climb.  There are so many people with troubles of their own – illness, loss, worry about children, about making ends meet, depression, loneliness, lack of meaning in life, being marginalized, – the list of human suffering and pain is long.

The Lord Jesus has come, not to add a further complication to life, but to set us free – to bring us his grace, help, wisdom and his peace and joy.  He knows us and what it is to live a human life.  He himself worked as a carpenter, working with his hands in the carpenter’s workshop.  He is human like us.  This is what we celebrated just a few weeks ago at Christmas.  He was born of Mary in a simple stable.

– “the Word was made flesh and lived among us”

And he is still among us and cares for us and loves us and is here now to help as we journey along.  It is my honour and privilege to be part of his work, to follow his command to go out and preach the Good News.  “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son so that all who believe in him may not perish but have eternal life.”  It is also my honour and privilege to be chosen to be his and your bishop here in what will be my new home.

I have been much encouraged by the words and example of that wonderful young man Donal Walsh from Blennerville, Tralee, who died of cancer last year.  If he were here he’d probably say; “ Look, keep climbing the mountain because it’s God’s mountain –and God is asking you to keep climbing”.  On my own I won’t get very far, but together, people and religious and with my brother priests and Bishop Willie, we will do great things for God

I entrust my future work here in Waterford and Lismore to Mary, the dear Mother of the Lord, to Saint Joseph the patron of the universal Church and to Saints Otteran, Declan and Carthage the patrons of this diocese.

I look forward to meeting you all. I will try my best to be a good shepherd and I wish you all joy and peace.

Thank you.


Bishop William Lee congratulates Father Alphonsus Cullinan on his appointment by Pope Francis as Bishop of Waterford & Lismore

Your Excellency, Archbishop Brown Apostolic Nuncio, Monsignor O’Mahony, my brother priests, religious and people of the diocese.  It is my great privilege and honour this morning to inform you that our Holy Father, Pope Francis, has appointed Father Alphonsus Cullinan, a priest of the diocese of Limerick, to be my successor as Bishop of Waterford and Lismore.  The priests religious and people of the diocese have been waiting expectantly for this day and I have no doubt that the news of Fr. Cullinan’s appointment will be received with great joy.  On behalf of the priests and people of the diocese, I want to extend to Father Cullinan this morning a most sincere welcome among us.

A native of Lahinch, Co. Clare, Father Cullinan is currently P.P. of Rathkeale, Co. Limerick.  Prior to his ordination in 1994 he worked as a Primary Teacher for six years in Castleconnell Co. Limerick.  Since ordination he ministered as a curate in Limerick City and was chaplain to the Regional Hospital, Limerick.  He studied for his doctorate in moral theology in Rome and served as chaplain to L.I.T. Limerick until his appointment as P.P. of Rathkeale in 2011.  As you see, he comes to this diocese with a wealth of experience in many different ministries.

Father Cullinan, as we gather to introduce you to the diocese, I am very conscious of how happy and blessed I have been as Bishop of the diocese of Waterford and Lismore.  I will be forever grateful for the warmth of the welcome and indeed for the encouragement and support I have received from priests and people over the past twenty one years.  I know that you will receive that same kind of welcome, encouragement and support as you lead this diocese into the future.

In Waterford and Lismore you will find dedicated priests, committed religious and enthusiastic lay men and women, young and not so young, who greet you warmly today and who are eager to be your co-workers in the vineyard of the Lord.


It is a happy coincidence that you come amongst us on the Feast of the Presentation when Mary and Joseph brought Jesus to the Temple to thank God for the gift of their Son and to ask the Fathers protection and blessing on their new-born.  Like Mary and Joseph, I give thanks for the gift Pope Francis has given us in you as Bishop and this morning, as we warmly welcome you, I ask God’s blessing on your life among us as you courageously proclaim the Good News to the people of Waterford and Lismore.