FATHER Denis Nulty is the second appointment Pope Francis has made to the Irish hierarchy in two weeks.
He is now in line to become the youngest bishop in the Catholic Church in Ireland – as well as its tallest, at 6ft 5in.
A native of Slane, Co Meath, he brings 25 years of pastoral experience to his new role in Kildare and Leighlin – one of the most pastorally vibrant dioceses.
According to Bishop Michael Smith of Meath, Fr Nulty brings approachability to his ministry and Fr David Bradley, a classmate of Fr Nulty's in Maynooth, said he is "very down to earth".
"He is a very gifted fellow . . . people would always have recognised that," he added.
Fr Bradley said that his work with the marriage counselling agency ACCORD showed his sensitive and sensible side.
He is the youngest of five children of Den Nulty and Nan Balfe, and hails from a farming background. Educated in Slane, he attended St Patrick's Classical School in Navan where he did his Leaving Cert in 1981.
After completing a BA in 1984 and a BD in 1987 at Maynooth, he was ordained for the Diocese of Meath in St Patrick's Church, Slane, on June 12, 1988.
In September 1988 he was appointed a curate in Mullingar Cathedral where he served until 1998, when he was appointed parish priest of St Mary's in Drogheda, aged just 35.