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OMG! - I'm going to be a bishop, Canon tells parish

OMG – it's an appropriate response to unexpected good news, even from a bishop-elect.

Canon William Crean (60) revealed to his parishioners yesterday his reaction when Papal Nuncio Dr Charles Brown told him the Holy Father wished him to become Bishop of Cloyne.

"Within the first three sentences he had asked me and I thought: 'Oh my God'," Canon Crean told the congregation at 12pm Mass in Cahersiveen, Co Kerry, where he has served for the past six years.

He also appealed for prayers from his parishioners to support him in his new role.

No ordination date has been fixed yet, but the Tralee native has already said he would use his appointment to try to bring "healing" to the Co Cork diocese that has been wracked by controversy over child abuse.

Cloyne has been without a bishop for the past four years – since Dr John Magee stepped aside and later resigned in the wake of the controversy caused by the publication of the damning Cloyne Report.

"It's all so recent and I'm not briefed in the affairs of the diocese in any way so one thing I would ask for is patience to understand the full nature of things that have been happening," he told the Irish Independent.

The popular priest said he'd "hugely" miss Cahersiveen, where a lot of his energy has gone into the restoration of the Daniel O'Connell Memorial Church.

"I've had nothing but wonderful support here and even in a time of recession, the generosity of the people of Cahersiveen has been phenomenal," he said.

His one regret in leaving is that he won't get to see the restoration project through to completion, but said there were "wonderful plans" for an interactive visitors' centre in the nuns' chapel as well as the ongoing restoration of the inside of the church.

And while Canon Crean is still grappling to take in his elevation within the church, his flock was coming to terms with the news, which only began to spread the previous day.

"We always said he'd make a great bishop, we just hoped it would be of Kerry," said Catherine McCrohan.

"He'll leave a huge void in our community. He never got excited about anything, was always relaxed and had time for young and old."

Following the celebration of Mass yesterday, parishioners queued up to congratulate the canon in the new role.

Local councillor Paul O'Donoghue described him as a "modest" and "humble" man who was universally popular and was going to be missed.

"We're delighted for him but so sorry to see him go. Cloyne's gain is our loss," he added.

Principal of Colaiste na Sceilge John O'Connor praised Canon Crean as a "wonderful" man with great energy.

Teacher at St Joseph's National School Joe Moore said the canon's promotion didn't come as any great surprise to people.

"He's the type of man you would see as a bishop, but it will be a big loss to us here and the people of Cloyne are very lucky," he said.

Irish Independent