Pope appoints Auxiliary Bishop Donal McKeown as Bishop of Derry

Bishop Donal McKeown
Image caption Bishop-elect McKeown said he felt "energised" by the challenges that lie ahead

The Auxiliary Bishop of Down and Connor has been appointed by the Pope as the new Bishop of Derry.

Bishop-elect Donal McKeown, 63, has served as a priest for 37 years.

The diocese has been vacant since Dr Séamus Hegarty retired in November 2011 due to ill health.

Bishop-elect McKeown is a native of Randalstown, County Antrim, where he grew up as part of a large extended family.

He said: "I grew up not far from the River Bann and have passed through this historic city many times - but much of the area covered by the diocese of Derry is new to me.

"So moving to the banks of the Foyle means leaving behind streets and families where I have felt at home and moving aside from the network of relations that have been such an integral part of my being a priest."

He added: "I come with the knowledge that many solid foundations have been laid in the Church of this diocese.

"Indeed this city has, for many decades, developed its own sense of independence and cultural pride, epitomised in the City of Culture celebrations last year.

"I look forward to working with people of faith and people of doubt within this wonderful and historic diocese, so that together we can generate hope for our young people."

Bishop-elect McKeown said he felt "energised" by the challenges that lie ahead.

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