Cloughmills native Alan McGuckian is appointed as new Bishop of Down and Connor

A Cloughmills Catholic priest has been appointed by Pope Francis as the new Bishop for the Diocese of Down and Connor.
Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now

Bishop Alan McGuckian was announced on Friday, February 2, as the new Bishop, following his predecessor, Archbishop Noel Treanor.

He was born in 1953, the youngest of six children of the late Brian and Pauline McGuckian in Cloughmills. Schooling in Cloughmills and in St MacNissi’s College, Garron Tower, was followed by a year of First Arts in Queen’s University, Belfast, where he studied Irish and Scholastic Philosophy.

In October 1972 he joined the Jesuit novitiate in Clontarf in Dublin. His training for the priesthood involved Philosophy in the Milltown Institute in Dublin and Theology in the Toronto School of Theology.

Cloughmills priest Alan McGuckien has been appointed as Bishop of Down and Connor. Credit Peter ThomasCloughmills priest Alan McGuckien has been appointed as Bishop of Down and Connor. Credit Peter Thomas
Cloughmills priest Alan McGuckien has been appointed as Bishop of Down and Connor. Credit Peter Thomas

After ordination to the priesthood in 1984 Bishop Alan worked in secondary education for four years in Clongowes Wood College. In the 1990s he ran the Jesuit Communication Centre in Dublin. During this period he was involved in setting up the web sites www.sacredspace.ie and www.catholicireland.net. Along with Mr Tony Bolger he set up Church Resources and Church Services TV.

Bishop Alan served for a few years as Chaplain in the University of Ulster at Jordanstown and Belfast. He was appointed Bishop of Raphoe on June 9, 2017.

Speaking about his appointment, he said: “My roots are entirely in the Diocese of Down and Connor. Father Gerry Park baptised me and Father Vincent McKinley gave me my first Holy Communion in Cloughmills. Bishop Philbin confirmed me in Dunloy. This is where I come from and I am humbled and privileged that, after all my wanderings, the bishop of Rome has chosen to send me home.

"I would not be telling the whole truth if I did not say that it will be a terrible wrench for me to leave the priests and people of Raphoe...Donegal people took me into their hearts and have inspired me and I will miss them greatly.”

Archbishop Eamon Martin said: “Bishop Alan’s appointment is providential at this time of political renewal in Northern Ireland, and he will no doubt bring many gifts to enable peaceful relationships to grow and flourish in his new diocese - amongst the various Churches and faith communities, as well in political and civic life.”