New Auxiliary Bishop of Dublin – Fr Donal Roche

Mar 5, 2024

Pope Francis has appointed Fr Donal Roche as Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Dublin.

The episcopal appointment was announced at St Mary’s Pro-Cathedral in Dublin by Archbishop of Dublin Dermot Farrell this morning.

Auxiliary bishops assist diocesan bishops in meeting the pastoral and administrative needs of dioceses.

Fr Roche grew up in Drimnagh in Dublin, where he attended the local CBS primary and secondary schools.

He worked for four years as a clerical officer in Dublin County Council before entering Clonliffe College in 1980 to study for the priesthood.

He was sent to Maynooth to study for a degree in theology and was ordained for the Archdiocese of Dublin in 1986 in his home parish of Mourne Road.

Fr Roche spent six years as a priest-teacher in Coláiste Dhúlaigh, Coolock, and a further five years as a diocesan adviser for religious education in primary schools.

This was followed by eight years as chaplain to St Mark’s Community School, Tallaght. He also served several years as assistant vocations director in the Archdiocese.

Fr Roche’s first parish appointment was in Lucan South, followed by 11 years in Wicklow Town, where he looked after the surrounding areas of Kilbride, Barndarrig and Brittas Bay for a number of years.

His current appointment is in the Cabinteely-Johnstown grouping of parishes, with additional responsibility for the growing area of Cherrywood.

Fr Roche was appointed Episcopal Vicar by then Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin in 2019 and continues in this role under Archbishop Farrell, with responsibility for the deaneries of Bray, Donnybrook and Wicklow. It is a pastoral role, supporting priests and parishioners.

A fluent Irish speaker, Fr Roche is often called upon to celebrate mass and the sacraments in Irish in various parts of the Archdiocese.

With fewer clergy and greater lay involvement in parishes, the new Auxiliary Bishop will be supporting the Archbishop of Dublin in his role of leading the Archdiocese along the synodal pathway: clergy and lay faithful working together to bring the message of the Gospel to a new generation.

An Auxiliary Bishop is given a titular see.

Fr Roche’s will be that of the ancient diocese of Cell Ausaille, which is situated in the area of Killashee near Naas, Co Kildare.

St Auxilius was said to be a nephew of St Patrick and there are monastic ruins in Kilashee that are believed to date back to the 5th Century.