Most Rev Alan McGuckian

Bishop Alan McGuckian was born in 1953, the youngest of six children of the late Brian and Pauline McGuckian in Cloughmills, Co. Antrim.

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.

Tháinig sé go Rann na Feirste den chéad uair sa bhliain 1968 agus tá sé ag teacht go rialta chuig Gaeltacht Dhún na nGall ó shin.

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.

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 and Along with Mr Tony Bolger he set up Church Resources and Church Services TV. San am céanna bhí sé ag obair in earnáil na Gaeilge mar Eagarthóir ar An Timire agus Foilseacháin Ábhair Spioradálta.

I mBéal Feirste dóó 2006 bhí sé ag tabhairt seirbhís seiplíneachta do chuid mhór Gaelscoileanna agus ag freastal ar Phobal an Aifrinn Ghaeilge.

Bishop Alan served for a few years as Chaplain in the University of Ulster at Jordanstown and Belfast.

For the last six years he has worked closely with the Diocese of Down and Connor in the Living Church project. This began in 2011 with a Listening Process in all 87 parishes which led to the publication of a document known as the Living Church Report in 2012. On foot of this report Bishop Treanor asked Fr Alan to set up and lead the Living Church Office whose goal has been to make concrete the hopes and aspirations expressed first of all in the Living Church Report and then in the Diocesan Pastoral Plan. One element of the Plan was the establishment of the Permanent Diaconate.

In recent years a key element of the work of the Living Church has been the rolling out of Facilitative and Discerning Leadership training which aims to foster a culture of co-responsibility for the mission of the church between clergy and laity.

Bishop Alan was appointed Bishop of Raphoe on the 9th June 2017 (Feast of St Colmcille) and was ordained Bishop on 6th August 2017.


The left half of Bishop Alan’s crest is the arms of the diocese of Raphoe which dates from the Middle Ages: the sun is a symbol of God in many religions but especially, for us, of Christ who was foretold as the ‘rising sun of righteousness’ (Mal. 4:2, Lk. 1:78). The Red Cross is one of the many forms of the chief Christian symbol of salvation. The ermine symbolises royalty; Christ is King.

The right half includes, on a blue background, the seal of the Society of Jesus and the scallop shell of the pilgrim of Santiago. In Catholic heraldry the chevron stands for the rafter that holds up the roof of the church. Here it represents Mary Mother and protector of the pilgrim Church on earth. The argent (silver) denotes her transparency or purity.


The motto ‘Et velle et perficere’ represents a powerful section of Chapter 2 of the Letter to the Philippians:


‘It is God for his own loving purpose, who puts both the will and the action into you. Do all that has to be done without complaining or arguing and then you will be innocent and genuine, perfect children of God among a deceitful and underhand brood, and you will shine in the world like bright stars because you will be offering it the word of life.’ (Philippians 2:13-16)

From the Bishop's Desk

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