By Marian Duggan
It’s a proud day for two Mayo villages as one of their own is ordained a Bishop in the United States this evening.
Fr Kevin Sweeney, a priest in Brooklyn, visits the county every year to catch up with family, with his late parents Agnes Blewitt and Jim Sweeney hailing from Calladashin, Knockmore and Straide respectively. Today he will be ordained bishop of the Diocese of Paterson, New Jersey.
Fr Sweeney’s parents met in the United States and had three in the family but never lost touch with their family at home in Mayo.
The newly appointed bishop is the nephew of Brendan Blewitt (Runagry, Knockmore), Breege Bourke (Ballina); Sr Brigid (Castlebar), Sr Aloysius (Galway) and Martin Sweeney (Straide).
Fr Sweeney’s relatives travelled to the United States for his ordination in 1997 and he has married a number of his Mayo cousins. As well as celebrating Mass in Knockmore Church he has also celebrated Mass in Knock during his Mayo stays. The Mayo contingent had hoped to travel to the US for the ordination but Covid-19 means they must watch the service from the Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist in Paterson at home.
However, they are hoping Bishop Sweeney will be able to visit Knockmore later this summer.
Fr Sweeney, a Yankees fan, is a regular at Knockmore GAA games and his cousin Laurita Blewitt took him to Croke Park for last year’s All Ireland semi-final. The keen golfer has also tried out many of Mayo’s greens.
You can view the ordination at 7pm Irish time on https://rcdop.org/news/ordination-installation-viewing