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Irish Spiritan elected Superior General

John Fogarty C.S.Sp. (60) has been elected Superior General of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit. The election took place at the Spiritans’ 8-yearly General Chapter which is currently being held in Tanzania.

Born in Finglas and educated in St. Vincent’s CBS, Glasnevin, Fr Fogarty graduated from UCD. Having earned a licentiate in sacred theology (STL) at Fribourg University in Switzerland, he was ordained to the priesthood in 1981.

Currently the Congregational leader in the US where he had also worked for a time in the Spiritan University in Duquesne, Pittsburgh, Fr Fogarty’s first experience as a missionary priest was in Ghana, West Africa. He subsequently served in administration both in the Irish Province and in the international headquarters in Rome where he will again be based.

There are over 2,800 Spiritan priests, brothers and (lay) associates worldwide, the largest groups being from Nigeria, France and Ireland. Spiritans are the largest male religious congregation in Ireland.

Founded over 300 years ago in France, Spiritans have been in Ireland for over a century and a half and are best known to many through their long involvement in education. With the evangelisation of the poor as their mission, Spiritans currently administer a number of parishes in west Dublin as well as one in the Diocese of Elphin, while a number of Spiritans are involved in chaplaincy and social ministry. Irish Spiritan missionaries continue to serve in many parts of the English-speaking world as well as in countries such as Brazil, Ethiopia, Kenya and Pakistan while the Congregation’s newest mission is in South Sudan.

Bagamoyo in Tanzania, which can trace its Spiritan connections back to the 1860s, is hosting the Congregation ‘s twentieth General Chapter. It is the first time that the Chapter has been held in Africa.

The only Irishman to previously hold the role of Superior General of the Spiritans, then known as the Holy Ghost Fathers, was Fr Francis Griffin from Clare who held the position from 1950 to 1962.