Assisting the Episcopal ordination were Archbishop Dermot Clifford of the dioceses of Cashel and Emly, and the Bishop William Murphy of the diocese of Kerry. Cardinal Sean Brady, Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland presided at the Mass, and concelebrants included the Archbishop Michael Neary of Tuam, other members of the hierarchy, some 90 priests from the Diocese of Cloyne and a large number of priests from the new Bishop’s native Diocese of Kerry.
William Crean was born in Tralee on 16 December 1951, the son of the late Patrick and Margaret Crean (née O’Donnell). He is one of several family members to have responded to the call to the priesthood. He was ordained to the priesthood on the 20 June 1976 for service in the Diocese of Kerry.
In his homily during the celebrations, Archbishop Brown noted that Bishop Crean had chosen as his Episcopal motto a phrase from the Prophet Ezekiel "I will give you a new heart and put a new Spirit within you" (Ez 36:26). He said: "Let me say today that I believe that the Holy Spirit is indeed bringing forth something that is new and strong and beautiful here in Ireland. Certainly, the Church has gone through a period of difficulty and sorrow, but something new and radiant is emerging."
Archbishop Brown spoke also to the young people present or watching the liturgy on television, saying: "Listen to Christ speaking in your heart. He is calling some of you to leave your everyday life and to follow him as a priest, just as he called Canon Crean and the other priests here today. In the depths of your heart, you will know it when he calls you, even if, for a time, you try to ignore it. Don't be afraid. Be courageous and follow his call and you will find a joy that the world cannot understand."
Newly ordained Bishop Crean also delivered an address, saying: "To-day I renew my commitment to continue the work of healing and reconciliation that is so necessary for all. This work will take time understanding and patience."
He continued: "There are those who believe that the mission of the Church belongs to history. I say it was never so relevant and contemporary in its wisdom and insight. The Church is duty bound to engage positively in the public discourse. I believe we can and will be a leaven in that dialogue. Change is a constant reality. The question for all is “Can we bring with us the vigour and truth of the Gospel as we together seek to rebuild the nation for a new generation?"