The Archdiocese of Armagh includes almost all of counties Armagh and Louth, approximately half of Co Tyrone and parts of counties Derry and Meath. It consists of 61 parishes and has a Catholic population of over a quarter of a million people.
Bishop Michael is a native of Virginia in Co. Cavan and was born on 15April 1965. His father, Anthony, was born in Bristol, England, to Irish parents and his mother, Nora, is a native of Glenamaddy, Co. Galway. He has two sisters, Breda Murphy and Martina Keville.
In his ordination homily Bishop Michael looked to the future: “The Church will be smaller and humbler in the future but those who are involved, who practice regularly, who volunteer their time, energy and resources to support the mission will not be doing it for any social or economic advantage but because they want to; because they see that life has no meaning without Jesus Christ at its centre.”
“The future will also necessitate greater education and formation of committed lay people to provide leadership at a liturgical, spiritual and administrative level and at the level of evangelisation and out-reach.”
Bishop Michael was educated in Virginia National School and in Kells C.B.S. before entering Saint Patrick’s College, Maynooth, to study for the priesthood in 1982. In Maynooth he graduated with a Bachelor in Divinity Degree and a Higher Diploma in Education.
Bishop Michael was ordained to the diaconate in the Maynooth College Chapel by Bishop Francis McKiernan, the Bishop of Kilmore, in 1987 and he was ordained as a priest for the Diocese of Kilmore in Saint Matthew’s Church, Maghera, in his native parish, on 25 June, 1989.
Bishop Michael began his ministry as a curate in the parish of Killinkere and in 1991 he joined the teaching staff of Saint Patrick’s College, Cavan, where he taught English, Geography and Religion. He was appointed Chaplain of Bailieborough Community School in 1996 and Priest in Residence in the Parish of Kilmainhamwood and Moybologue. In 2002/2003 he studied at Mater Dei Institute of Education in Dublin and assisted during that time in Our Lady of Good Counsel Parish in Drimnagh. He graduated with a Masters in Religion and Education in 2003.
On his return to the Diocese of Kilmore Bishop Michael was appointed the Diocesan Director of Adult Faith Formation and Pastoral Renewal while also serving as a Priest in Residence in the parish of Castletara/Ballyhaise. His role included providing training, encouragement and support for Parish Pastoral Councils, Liturgy Groups, Eucharistic Ministers and Ministers of the Word. He also helped to provide Adult Religious Education courses in the Diocesan Pastoral Centre, and in Manorhamilton, which were accredited by the Mater Dei Institute of Education and the Maryvale Institute.
In 2010, in addition to these roles, Bishop Michael was appointed director of the Diocesan Pastoral Centre and in 2013 he was transferred as Curate to the Cathedral Parish in Cavan with responsibility for the Butlersbridge area. In 2014 he was appointed to his present position as Parish Priest of Killann Parish, which includes the towns of Bailieborough and Shercock, and as Vicar Forane for the Bailieborough Deanery. Bishop Michael was also a member of the College of Consultors of the Diocese of Kilmore and is chairman of the Diocesan Priests’ Council since 2017.
On 7 May last, His Holiness Pope Francis appointed Bishop Router, as Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Armagh, assigning to him the Titular See of Lugmad. The Titular See of Lugmad is an ancient episcopal see in County Louth. Previous bishops who held that title included Bishop Thomas Winning, Auxiliary Bishop and later Cardinal Archbishop of Glasgow.