Pope Francis has appointed the Bishop of Killaloe, Dr Kieran O'Reilly, to the Congregation for the Institutes of Consecrated Life and the Societies of Apostolic Life.
Bishop O'Reilly is a member of the Society of African Missions, one of the many entities whose 900,000 or so male and female members are overseen by the 45 strong congregation.
Dr O'Reilly, who is 61, was based in Rome before his appointment as bishop four years ago, where he served two terms as the society's Superior General.
The congregation is currently organising the Catholic Church's Year for Religious, which will open next November and will continue until February 2016.
In 2012, he and Archbishop of Dublin Diarmaid Martin represented the Irish hierarchy at the Synod of Bishops in Rome.