Bishop Anthony Farquhar, the retired Auxiliary Bishop of the Diocese of Down and Connor, has received a Doctor of Letters award from Ulster University in recognition of his distinguished services to the University and the community. Bishop Farquhar was conferred with his award today, Monday 27 June 2016.
Bishop Farquhar was ordained a priest on 13 March 1965 and his first appointment in the Diocese was to the parish of Dunsford and Ardglass that following September. In March 1966, he was appointed as Chaplain to Musgrave Park Hospital alongside Chaplaincy to Forster Green Hospital and St Patrick’s Training School, Glen Road. In September 1966, Bishop Farquhar was appointed to the staff of St MacNissi’s College, Garron Tower where he taught until 1970 before taking up an appointment as Assistant Chaplain at Queen’s University Belfast. In 1975, he became Chaplain and Lecturer to the New University of Ulster as well as Chaplain to the Dominican College in Portstewart. On 15 May 1983, he was ordained as an Auxiliary Bishop of Down and Connor.
Bishop Farquhar has confirmed approximately 70,000 young people and would probably be best remembered for these ceremonies. He often spoke to the young people of his motto:Sapientia Proficere (Increase in Wisdom) or as he would frequently translate it for the young people: Grow up and Wise Up.
Bishop Farquhar’s work outside the diocese was mostly in the field of ecumenism and he enjoyed a wide range of ecumenical friendships particularly that with the late Reverend Ray Davey who founded the Corrymeela Community which, coincidentally, also celebrated its Golden Jubilee this year.
Bishop Farquhar served as an appointee of the Holy Father as a member of the International Anglican Roman Catholic Commission on Unity and Mission (IARCCUM). Again he served as Roman Catholic Co-Chairman of the Dialogue between the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity (PCPCU) and the World Alliance of Reformed Churches (WARC). Bishop Farquhar chaired the Commission on Ecumenism of the Irish Episcopal Conference when he steered it to take up its associate membership of Churches Together in Britain and Ireland (CTBI). He served as one of the Roman Catholic representatives at the most recent Lambeth Conference of Anglican Bishops from around the world (2008). In 2008 his ecumenical work was acknowledged in an ecumenical Festschrift with contributions from leading ecumenists in these islands and around the world including a contribution by Cardinal Walter Kasper.
Pope Francis accepted the resignation of Bishop Farquar, on age grounds, on 3 December 2015.