Episcopal ministries of Bishops Patrick Walsh and William Lee recalled at Funeral Masses

11 Jan, 2024 | Bishops, Church, News

Bishop Patrick Walsh, Bishop Emeritus of the Diocese of Down and Connor, died on 28 December 2023.  During the Funeral Mass on 2 January 2024, which was celebrated in Saint Peter’s Cathedral, Belfast, chief celebrant Bishop Donal McKeown, Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Down and Connor, preached, “In Saint Luke’s Gospel, Jesus says that when we have done all that we are told to do, we say ‘we have done no more than our duty’ (Luke 17:10).  The son of a civil servant, Bishop Patrick had a strong sense of duty and loyalty to the Church in rapidly changing times, whether in education, the Mater Hospital or during the many different sorts of troubles that he had to deal with over the decades.  Leadership is never easy.  It is often closer to a crucifixion than to an enthronement.  The pain well outweighs the joys.  Making decisions in turbulent times is fraught with competing pressures.  All a person can do is to seek God’s guidance in prayer, grasp the nettles and trust that in all things God is working for our salvation, even when we get things wrong.  For him, that meant trying to make sense of the early student demonstrations in the late ’60s, leading a large school when Belfast descended into chaos in the ’70s – and then having to accept the awful truth that some of his ordained colleagues were capable of serial sexual abuse of children. ”

On 5 January the death occurred of Bishop William Lee, Bishop Emeritus of the Diocese of Waterford & Lismore.  During the Funeral Mass in Waterford city on 9 January, chief celebrant Bishop Alphonsus Cullinan said, “Bishop Lee was appointed Bishop-elect of Waterford and Lismore by Pope John Paul II and was consecrated by his predecessor, Bishop Michael Russell, on 25 July 1993, here in this Cathedral of the Most Holy Trinity.  He did not find the burden of office easy.  He suffered a lot especially in his compassionate dealing with victims of abuse and often cried with them.  He took child safeguarding very seriously.  A good listener, he was respected by priests and people alike but as everyone knows there will always be people with whom we clash and things for him could be very difficult at times.  He cared greatly for the Diocese and did his best, I believe, in caring for the priests and people for over 20 years.  He loved the pilgrimage to Lourdes and we commend his work with CMAC, which later became Accord Catholic Marriage Care Service, and all his efforts at pastoral renewal across the Diocese.  He retired on 1 October 2013 on health grounds.”

The full texts of both homilies are available on catholicbishops.ie



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