14th September 2007
Fr Séamus Freeman appointed Bishop-elect of the Diocese of Ossory
The Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, has accepted the resignation of the Bishop of Ossory, Bishop Laurence Forristal, who has reached the age limit in accordance with Canon Law. Pope Benedict has appointed Fr Séamus Freeman as Bishop-elect of the diocese. The date of Bishop-elect Freeman’s ordination will be announced shortly.
Fr Séamus Freeman was born on 23rd February 1944, the eldest of eight children, in the parish of Mullinahone, Co Tipperary, in the Archdiocese of Cashel and Emly. His family later moved to Callan, Co Kilkenny, where he attended school.
He entered the Society of Catholic Apostolate (Pallotines) in Thurles, Co Tipperary and made his first Pallotine consecration in 1965. He studied philosophy at the National University of Ireland, University College Dublin, and theology at St Patrick’s College, Thurles. He was ordained a priest on 12th June 1971.
Subsequent to his ordination, Fr Freeman was sent to the Catholic University of Washington to pursue studies in psychology but was called to Rome not long afterwards to act as personal secretary to the Rector General of his society. Two years later he returned to Washington to complete his studies and was awarded a degree in psychology.
In 1975 he was appointed Director of Formation and Rector of the Church of Saint Sylvester in Rome. During his rectorship, in May 1975, he was also elected a member of the Provincial Council of the Irish Province of the Society. In 1981 he returned to Ireland to take up the post of Rector and Director of Formation at the Pallotine College in Thurles
While participating as delegate in the General Assembly of his Society in 1983, Fr Freeman was elected to the General Council of the Pallottines in Rome for a term of six years. In 1989 he was appointed Vicar General of the Society. Barely three years later, in 1992, Fr Martin Juritsch, the then Rector General of the Society fell gravely ill and Fr Freeman was elected to succeed him at an Extraordinary General Assembly. He was re-elected for a second six year term in 1998.
In 1994 Fr Freeman took part as an ‘auditor’ in the 1994 Synod of Bishops, dedicated to the theme of the religious life. During his term as Rector General, on 28th October 2003, the Pallottine Family, known as “Union of the Catholic Apostolate”, was declared a ‘Public and International Association of the Faithful’ by the Pontifical Council for the Laity. At an international Assembly of the Union held in Rome in December 2005, Fr Freeman was unanimously re-elected President of their General Co-ordination Council for a term of three years.
At the conclusion of his second term as Rector General of the Society of the Catholic Apostolate, Fr Freeman spent a year with the Irish Pallottine community at Saint Sylvester’s in Rome after which, on 7th October 2004, he was appointed Parish Priest of the Church of St Vincent Pallotti at Pietralata in Rome.
Martin Long Director of Communications (086 172 7678)
Kathy Tynan Communications Officer (086 817 5674)
Notes for Editors
- The Pallottines are an international society of priests and brothers working in 44 countries actively promoting the pastoral ministry of the Church. There are over the 2366 priests and brothers (figure for 2005) in the Society, and the Society is divided in to 22 Provinces and Regions throughout the world.
- The Pallottine houses in Ireland and Britain are united in the Irish Province, as are the houses of Kenya, Tanzania, Rome, Argentina and the USA. The Irish Province, of which Bishop-elect Freeman is a member, is historically involved in overseas missionary work. Pallottine priests are working in Tanzania, Kenya and Argentina.
- In Ireland the Pallottines have two parishes: in Corduff in Blanchardstown and in Shankill, both administered on behalf of the Archdiocese of Dublin.
- Bishop Laurence Forristal, DD, was born on 5 June, 1931, and ordained a priest on 21 December, 1955. In January 1980, he was ordained Auxiliary Bishop of Dublin and installed as Bishop of Ossory on 13 September 1981. Bishop Forristal has been Chairman of the Irish Bishops’ Conference Commission for Clergy, Seminaries and the Permanent Diaconate.
- The Diocese of Ossory has a Catholic population of 78,273 in 42 parishes with 89 churches. The Patron of the diocese is St Kieran.