On behalf of the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference I wish to express best wishes to Bishop Anthony Farquhar whose resignation as Auxiliary Bishop of Down & Connor was accepted by Pope Francis today.
I know from first-hand knowledge that Bishop Farquhar is held in great affection by people throughout the country. He has touched many lives since his priestly ordination in 1965, and episcopal ordination in 1983, as a teacher, lecturer, chaplain and in the area of inter-Church and inter-faith relations.
At Bishop Conference meetings we shall miss Bishop Tony’s intelligent and informed contributions. A profoundly spiritual pastor, he has an innate understanding of the human condition, and his God-given gifts of warmth, wisdom and empathy leave a lasting impression on all with whom he comes in contact.
Amongst his many contributions to the Bishops’ Conference, and to the wider Irish society, I wish to acknowledge in particular Bishop Tony’s immense role in furthering ecumenism on the island. His engagement and work with our fellow Christian denominations, especially during the Troubles, was of enormous support to sustaining the nascent peace process. I know that the leaders of the other Christian traditions greatly esteem his work for unity.
Bishop Tony has also invested a large amount of his ministry in supporting Catholic education at primary, secondary and at tertiary level, drawing from his experience as a university lecturer and chaplain.
Bishop Tony’s loss to the Bishops’ Conference is the gain of Irish sport as he will have more time now in his roles as president of Queens University Association Football Club and as patron of the Irish Universities Football Union, not to mention his beloved Dundee United!
At this time I assure Bishop Tony of my prayerful support and wish him the best of health, a long retirement and God’s blessing now and always.
- Archbishop Eamon Martin is Archbishop of Armagh, Primate of All Ireland and President of the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference
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