“It was for me a great privilege to have served you; thank you and God bless you, good people of Ossory” – Bishop Freeman
Some time ago I wrote to the Holy Father requesting him to accept my early retirement as Bishop of Ossory due to ill health in accordance with Canon 401 § 2. I am pleased that the Holy Father has accepted my early retirement from 11.00am today, and I thank him for his kindness to me.
Since suffering a stroke in September 2013, I have continued to serve the good people of God, entrusted to my care as bishop, to the best of my ability. It was my hope that I would continue my episcopal service until the retirement age of 75 years. However, due to ill health, for some time now I have found my ministry as bishop to be somewhat of a challenge. Therefore after prayerful reflection and with a sense of sadness, I came to my decision to retire, as I have been very happy and blessed amongst you, the good people, priests and religious of the Diocese of Ossory. However, with God’s help, I am confident that I have made the right decision. As you and I know, with God on our side who can be against us? If God is for us, who is against us (Romans 8:31).
I thank the good Lord for bestowing on me the grace to serve Him, to serve His Church, and to serve you, His people. I must say for me it was a great privilege and a tremendous joy to have served you as your bishop. Throughout my entire life, and in particular when difficult decisions had to be made during my time as bishop, I have always endeavoured to deal with the people of God with a deep sense of dignity and respect, in accordance with the true spirit of the Gospel. It is my hope, and indeed it is my fervent prayer, despite my limitations, that I have served you well.
I thank the many priests of the diocese for their service, for their personal support and for the solidarity they have shown to me during my episcopal service.
I thank the women and men of consecrated life for their apostolic service in our diocese and for their support and kindness in my service as bishop.
I extend my deepest gratitude to the people of Ossory whom I have served for almost nine years. I continue to be overwhelmed, and indeed very much humbled, by the kindness and absolute goodness shown to me by the good people of God during that time and, in particular, the kindness and prayerful good wishes I have received in recent times.
I thank my brother bishops for their support and for their solidarity during my episcopal service.
I thank my work family, the staff at the Diocesan Office and at Blessed Felix House, for their true friendship, for their kindness and for their loyalty to me. It has been such a joyous experience to have shared the journey with you.
And finally, I thank my own family for their support and for their continued presence in my life, particularly over the past number of years.
With the help of God I hope to continue, albeit in a different way, to serve the good Lord and His people to the best of my ability by living and proclaiming His Gospel.
Please be assured of my prayers and I respectfully ask for yours.
Mary, Mother of God, Queen of Apostles, pray for us.
Thank you and God bless you, good people of Ossory.
For media contact: Catholic Communications Office Maynooth: Brenda Drumm 00353 (0) 87 310 4444