Pope Francis accepts the resignation of Bishop MacDaid due to ill health

01 Oct 2016

liam-mcdaidThe Holy Father Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Bishop Liam MacDaid, Bishop of Clogher, due to ill health. The announcement was made today, Saturday 1 October 2016.

A statement released this morning by the Diocese of Clogher said, “Some months ago Bishop Liam MacDaid, on medical advice, wrote to Pope Francis requesting him to accept his early retirement as Bishop of Clogher due to ill-health, in accordance with Canon 401 § 2 of the Code of Canon Law.  It is announced this morning (at noon, Rome time) that Pope Francis has accepted Bishop MacDaid’s request and that, accordingly, his retirement takes effect immediately.

“Bishop Liam has always been very keen to communicate with the people of the diocese, whether through visits to parishes or through pastoral letters.  He is keen to ensure that the People of God throughout Clogher diocese should hear from him the background to his retirement, including some of the medical advice he has received, together with his reflections on diocesan life and that of the wider Church at this time.  With this in mind, he has written a pastoral letter to the priests and people of the diocese which will be read at all Masses this weekend.

“Bishop Liam was appointed Bishop of Clogher by Pope Benedict XVI on 6 May 2010, in succession to Bishop Joseph Duffy who is now bishop-emeritus.  Bishop Liam was subsequently ordained on 25 July 2010 in Saint Macartan’s Cathedral in Monaghan.

“As for the future, the governance of the diocese is now assumed by the College of Consultors (in this case the Diocesan Chapter) which will meet in the coming days to elect a Diocesan Administrator.  The Diocesan Administrator will then lead the diocese, with limited powers, until a new bishop is appointed by the Holy Father Pope Francis.”

Paying tribute to Bishop MacDaid, Archbishop Eamon Martin, the Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland, said, “I wish to express my deep gratitude to Bishop Liam MacDaid whose resignation as Bishop of Clogher was accepted by Pope Francis today on grounds of ill health.  Bishop MacDaid has been a valued member of the Episcopal Conference since his ordination as Bishop of Clogher in 2010.  His gentle pastoral wisdom, his warm concern for others and his genuine dedication to furthering the mission of the Church was evident in his fidelity to the work of the Conference.

“In particular, I salute Bishop Liam’s generous contribution to ACCORD Catholic Marriage Care, his work with the Council for Marriage and the Family of the Episcopal Conference, and his commitment to the religious publisher Veritas.

“Conscious of the horrific extent of injury and loss of human life on our roads, Bishop Liam has been a compassionate and tireless advocate for greater road safety awareness across the island, and in particular amongst young people.

“One of the highlights of Bishop Liam’s episcopal ministry was his hosting in June 2012 of the Papal Legate, Cardinal Marc Ouellet, on the pilgrimage island of Lough Derg as part of the 50th International Eucharistic Congress in Ireland.  It was a profoundly moving experience for all involved.

“I look forward to our continued friendship in the years ahead and I pray God’s blessing on Bishop Liam, assuring him of our prayerful good wishes for his health at this time and in the future.”

Also paying tribute, Bishop Noel Treanor, Bishop of Down and Connor, said, “I have had the great pleasure and honour of working alongside Bishop Liam both as a member of the Irish Episcopal Conference and as a close personal friend over many years.

“Since his priestly ordination in 1969, and his episcopal ordination in 2010, Bishop Liam has ministered to the priests, religious and lay people of the Diocese of Clogher with a faith-filled spirituality, a compassionate pastoral sensitivity and a self-effacing humanity that has endeared him to those within his diocese and beyond.

“Above all, he has served and supported his priests and all those entrusted to his care with a remarkable capacity for empathy and with a Christian heart.

“I have no doubt that Bishop Liam can count on the continued prayers and support of his brother bishops along with the priests, religious and the people of Clogher in his years of retirement.

“I wish Bishop Liam every happiness in his retirement and look forward to our continued friendship in the years ahead.”

Bishop Liam MacDaid is a native of Bundoran, Co Donegal, on the north-western extreme of the diocese.  He was born there on 19 July 1945.  Having completed his studies at Saint Macartan’s College, Monaghan, and at Saint Patrick’s College, Maynooth, he was ordained to the priesthood by the then Archbishop of Dublin, Dr John Charles McQuaid on 15 June 1969.  He joined the teaching staff of Saint Macartan’s College in 1970 and was President of the college from 1981 until 1989.  From 1990 until 1993 he served in the parish of Aghavea & Aghintaine (Fivemiletown and Brookeboro) in counties Tyrone and Fermanagh before being appointed diocesan secretary and chancellor of the diocese.  He was at the same time administrator of the parish of Tyholland in County Monaghan.  He was appointed Bishop of Clogher in May 2010.  Bishop MacDaid is a lifelong member of the GAA and played with the now former Saint Joseph’s club (Bundoran and Ballyshannon) with which he won several Donegal Senior Football Championship titles and an All-Ireland club title (then an unofficial competition) in 1968.  He also won an Ulster Under 21 Championship medal with Donegal in 1966.

Principal features of Bishop MacDaid’s term as Bishop of Clogher:

Collaborative style of ministry. A bishop is called to be a pastor of the local Church (diocese).  Bishop MacDaid has led the diocese in a spirit of collaboration with priests and laity.  This has involved both consultation and listening.  It has seen the establishment of support groups involving priests and laity, including a Pastoral Support Group and a new Diocesan Liturgy Commission. Clogher’s contribution to the recent Synod on the Family is another example of his collaborative and pastoral approach – one of walking together with people to discern God’s will for the Church.

Clogher don Óige – The ongoing success of the diocesan youth ministry and particularly its central part in the recent reflective commemoration 1916-2016.  This was his personal initiative and another milestone of his years of leadership.

Safeguarding – Bishop MacDaid continued to oversee and support the development and implementation of Safeguarding policies and structures in the diocese, initiated by his predecessor.  These were reviewed in depth by the National Board for the Safeguarding of Children in the Catholic Church in Ireland (NBSCCCI) in 2011.  The subsequent NBSCCCI Report was particularly complimentary of the leadership given by Bishop MacDaid in this area.  He has since overseen the implementation of the Report’s recommendations as well as the development of Adult Safeguarding policies and procedures.

Ecumenism – Bishop MacDaid has built on the legacy of his predecessor, working proactively and positively with the Church of Ireland bishop of the diocese, Right Rev John McDowell, his predecessor Archbishop Michael Jackson and leaders of other Churches and Christian communities.

The episcopal motto of Bishop MacDaid is Per Christum Dominum Nostram (Through Christ our Lord).  It points to the source and summit of his ministry as priest and bishop.  It also calls to mind that bishops are the successors of the apostles and that they ‘are intimately united to Jesus Christ, who continues to choose and to send out his Apostles’ so as to be the sign of unity of the local Church (diocese) and its communion (unity) with the universal (catholic) church.