Archbishop Eamon Martin has issued the following statement on the death today of the late Bishop Christopher Jones, Bishop Emeritus of the Diocese of Elphin:
“I was very saddened to hear of the death of Bishop Christy Jones. Fifty-six years of priesthood, and twenty-four years as a bishop sums up a life of commitment, fidelity, service and love for the people, religious and priests of his home Diocese of Elphin. I shall never forget the warmth of his welcome to me upon my own ordination as a bishop five years ago; the encouragement and support he gave me is typical of this generous and devout servant of God.
“I wish to sincerely acknowledge Bishop Jones’ contribution as a member of the Bishops’ Conference, particularly in his nine years as chair of the Episcopal Commission and Department for Pastoral Care. Bishop Jones also served for many years as chair of the Bishops’ Committee for Family Welfare and Children and was instrumental in the foundation of the Bishops’ Council for Marriage and the Family, on which he served as its first chairman. From 2010 to 2014 Bishop Jones also served as President of Accord, Catholic Marriage Care Service.
“Bishop Christy was a man for others, and was very committed throughout his lifetime to person-centred social services. Throughout his ministry, Bishop Christy also showed a great affinity and pastoral dedication to the Travelling community, and the mutual warmth between both was very evident during the 50th International Eucharistic Congress held in Dublin in 2012.
“The opening of the ‘Bishop Christopher Jones Learning Centre’ in 2016 for students with autism at the College of the Immaculate Conception in Sligo brought particular joy to Bishop Jones, who held a deep connection to the school as a former student, staff member and patron.
“Bishop Christy was a much loved pastor, kind and caring. He had strong principles and was courageous in speaking his mind on many issues of the day. On my last visit to him on Easter Monday, he was calm and at peace, conscious that he would soon be returning to God who called him to service all those years ago.
“At this sad time for Bishop Jones’ family, friends and brother clergy, I invite you all to pray for the happy repose of his soul. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dilis.”
- Archbishop Eamon Martin is Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland