As President of the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference, I extend my very best wishes and blessings to Father Fintan Gavin who has been appointed today by Pope Francis as the next Bishop of Cork & Ross. In recent years I have come to know Bishop-elect Fintan as a gentle, friendly pastor, and a hardworking priest and canon lawyer. I look forward to working closely with him at national level.
I also express my gratitude and admiration today for the immense contribution of Bishop John Buckley to the work of the Bishops’ Conference since his ordination as a bishop almost thirty five years ago – he has been the longest serving current member of the Conference and has earned great respect from me and from the other bishops.
As a relative newcomer to the Bishops’ Conference, I have personally valued Bishop Buckley’s carefully chosen and incisive contributions to our discussions – which drew from a depth of pastoral wisdom and intuition. Bishop Buckley’s work at Conference level was rooted in his years of experience in hospital chaplaincy, education and parish ministry. At the Conference he invariably offered to speak about vocations to the priesthood, on healthcare issues, and in support of the national chaplaincy for deaf people. Bishop Buckley showed a particular interest in outreach to survivors of abuse, to migrants and to those on the margins of society.
Bishop-emeritus John’s personal commitment to visiting the sick, the housebound and those in hospital is well known and is typical of his selfless dedication as a pastor close to his people. At local and national level Bishop Buckley has remained a fearless advocate for the right to life of unborn children.
As with his people in Cork and Ross, Bishop-emeritus John will continue to be held in esteem and affection by his brother bishops. I pray God’s blessing on him for a long, healthy and well-deserved retirement.
- Archbishop Eamon Martin is Archbishop of Armagh, Primate of All Ireland and President of the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference.
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