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Bishop Ray Field retires

By Susan Gately - 28 June, 2019

Bishop Ray Field at ceremony for World Day of the Sick

The  President of the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference has expressed his gratitude to Bishop Raymond Field, who retired yesterday as Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Dublin.

In a statement, Archbishop Eamon Martin thanked Bishop Field for his “contribution to the life of the Church and to the work of the Bishops’ Conference since his ordination as a bishop in 1997”.

All day yesterday, warm wishes from former parishioners and colleagues of Bishop Ray Field flowed into Archbishop’s House, Dublin, following the announcement through the Holy See Press Office that Pope Francis had accepted his resignation. The Auxiliary Bishop of Dublin had offered to resign on his 75th birthday, 24 May 2019, in accordance with Canon Law.

Archbishop Diarmuid Martin thanked Bishop Field for “his dedicated service within the diocese”, wishing him every blessing for the years to come.

A  native of Drumcondra in Dublin, Bishop Field attended O’Connell Schools and Holy Cross College, Clonliffe. He was ordained a priest in 1970.

He ministered in Prison Chaplaincy, in Accord Marriage Care and later in the Defence Forces, becoming Head Chaplain to the Defence Forces in 1991.

A former barrister who had been called to the Irish and English bars, he was also a member of the first successful Irish expedition to Mount Everest in 1993 with Dawson Stelfox.

In 1997 he was appointed as an Auxiliary Bishop of Dublin. In that position, “Bishop Field gave tireless leadership in the Pastoral Area assigned to him in the Archdiocese of Dublin, mainly in the rapidly developing area of North County Dublin,” said Archbishop Martin.

Since 2002, Bishop Field was Diocesan Healthcare Representative, leading the preparations for the Diocesan World Day of the Sick celebrations.

Paying tribute to Bishop Field, Archbishop Eamon Martin spoke of his “commitment to social justice”, which was evident “in his service as chair of the Bishops’ Council for Justice and Peace and as chair of the Council for Immigrants. These, along with his contributions on the Episcopal Commission for Pastoral Care, and on the Council for Healthcare, have demonstrated his instinctive pastoral outreach and his commitment to extending the care of Jesus Christ to those most in need of it.

“I thank him for his generous participation in the work of the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference over these twenty-two years,” he added, and “I pray God’s blessings on Bishop Field and wish him good health and happiness in retirement and in this new phase of his ministry.”

According to a spokesperson for the Archdiocese of Dublin, many retired priests go on to help out in parishes and say Masses, but there is no defined retirement role for Bishop Field. Bishop Field will continue to live in his home in Blanchardstown. “I imagine I will be as busy as ever!” he told CatholicIreland.net.

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