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Tributes paid to the late Bishop Fiachra Ó Ceallaigh

By Sarah Mac Donald - 31 July, 2018

Tributes have been paid to the late Bishop Fiachra Ó Ceallaigh’s solidarity with asylum seekers and refugees and his promotion of Irish language in the liturgy.

On Monday, the Primate of All Ireland and the Primate of Ireland, Archbishop Eamon Martin and Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, issued statements in response to the news that the 84-year-old retired auxiliary Bishop of Dublin had died on Sunday after a long illness.

Bishop Ó Ceallaigh OFM served under Cardinal Desmond Connell and Archbishop Martin between 1994 and his retirement in 2009.

Bishop Ó Ceallaigh was born in 1935 in Ennis, Co. Clare. He joined the Franciscan Order in 1953, entering the novitiate in Killarney, and was ordained a priest in Rome in 1961.

He served in various ministries in education and counselling and held many roles within the Order before being elected Provincial in 1987.

He was the first Franciscan to serve as a bishop in Ireland for over 170 years.

In his tribute, Archbishop Diarmuid Martin said Bishop Ó Ceallaigh was “an outstanding witness to the motto he took on his Episcopal appointment Dia Ár Misneach (God is our courage), particularly so as he struggled with illness for the last several years since his retirement”.

Dr Martin said he brought the insights of the religious to the diocesan mission and had helped deepen the relationship between the religious and the diocese. His years of dedicated service and unique charism had “enriched our work,” he said.

In his tribute, Archbishop Eamon Martin highlighted the late Bishop’s interest in the Apostleship of the Sea and in the plight of asylum seekers and refugees as well as his promotion of Irish language in the liturgy.

“I am saddened to learn of the death of Bishop Fiachra Ó Ceallaigh,” the Archbishop of Armagh said.

He continued, “I have always heard him spoken of as a kind and deeply devout pastor who faithfully served the people of Dublin as auxiliary bishop for fifteen years. As a priest and former Provincial of the Franciscan Order in Ireland, he made a distinctive contribution to the Episcopal Conference.”

Dr Martin said Bishop Ó Ceallaigh was a valued member of the Bishops’ Commission for Religious and also served as a member of the Commission for Worship, Pastoral Renewal & Faith Development.

“Bishop Ó Ceallaigh was a warm and caring man, who despite ongoing illness, was well known for his dedication, wisdom and generosity of spirit. On behalf of the Bishops’ Conference I express my prayerful sympathies to his family, to members of the Franciscan family and to the clergy and faithful of the Archdiocese of Dublin. May his gentle soul rest forever in the peace of the Lord whom he generously and faithfully served.”

Bishop Ó Ceallaigh’s remains will repose at the Church of the Immaculate Conception, Adam & Eve’s, Merchant’s Quay, Dublin on Wednesday afternoon from 4 p.m.

Reception of Remains, with Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, takes place in Merchants Quay at 7 p.m. on Wednesday.

Requiem Mass (in Irish) will take place on Thursday morning at 10.30 a.m. in St Mary’s Pro Cathedral, Dublin. The principal celebrant will be Fr Liam Ó Cuív.

At 7 p.m. on Thursday, there will be prayers at the Franciscan Friary, Ennis, Co. Clare followed by Requiem Mass at 11.30 a.m. on Friday morning in the friary. Burial afterwards is in Lisseycasey, Co. Clare.

“Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam.”

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