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Tributes paid to the late Bishop Laurence Forristal of Ossory

By Sarah Mac Donald - 12 October, 2018

Bishop Dermot Farrell, Bishop Laurence Forristal and Bishop Seamus Freeman of Ossory

The funeral Mass for Bishop Laurence Forristal will take place at St Mary’s Cathedral in Kilkenny on Saturday following removal to the church late this afternoon.

The 87-year-old Bishop Emeritus of Ossory died on Wednesday at St Luke’s Hospital in Kilkenny.

Bishop Dermot Farrell of Ossory will be chief celebrant at the Requiem Mass on Saturday at 12 noon. Burial in the cathedral grounds will follow straight after Mass.

Responding to news of the death of Bishop Forristal, Archbishop Eamon Martin, president of the Irish Bishops’ Conference, who is attending the Synod on youth, faith and vocation discernment in Rome, said he was “saddened” to learn of Bishop Forristal’s death.

“I wish to acknowledge the great contribution made by Bishop Forristal as a member of the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference over his 26 years of service as Bishop of Ossory.”

Dr Martin noted the retired Bishop’s role as chairman of the Commission for Clergy, Seminaries and the Permanent Diaconate and for his work in child safeguarding, which included the 1996 Child Sexual Abuse: Framework for a Church Response.

“Though I did not serve on the Bishops’ Conference at the same time as Bishop Forristal, he was well known as a humorous, gentle and wise pastor and as a caring and generous man. He possessed a love of humanity and for creation as well as a prodigious work rate,” Archbishop Martin said.

A native of Jerpoint, Thomastown, Co. Kilkenny, Dr Forristal was born in June 1931 and was educated at the Mercy Convent School and the Boys’ National School in Thomastown, and secondary school at Mount Saint Joseph College, Roscrea.

He studied for the priesthood at Clonliffe College, Dublin, and studied philosophy at University College, Dublin. He pursued further studies at the Propaganda Fide College in Rome and was ordained there as a priest for the Archdiocese of Dublin on 21 December 1955.

The late Bishop was appointed an auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Dublin in 1980 and was subsequently installed as Bishop of Ossory in 1981. He led the diocese for 26 years, resigning on age grounds in 2007.

The diocese of Ossory covers Kilkenny and parts of counties Laois and Offaly.

In his statement, the Bishop of Ossory, Dr Dermot Farrell said, “Throughout his 63 years as priest and bishop, he worked tirelessly in the service of the people of God, in this diocese and further afield.”

He recalled that in December 2015 Bishop Forristal celebrated 60 years of dedicated service as a priest.

“I ask the priests, religious and the faithful of the Diocese of Ossory and all those who knew Bishop Forristal to join with me in praying for the repose of the soul of this wise shepherd and faithful Son of the Church.”

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