Together with Cardinal Séan Brady, my fellow bishops and the people, clergy and religious of the Archdiocese of Armagh I am deeply saddened to hear of the death today in Dublin, of my dear episcopal colleague and friend Bishop Gerard Clifford.
We have always held Bishop
Gerry in great affection and esteem. He was a devoted and generous
priest and bishop who reluctantly had to resign from active ministry in
2013 due to ill health.
Sadly, since then, he has had to endure
increasing frailty and illness and he has done so with characteristic
courage, patience and faith. When he retired, Bishop Gerry acknowledged
and thanked the people of the diocese for “their great warmth and
These were precisely the qualities that everyone received
from this good and faithful priest and bishop.
was a holy and humble man who instinctively placed the concerns of
others first, as befits a true messenger of the Gospel.
the border parish of his beloved Lordship and Ballymascanlon, Bishop
Gerry was a tireless peacemaker and bridge-builder. He was one of the
great figures of the ecumenical movement in Ireland - a role he
accomplished through gentle friendship and witness. His episcopal motto
in 1991 was “That all may be one”, from Christ’s prayer at the Last
Bishop Gerry said at the time that “the unity implied is a firm
‘yes’ to the way of love and a firm ‘no’ to the way of hatred”. He
placed great store in the innate decency of people and he used every
opportunity to heal the wounds created by violence, distrust and fear.
Bishop Clifford served with distinction as a member of the Irish
Catholic Bishops’ Conference for more than twenty years, having
previously served as its Executive Secretary. His episcopal ministry
involved working in ecumenism, education and, as President of Cura, in
the pastoral care area of crisis pregnancy.
In my visits to
Bishop Gerry in recent weeks and months he seemed at peace. As he was a
man of deep faith I ask you to join with me in prayer for the repose of
May he rest forever in the peace of The Lord whom he
generously and faithfully served.
May God console his sister Rose,
brother Christopher, his extended family, the people, priests and
religious of the Archdiocese of Armagh along with his many friends.
Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dilís.