Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Tributes Paid to Bishop Thomas Finnegan

Tributes have been paid to the retired Bishop of Killalla Bishop Thomas Finnegan who passed away this week.  

A native of Castlerea in County Roscommon Bishop Finnegan died on Christmas day aged 86 years.

Bishop Finnegan was ordained a priest on June 17 1951 and during his time in the priesthood held a number of positions.  

After nearly 30 years as a curate and later as President of Summerhill College in Sligo, he became parish priest of Roscommon in 1982.  

In 1985, he took up the post of Vicar General of Elphin Diocese. 

On May 3 1987, he was appointed Bishop of Killalla and was ordained a Bishop on July 12 1987 succeeding Bishop Thomas McDonnell.  

Killalla may be the country's smallest diocese in terms of population, but its geography is vast. 

The diocese has a Catholic population of 38,000 in 22 parishes and includes portions of county Mayo and Sligo.

During his priesthood he was constantly concerned with social issues particularly the high level of unemployment in the West of Ireland.  

Having served as a founding member of the Council for the West, he became the first chairperson of the Meitheal Mhaigheo, the Mayo Area Partnership established in 1991 by the government to tackle long-term unemployment. 

He was also a founder member of the IRD company, Moy Valley Resources. 

After the publication of the National Development Plan in 1991, Dr Finnegan involved the parish councils of the diocese in an ongoing audit of their parishes, resulting in two publications, Killala Diocese: Crusade for Survival 2000 and 2001.

Bishop Finnegan stepped down as Bishop of Killalla in 2002 and was succeeded by Bishop John Fleming.  

In 2002 after his retirement, Bishop Finnegan founded the Newman Institute that offers courses in counselling and spirituality.  

Earlier this year he celebrated the Diamond Jubilee of his ordination.

Bishop Finnegan's funeral will arrive at Saint Muredach's Cathedral in Ballina on Tuesday December 27 at 4:00pm.  His remains will repose there until 8:00pm. 

His Requiem Mass will take place on Wednesday December 28 at noon followed by burial in the Cathedral grounds.