Saturday, August 20, 2022

Former Bishop of Ossory, Séamus Freeman S.A.C, has passed away

 Lay involvement is essential - bishop - Clerical Whispers

The death has taken place of former Bishop of Ossory, Séamus Freeman S.A.C. (1944-2022).

Séamus Freeman, S.A.C. (born 23 February 1944) was the Roman Catholic Bishop of the Diocese of Ossory who was appointed by Pope Benedict XVI on 14 September 2007. He later resigned as bishop on July 29, 2016.

Freeman was the eldest of eight children. His family moved to Callan, County Kilkenny where he attended school.

After his education he entered the Pallottines in Thurles, County Tipperary, he studied Theology at St. Patrick's College, Thurles, and Philosophy at University College Dublin.

In 1981 he was appointed as rector and director of formation of the Pallottines in Thurles.

He remained in Thurles until 1989 when he was appointed as the Vicar General of the Society, becoming its Rector General in 1992, in this capacity he served two six-year terms.

In October 2004 he was appointed parish priest in Rome.

In December 2005 he was elected President of the General Coordination Council of the Union of Catholic Apostolate.

He was ordained to the episcopate and installed on 2 December 2007. The Principal Consecrator was the Metropolitan Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, while the principal Co-Consecrators were Archbishop Giuseppe Lazzarotto, Apostolic Nuncio and Bishop Laurence Forristal the Bishop Emeritus of Ossory.

Bishop Freeman was well-known and admired in Kilkenny and his warmth and ability to connect with people as well as his easy-going nature defined him.

Among those reacting to the news of his death was Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin, Denis Nulty.

He issued the following statement: "Just after lunch today (Saturday, 20 August 2022) I received the call informing me that Bishop Séamus Freeman SAC, Bishop Emeritus of the Diocese of Ossory, had died peacefully in the company of his family at Highfield Heathcare, Dublin.

"On hearing the news I thought of the words that Bishop Freeman offered as he retired as Bishop of Ossory on the grounds of ill health in July 2016, when he spoke of the great privilege it had been to have served the people of the Diocese of Ossory. His only regret was that he was unable to stay as shepherd of the Diocese for longer.

"Bishop Freeman served the Church faithfully for many years including in his worldwide leadership of the Pallotine Order, as a parish priest in Rome and here in Ireland as Bishop of Ossory. His deep care for each person he encountered, his interest in the areas of pastoral renewal and faith formation were to the fore throughout his ministry.

"During his time here in Ossory he facilitated the realisation of the Diocesan Pastoral Plan and placed a great emphasis on the role of lay people responding to their baptismal call. He worked tirelessly for the restoration of our beautiful Cathedral Chapter House and surrounding campus. This work, which continues, has served to enhance the faith life of the Diocese and remains as a fitting piece of the legacy that he leaves behind.

"All of us will remember Bishop Freeman as a kind and gentle pastor as we hold his family, friends and his Pallotine brothers and the priests of Ossory in our prayers in the days to come."

The Pallotines have also released a statement. It reads: "Dear Brothers and Sisters of the Pallottine Family, Greetings. We have yet another sad news.

"P. Liam MacClarey SAC, Provincial of the Mother of Divine Love Province informed that Mons. Seamus Freeman SAC died this afternoon at 13.25 in Dublin, Ireland.

"His health was deteriorating recently and he passed away today.

"We are all aware of his contributions to the Society, to the UAC and the Church. We remain eternally grateful to Mons. Freeman, one of the best known Pallottines in our history. The Union of Catholic Apostolate owes so much to Mons. Sèamus Freeman, for all his works in getting approval and as the first President.

"On behalf of the entire Pallottine Family, I express our condolences to P. Liam and all the members of the Irish Province. We pray for the repose of his soul.

"May the Lord grant him eternal peace."

Funeral details have yet to be announced. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dílis.