Saturday, November 18, 2023

Statement of Bishop Donal McKeown on the death of Bishop Anthony Farquhar RIP


It was with great sadness that I learned of the death of Bishop Anthony Farquhar last night in Nazareth Care Village, Belfast, where he had been looked after so professionally and attentively over the last few years of his retirement and especially in his ailing health.
Above all, Bishop Tony was a sincere, warm and engaging human being and a man of joyful faith who had a renowned and remarkable capacity to remember all those he had met and an infectious wit and sense of humour that endeared him to others. 

Bishop Tony will long be remembered for this disarming presence, his affectionate smile and his pastoral charity.
Following his priestly Ordination in 1965, Bishop Tony served in the parish of Ardglass, in hospital Chaplaincy and on the teaching staff of the Diocesan College in Garron Tower before being appointed as Chaplain to Ulster University. 

Bishop Tony spoke often of his days as a university chaplain and recalled meeting these students in later years on special occasions. Indeed, his lifelong interest in sport, particularly football as an ardent fan of Dundee Utd., emerged with his involvement during these early days of his ministry in university football.
Bishop Farquhar, appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Down and Connor in 1983 and one of the longest serving Bishops in Ireland, served the Church both locally, celebrating over 70,000 confirmations across the diocese, and globally through his contribution to the field of ecumenism, serving as Co-Chairman of the Dialogue between the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity and the World Alliance of Reformed Churches (WARC). 

Indeed, he enjoyed a wide range of ecumenical friendships, particularly that with the late Reverend Ray Davey who founded the Corrymeela Community.
Together, along with Bishop Emeritus Patrick Walsh, and all the people of Down and Connor – priests, religious women and men and laity, I want to record my debt to him for his insightful wisdom and his priestly example.
I express my heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of Bishop Tony; his sister Anne and extended family members, and to the clergy and people of the Diocese of Down and Connor whom he served so well.
With love, I commend his soul to God’s goodness and mercy. May he rest in peace.
Ar dheis De go raibh a anam dilis -go deimhin ni bheadh a leithead aris ann.
Bishop Donal McKeown
Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Down & Connor