Friday, December 29, 2023

Archbishop Eamon Martin pays tribute to the late Bishop Patrick Walsh RIP

Statement by Archbishop Eamon Martin

I was sad to learn last evening of the death of Bishop Patrick Walsh after a lifetime of dedicated service as a priest and bishop of the Diocese of Down and Connor.

Although Bishop Walsh had retired before I came to serve as Executive Secretary of the Bishops’ Conference in the autumn of 2008, he was clearly held in respect and esteem by his former episcopal colleagues, and was often spoken of as a prodigious worker with a keen intellect, matched with an acute ability to quickly grasp complex detail.  

Even after retirement, Bishop Walsh continued to show great interest in educational developments in the North, as well as in the ongoing Peace Process.  

Bishop Walsh was a committed peacemaker.  

He was deeply passionate about Catholic education and convinced about the positive contribution which faith-based education can bring to building a cohesive society underpinning the common good.  

As a member of the Bishops’ Conference for twenty-five years, Bishop Walsh served on the Council for Justice and Peace, and held the role as chair of the Commission for Planning, Communications & Resources.  

He also served as a Trustee of Trócaire, a member of the Bishops’ Finance and General Purposes Committee, and as chair of the Commission for Clergy, Seminaries & Vocations.  

As a member of the Bishops’ Committee for Bioethics, he represented Irish bishops on the Joint Bio-ethics Committee of the Episcopal Conferences of England and Wales, Scotland, and of Ireland.

Every Christmas I was humbled to receive a note of encouragement and a promise of prayer from Bishop Walsh.  

Despite his own frailty and declining health, just a few weeks ago he thoughtfully sent a message of greeting and prayerful good wishes. 

On behalf of the Bishops’ Conference, I wish to express my condolences to Bishop Walsh’s brother and wide family circle, to Bishop Donal McKeown and to the priests, religious and faithful of the diocese of Down and Connor, and to all who knew and loved him.

Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dilís.