Sunday, May 12, 2024

Tributes paid to retired bishop on episcopal ordination anniversary

Tributes have been paid to Emeritus Bishop John Buckley, who says he wants no fuss as he marks the 40th anniversary of his episcopal ordination this week.

The Bishop of Cork and Ross, Bishop Fintan Gavin, said since his retirement in 2019, his predecessor has continued and expanded his pastoral work, and is still a great presence in the diocese.

“I’m grateful to Bishop John for all his kindness and support to me since I came to Cork,  and I congratulate him on his 40 years of episcopal ministry. I wish him many more years of health and happiness,” Bishop Gavin said.

Bishop Buckley, 84, was born in Inchigeela, West Cork, and studied for the priesthood at St Patrick’s College, Maynooth, before being ordained a priest in 1965.

Low-key and a sportsman, he taught on the staff of St Finbarr’s College, Farranferris, until he became its president in 1975. He was parish priest of Turner’s Cross parish for a year,  before he was ordained Titular Bishop of Leptis Magna and Auxiliary Bishop of Cork and Ross in 1984.

He became the diocesan administrator following the death of Bishop Michael Murphy in October 1996, and the Holy See announced his appointment as Bishop of Cork and Ross in December 1997.

He was installed as bishop at the city’s Cathedral of St Mary and St Anne on February 8, 1998, and went on to minister to the diocese for another two decades.

On November 2, 2014, he reached the age at which serving diocesan bishops are required by Church law to submit their resignation to the Pope.

However, it was five years before Pope Francis accepted his resignation — on April 8, 2019 — at which point Bishop Fintan Gavin was announced to be his successor.

On Monday, Bishop Buckley reached the 40th anniversary of his ordination as auxiliary bishop, prompting the special tribute from Bishop Gavin.

It is understood the diocese plans to mark the milestone in a few weeks, but with a low-key event in keeping with Bishop Buckley's wishes.

Since his retirement in 2019, Bishop Buckley has continued his pastoral work across the diocese, including hospital visitations and regular attendance at removals and funerals.

He has also continued to serve the diocese by conferring Confirmation on some of the young people of the parishes, most recently in Clonakilty this week.