TRIBUTES have been paid to the ‘Bowling Bishop’ Bishop of Cork & Ross Dr John Buckley, who has announced his retirement.
His successor, 53-year-old Dublin-born Father Fintan Gavin, is set to take over the role in the coming months.
Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin was among those extending his best wishes to Bishop John Buckley on his retirement.
‘Bishop Buckley has given a lifetime of service to the people of Cork and Ross and will be sadly missed. He was a proud pastoral leader rooted in the community, and was hugely generous with his time and counsel,’ said Mr Martin.
‘He was an extremely compassionate man and advocate for people who had become disenfranchised, working closely with those on the margins. He also had a great love of Cork and was a regular at all codes of sport.’
He also welcomed Father Fintan Gavin to the Diocese and congratulated him on his appointment as Bishop of Cork & Ross.
Archbishop Kieran O’Reilly also paid tribute to Bishop Buckley, who served in all over 35 years, first as an Auxiliary Bishop between 1984 and 1997 and from then, to the present day, as Bishop of the diocese.
‘I would like to pay tribute to the ministry that he has exercised in the diocese over this time but especially his ministry to the sick through visitation of hospitals and to Bishop John’s presence at moments of bereavement in many families,’ said Archbishop O’Reilly.
He also welcomed the appointment of Bishop-elect Father Fintan Gavin and said he will bring a ‘wealth of pastoral and administrative experience’ to his important role from his work in his native Archdiocese of Dublin.
‘I personally look forward to working with Bishop-elect Fintan and, on behalf of the bishops of the province, I wish him a very warm welcome and assure him of our support and prayers.’
Bishop Buckley said he is certain that the people of Cork will give Bishop-elect Gavin the traditional ‘Céad Míle Fáilte.’
‘It is a great honour for a Dublin man to be promoted to the real capital of Cork! We always think down here that there are only two categories of people in Ireland, Cork people and those who wish they were Cork people. You have now obtained your wish, thanks to Pope Francis,’ said Bishop Buckley.