Retired Bishop of Ossory, Laurence Forristal, passes away aged 87

Retired Bishop of Ossory, Laurence Forristal, passes away aged 87

BISHOP Laurence Forristal, the retired Bishop of Ossory, has passed away at the age of 87, it has been announced.

The Ossory diocese in the south-east of Ireland said Bishop Forristal passed away peacefully at St Luke’s Hospital in his native Co. Kilkenny this morning.

Bishop Dermot Farrell, current Bishop of Ossory, said Bishop Forristal touched many people’s lives.

“I offer my personal sympathies and prayers to his sisters, May, Kathleen and Nan, to his nieces and nephews, to all his extended family, to the priests, religious, friends, and to the many people whose lives he touched throughout his almost 63 years of priestly and episcopal ministry,” he said.

“I also express my gratitude and appreciation to all who cared for Bishop Forristal so well during his long illness.

“We ask the Lord to grant him eternal rest.”

'Humorous and gentle'

Eamon Martin, Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland, described Bishop Forristal as a ‘caring and generous’ man.

“I wish to acknowledge the great contribution made by Bishop Forristal as a member of the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference over his 26 years of service as Bishop of Ossory,” said Archbishop Martin.

“In particular I wish to salute his role as chairman of the Commission for Clergy, Seminaries and the Permanent Diaconate and for his notable work in child safeguarding which included the 1996 publication of Child Sexual Abuse: Framework for a Church Response.

“Though I did not serve on the Bishops’ Conference at the same time as Bishop Forristal, he was well known as a humorous, gentle and wise pastor and as a caring and generous man.

“He possessed a love of humanity and for creation as well as a prodigious work rate.”

Rome ordination

Bishop Forristal was born on June 5, 1931 in Thomastown, Co. Kilkenny.

He studied for the priesthood at Clonliffe College, Dublin, and studied philosophy at University College, Dublin.

He pursued further studies at the Propaganda Fide College in Rome and was ordained there as a priest for the Archdiocese of Dublin on December 21, 1955.

He was appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Dublin on December 3, 1979 and received Episcopal Ordination on January 20, 1980.

He was installed as Bishop of Ossory on September 13, 1981 in St Mary’s Cathedral, Kilkenny and served until 2007.