June 9, 2023

Bishop Forristal: ‘A life of faith and courage’

BISHOP Dermot Farrell led tributes to his predecessor, the Emeritas Bishop of Ossary Laurence Forristal, who died peacefully following a long illness earlier this month. Bishop Forristal passed away on October 10 at St Luke’s Hospital. He is survived by his sisters Kathleen, Nan and Mary, brother-in-law Eamon, sisters-in-law Maureen and Geraldine, nephews, nieces and extended family. At his funeral in his native Thomastown on Saturday, October 13, Bishop Farrell described Bishop Forristal as a proud Kilkenny man who spent his earlier years working in various parishes and appointments in Dublin. In 1981 he was appointed Bishop of Ossary, an occasion according to Bishop Farrell that was “merely a homecoming for him” as a “Thomastown native and a Kilkenny man to the core”.

Bishop Farrell added: “He offered a life of faith, courage and conviction that God is everything. Bishop Farrell said Bishop Forristal had “an abiding interest in people”, adding: “He spent time with them and enjoyed the company of a very wide circle of friends. He was a great raconteur with a great wit and sense of humour. His memory for parochial and sporting details was the stuff of legend. “He was immersed in Kilkenny hurling: he could recall every match, who played where and who scored.” Bishop Forristal was very proud of his home parish of Thomastown, where he was born on June 5, 1931.

He attended primary school in the Mercy Convent School and the Boys’ National School in Thomastown, and secondary school at Mount Saint Joseph College, Roscrea. 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 3 December 1979 and received Episcopal Ordination on January 20, 1980.

The following year, he was appointed Bishop of Ossory and was installed on September 13, 1981 in Saint Mary’s Cathedral, Kilkenny.

Bishop Farrell said:

“Throughout his 63 years as priest and bishop, he worked tirelessly in the service of the people of God,”

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