Former Lancaster Bishop passes away in Ireland at age of 86

A former Bishop of Lancaster has passed away at the age of 86.

By Gayle Rouncivell
Saturday, 30th January 2021, 7:00 am
Former Bishop of Lancaster Patrick O'Donoghue.
Former Bishop of Lancaster Patrick O'Donoghue.

Patrick O'Donoghue was an Irish Roman Catholic bishop who served as the fifth Bishop of Lancaster, leading the diocese from 2001 to 2009.

He was born in the small parish of Mourne Abbey in County Cork, Ireland on May 4 1934, one of five children of farmers Daniel and Sheila O'Donoghue.

He came to Britain in 1959 to train for the priesthood first at Campion House, Osterley, Middlesex, then from 1961 to 1967 at Allen Hall seminary when it was at St Edmund's, Ware.

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He was ordained to the priesthood for the Archdiocese of Westminster in England on May 25 1967.

He was appointed an Auxiliary Bishop of Westminster and Titular Bishop of Tulana in May 1993, and his consecration to the episcopate took place the following month, with the principal consecrator being Basil Hume, Cardinal-Archbishop of Westminster.

Following the sudden death of John Brewer, Patrick O'Donoghue was appointed the Bishop of Lancaster on June 5 2001, and installed at St Peter's Cathedral on July 4 2001.

His portrait was painted for Westminster Cathedral in 2002 by Christian Furr.

In 2007 he led a major diocesan review called Fit for Mission? to prepare the diocese for the future with fewer priests and practising Catholics and attempting to encourage all Catholics to be more missionary-focused.

In November 2007, he brought out his teaching document on Catholic education, Fit for Mission? – Schools.

Hailed in the Catholic press as 'groundbreaking' and 'courageous', it was also praised by the Holy See.

The Congregation for Clergy 'hopes it will become an example for other Dioceses in the country in their implementation of the General Directory for Catechesis and the Catechism of the Catholic Church', and the Congregation for Catholic Education wrote, "it will undoubtedly be a reliable resource for renewing the vitality of Catholic education in today's society".

Bishop Patrick retired on May 1 2009, with a special Mass at St Peter's Cathedral, and assumed the title Bishop Emeritus of Lancaster.

He left the Diocese of Lancaster on May 29 2009 and retired as an assistant priest to the parish of Bantry on the west coast of County Cork, Ireland.

He died on January 24 2021 at the Nazareth House care home at Dromahane, where he had been resident after becoming infirm.