Bishop Philip Boyce, after the Mass of Thanksgiving held last night at St. Eunan's Cathedral in Letterkenny. Photo: North West Newspix
Members of the clergy and lay people from across the diocese of Raphoe and farther came to St. Eunan’s Cathedral in Letterkenny last night, Wednesday, for a Mass of Thanksgiving for Bishop Philip Boyce, who is retiring as Bishop of Raphoe.
The Mass was concelebrated by about 50 priests from across the diocese of Raphoe and other dioceses.
Bishop Boyce, 77, was consecrated Bishop of Raphoe on October 1st, 1995 in the cathedral. He recalled that moment almost 22 years ago from the altar last night. He said that is a long time, especially when someone is looking 22 years in the future.
“Looking back, the years seemed to have slipped past very quickly,” he said.
He thanked people in the congregation, saying, “Each in your own way have done so much to make these 22 years successful in God's eyes.”
Bishop Boyce said the task of a bishop in today’s world is not easy and brings many challenges.
“Indeed, it would be impossible for a bishop on his own to govern and to lead a diocese,” Bishop Boyce said. “He has to rely on the help and support of many others.”
After Mass, the bishop, priests and congregation attended a reception held in Loreto Letterkenny.
Father Eamonn Kelly, administrator of St. Eunan’s Cathedral, was one of several people to address the reception, offering thanks and best wishes to Bishop Boyce.
“We came to say thanks to God for choosing Bishop Philip for leadership in the Diocese of Raphoe 22 years ago and we came to say thanks to the man himself for taking up the challenge”, Father Eamonn said. “So tonight is a night of thanks.”
Last month, Pope Francis appointed Father Alan McGuckian, SJ, as the new Bishop of Raphoe. A native of Cloughmills, County Antrim, Father McGuckian, 64, will be the first Jesuit bishop in Ireland.
Father McGuckian will be ordained the next Bishop of Raphoe on Sunday, August 6th, at St. Eunan’s Cathedral.
See Monday’s Donegal Democrat and Donegal People’s Press for more.