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Bishop William Lee RIP


Bishop William Lee

Bishop William Lee

Source: Irish Catholic Media Office

Bishop William Lee, Bishop Emeritus of Waterford and Lismore died on Friday morning, 5 January. He was 82 years old. After announcing the news, Bishop Lee's successor Bishop Alphonsus Cullinan, said: "Bishop Lee dedicated his life to serving the Catholic Church and the people of the Diocese of Waterford and Lismore with firm commitment and passion. As we mourn his loss, we ask for your prayers for the repose of his soul."

Bishop Lee was born in Newport, Co Tipperary, on December 2, 1941. He received his early education at the Convent of Mercy National school, the Boy's National school, Newport and later at Rockwell College, Cashel. He studied for the priesthood at Saint Patrick's College, Maynooth and was ordained in 1966.

After ordination he studied Canon Law at Saint Patrick's College, Maynooth, and was awarded a Doctorate in Canon Law in 1969. Later that year, he was appointed curate in the parish of Finglas West in the Archdiocese of Dublin where he ministered for two years. On his return from Dublin, he studied Canon Law for a short period at the Gregorian University, Rome.

Bishop Lee was then appointed Bursar and Professor of Philosophy at Saint Patrick's College, Thurles. While there he served on the Cork Regional Marriage Tribunal, was Chairperson of the Diocesan Catholic Marriage Advisory Council and was a member of the first National Executive of the Catholic Marriage Advisory Council in Ireland. He was appointed President of Saint Patrick's College, Thurles, in 1987, and was ordained Bishop of Waterford and Lismore on 25 July, 1993.

He served on the Commission for Clergy, Seminaries and Vocations and the Commission for the Laity of the Episcopal Conference and was also President of Accord.

Bishop Lee retired as Bishop of Waterford & Lismore on 1 October, 2013.

Archbishop Eamon Martin said: "I was very sad to learn of the death yesterday of Bishop William Lee. As a priest of the Archdiocese of Cashel & Emly, and later as Bishop of the Diocese of Waterford & Lismore, Bishop Lee devoted his whole life to the service of the Gospel and to the mission of the Church.

In my role as President of the Irish Bishops' Conference I wish to acknowledge, in particular, Bishop Lee's immense contribution to the life and work of the Conference over twenty years, from 1993 until his early retirement due to ill health in 2013. During that time he served on the Bishops' Commission for Clergy, Seminaries and Vocations, as well as on the Commission for the Laity. Bishop Lee also held the post of President of Accord, the Catholic Marriage Care Service. His calm and faithful presence as Episcopal Secretary to the Conference, for fifteen years, was especially valued and appreciated by his brother bishops. I experienced this at a personal level from the time of my own appointment as Executive Secretary in the autumn of 2008.

Bishop Lee took a particular interest in matters related to the formation of priests, reflecting his long involvement with seminary life. At the same time he had a strong appreciation of the vocation of marriage and, in his contributions to discussions within the Conference, he was anxious to ensure that preparation and support for marriage and the family was central in the pastoral life of the Church. His interventions at the Commission for Planning, Resources and Communications were typically wise and balanced.

On behalf of the Bishops' Conference, I wish to express my condolences to Bishop Lee's family, to Bishop Alphonsus Cullinan of Waterford & Lismore, to the priests, religious and faithful of the Archdiocese of Cashel & Emly and of the Diocese of Waterford and Lismore, and to all who knew and loved him. I also wish to express appreciation for all those who cared for him over many years of struggling with poor health.

May the light of Heaven shine upon him; may God in His loving mercy look kindly upon him, and may he receive the welcome of the good and faithful servant. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dilís."

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