Bishop of Ossory, Dermot Farrell, former parish priest of Dunboyne, has announced the death of predecessor, Bishop Laurence Forristal, Bishop Emeritus of Ossory, in Saint Luke’s Hospital, Kilkenny, yesterday morning.
"I am greatly saddened by the news of the death of our Bishop Emeritus, Laurence Forristal," Bishop Farrell stated. "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. 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.
Bishop Forristal was very proud of his home parish of Thomastown, County Kilkenny, where he was born on 5 June 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 21 December 1955.
He was appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Dublin on 3 December 1979 and received Episcopal Ordination on 20 January 1980. The following year, he was appointed Bishop of Ossory and was installed on 13 September 1981 in Saint Mary’s Cathedral, Kilkenny.
Throughout his 63 years as priest and bishop, he worked tirelessly in the service of the people of God, in this diocese and further afield. On 21 December 2015, Bishop Forristal celebrated 60 years of dedicated service as a priest. Of those 60 years he served the faithful in our diocese for over 26 years as Bishop of Ossory, retiring in 2007.
Archbishop Eamon Martin, who is currently attending the Synod of Bishops in Rome, said he was saddened to hear of the death of Bishop Forristal.
“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. 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."
Reposing at the Chapel at Saint Columba’s Hospital, Thomastown from 2pm on Friday 12 October, followed by removal to Saint Mary’s Cathedral, Kilkenny (arriving at 7pm), Bishop Dermot Farrell will be chief celebrant at the Requiem Mass on Saturday 13 October at 12noon. Mass will be followed by burial in the Cathedral grounds.