Ss. Timothy and Titus 26th January

Yesterday we heard the sad news that Bishop Patrick O’Donoghue, otherwise known as Pod, has died. He had a wonderful warmth about him and was someone who people immediately felt they could talk to. In fact one of his great skills was that he could attend a parish do or celebration party for just a short time and you discovered that he had spoken to everyone and they loved him. He had a great interest in his clergy and remembered them and their problems in my experience. When he first came to the diocese he had great plans and had us all planning meetings with the people of the parish and its local institutions; staying in each deanery for the week. He never lost that enthusiasm to renew our evangelical mission. When he came to Carlisle he refused to take a day off but Greg Turner the PP, knowing he liked art took us all on a trip to the Burrell Collection in Glasgow which he loved. Lancaster Diocese was not his natural habitat. After years in London working for refugees and devoting himself to Catholic Social Teaching he was a little baffled about the difference between fells and dales and the lack of a more multiracial population in much of the diocese. Sadly at one point the financial problems of the diocese arrived on his plate and in many ways dented what he hoped to achieve in the diocese, and it strikes me now that we could have prevented him taking so much of the worry of that and we lost out in failing to do so. After he retired I went to see him with some friends in Ireland and it was great to go out to a bar in Mallow and chat with him and discover how shrewdly he knew the diocese and its people and what fun it was to be with him and all the gossip he knew, and stories he could tell (in a very appropriate way of course.) Sometimes you do not realise the full worth of someone until they are gone, but I appreciate my memories of him and the way he had my interests at heart more and more. Let’s keep him in our prayers.

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