Sunday, 23 August 2015

Bishop Cornelius Lucey

Today is the [thirty-fifth] anniversary of the retirement of the Most Reverend Doctor Cornelius Lucey, Bishop of Cork and later of Cork and Ross from 1952-1980. He died in 1982.

In the June-July 81 issue of Africa, he wrote on "Why I left Cork for Turkana":

"Behind my decision to come here as a missionary was the desire to make reparation for my sins while I still had the time. Not that I have been all that bad a sinner at any time in my life, I think. But that I haven't been as good as I could be or even as I should be - far, far from it. And that despite the fact that success and promotion came so easily my way in school, in Maynooth, in the priesthood. Each time at Mass, I too have to confess, "that I have sinned through my own fault in my thoughts and in my words, in what I have done and in what I have failed to do". From him to whom much is given much is expected. What could be fairer? So if we fail to use our talents, or the position we hold and ever so much the more, if we use them wrongly - then we have much to answer for. What better way of escaping punishment in the next life than by punishing ourselves in this life, and doing so expressly to have that much less against us on the Day of Judgement. To do penance - that for me was another reason for not relaxing comfortably at home but opting instead for the Turkana Desert."

His last words were: "I love God; I love the priests; I love the people".

Ecce Sacerdos Magnus qui in diebus illis placuit Deo. Non est inventus similis illi qui conservaret legem Excelsi.

First published on the St. Conleth's Catholic Heritage Association blog in August, 2010.