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Bishop Emeritus Willie Walsh

Retired Bishop of Killaloe Urges People to Reconnect

AMONG those cocooning during the Covid-19 crisis is retired Bishop of Killaloe, Dr Willie Walsh, whose advice is to reconnect with those with whom we might have lost touch.

The Octogenarian said he is adjusting to the lock-down better than he thought he would, and that his prayers are with people who are finding the current restrictions difficult.

“I am keeping a routine and getting up early and taking some exercise,” he outlined. “I watch mass on one of the online services and I celebrate mass privately. I’ll do a couple of hours in the garden. I also find it therapeutic to write about the current situation. I’m very lucky to have a house and garden and I’m thinking about those who are under pressure at this time.”

As well as reflecting on the role of the Priesthood, the retired Bishop said he’s also keeping up-to-date with some social activities: “On Wednesdays, I would normally go to the Clarecastle Men’s Shed to brush up on my Irish with other members. Today we had a video-conference call for around an hour-and-a-half, so that was fun.”

Dr Walsh added that now is the time to reach out to friends: “I would encourage everyone to reconnect with friends they might have lost touch with for one reason or another. Sometimes we can be hesitant, but I find that in the vast, vast majority of situations, people are delighted to get that call whether its months or even years since you’ve last been in touch.”

Dr Walsh also said that the current time had given him pause to reflect on the nature of the priesthood.

“As priests, often we’re very busy doing things for people,” he noted. “At the moment though, we’ve seen very clearly that people are very capable of doing things for themselves, without us. I think that the message for us is that there is lots of good Christian work going on, and the work goes on without us. We have an opportunity now to reflect on what the Priesthood is. It is about service and witness and perhaps we need to spend more time bearing witness to God’s presence in the world. We may need to change our focus somewhat.”

About Fiona McGarry

Fiona McGarry joined The Clare Champion as a reporter after a four-year stint as producer of Morning Focus on Clare FM. Prior to that she worked for various radio, print and online titles, including Newstalk, Maximum Media and The Tuam Herald. Fiona’s media career began in her native Mayo when she joined Midwest Radio. She is the maker of a number of radio documentaries, funded by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI). She has also availed of the Simon Cumbers Media Fund to report on development issues supported by Irish Aid in Haiti. She won a Justice Media Award for a short radio series on the work of Bedford Row Project, which supports prisoners and families in the Mid-West. Fiona also teaches on the Journalism programmes at NUI Galway. If you have a story and would like to get in touch with Fiona you can email her at fmcgarry@clarechampion.ie or telephone 065 6864146.

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