Monday 19 August 2019

A fireside chat with Dr John

Sheila Fitzgerald

The recently retired Bishop of Cork and Ross, Dr John Buckley, will be the guest of honour on Jimmy Reidy's 'Round the Fireside' show on C103 next Monday night, with a further programme set to air the following week.

Friends of the Bishop from Cork city and around the county gathered at the Heritage Centre in Freemount to pay tribute to Dr John, who has served as Bishop of Cork since December 1997. 

Bishop Buckley was ordained in 1965 and was appointed the third bishop of the diocese - which was formed in 1958 - by the Holy See on December 19, 1997. 

Although Dr John will celebrate his 80th birthday in November, he told Jimmy Reidy that he will be supporting his successor, Bishop Fintan Gavin, and helping out in parishes around the diocese as required.

Throughout his life, he has been renowned for visiting the sick, and he said he hopes to continue to comfort and console patients in various hospitals. 

"My first appointment in the diocese was as chaplain at Sarsfield Court; it was an enriching experience getting to know the sick and the crosses they have to carry and to see the unselfishness of the staff there," said Bishop John. 

The hospital, now a mental-health facility, formerly cared for TB patients.

"My connection with people has always been, and continues to be, my greatest joy in life. Our job is to support people as they try as best they can to carry the crosses life brings them," he said. 

During his time as Bishop, there were numerous standout moments, such as his meeting with Pope John Paul II in 2001. 

"He met everyone, usually only for a couple of minutes. I was one of the lucky ones and spoke to him for 10 minutes", Dr John recalled. 

Another highlight was when he celebrated Jack Lynch's Requiem Mass in the North Cathedral in 1999. As he enters retirement, Bishop John can look forward to some free time to enjoy hobbies such as reading, music and road bowling, at which he is highly accomplished.

Readers can tune in to 'Round the Fireside' on C103 at 10pm on Monday night next to hear the in-depth interview with Bishop Buckley as well as great music and song from the Donal Ring Band and numerous guests.