Northern Ireland news

Bishop Anthony Farquhar to be laid to rest following Requiem Mass in Belfast

Requiem Mass for Bishop Anthony Farquhar will be held on Thursday. Picture by Ann McManus
Suzanne McGonagle

Bishop Anthony Farquhar is to be laid to rest on Thursday following Requiem Mass in south Belfast.

The service for the Belfast-born bishop will be held at the Church of the Good Shepherd on Ormeau Road at noon.

The 83-year-old, who was one of the longest serving Bishops in Ireland, passed away on Friday.

He served as auxiliary bishop of Down and Connor, Ireland's second-largest diocese for 32 years before stepping down in 2015.

He has been remembered as "a man of joyful faith".

On Monday, Church of Ireland Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland John McDowell paid tribute to Bishop Farquhar, describing him as a "priest, sportsman, ecumenist and raconteur".

He recalled how they first met in 1974 when Bishop Farquhar was an assistant Catholic chaplain in Queen’s University, Belfast.

Read more:

Belfast-born bishop Anthony Farquhar remembered as 'a man of joyful faith'

"The Catholic chaplaincy had just been rebuilt and was at that time the last word in modernity and convenience," he said.

"On top of its no doubt vibrant spiritual life the chaplaincy ran a host of social activities.

"Some were presided over by the scholarly chaplain and distinguished historian Fr Ambrose McCauley and some by the young gregarious and sports-loving Fr Tony Farqhuar.

"For many from the Protestant tradition these first encounters with Catholic faith and society formed in us nothing but memories of warmth and hospitality."

Bishop Anthony Farquhar has been remembered as a 'man of God and a man of the people'. Picture by Cliff Donaldson


Archbishop McDowell also spoke about Bishop Farquahar's love of sports and how he was "particularly knowledgeable about soccer and became a sort of unofficial chaplain to the Queen’s and Queen’s graduate teams".

"With a soft spot for the unglamorous underdog he maintained a particular fondness for Dundela FC and would be found often on the terraces of the Hen Run in east Belfast," he added.

"It was my privilege and pleasure to encounter Tony again nearly 50 years later, when I represented the Church of Ireland on the Irish Council of Churches and at meetings between members of the Church of Ireland House of Bishops and the Irish Episcopal Conference.

"In many ways Tony was a pioneer of the now fashionable ‘receptive ecumenism’ avant la lettre.

"For Tony authentic ecumenism was the sharing of memory and experience drawing on an underlying unspoken and indefinable communion which exists for those resting on the gift by the baptismal covenant.

"Ecumenical encounter was rather like showing a friend family photographs in the faith that they will share the feelings of warmth and affection of other families as well as their own.

"Tony was a great encourager and I never left his presence without feeling slightly the better and wiser for it.

"A man of God and a man of the people, he will be greatly mourned and greatly given thanks for by many people, not least within the family of the Church of Ireland."

Bishop Farquhar's remains will arrive at St Bernadette’s Church, on Wednesday for the Liturgy of Reception at 7pm and his remains will repose there until 9pm.

Requiem Mass will be celebrated in the Church of the Good Shepherd on Thursday at noon followed by interment in the adjoining cemetery.

Northern Ireland news