Bishop Gerard Clifford, a native of Dundalk, has stepped down as auxiliary bishop of Armagh on the grounds of ill health.
Bishop Clifford was ordained to the priesthood in 1967 and ordained a bishop in 1991. He served as executive secretary of the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference from 1984 to 1991.
He was highly popular with both church clerics and the laity and his worked covered ecumenism and education.
He was President of Cura, the pregnancy support group.
He was part of the response by the Catholic Church in Ireland to the late Pope John Paul’s request for the Christain churches to work more closely together.
He worked closely in this field with the late Canon William Arlow of the Church of Ireland.
“My decision to retire as auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Armagh is based on medical advice,” Bishop Clifford said.
“It is with great sadness that I come to this decision.”
He said he was born in the parish of Lordship and Ballymascanlon in 1941 and as priest and auxiliary bishop in the Archdiocese of Armagh, received great warmth and affection throughout his ministry from the people of the diocese.
“I thank them for their support in my 21 years as auxiliary bishop,” he said.
“I look forward to continuing my pastoral work in collaboration and with the support of the bishops, priests and lay people of the archdiocese. As I take on a different role I will continue, God willing, to promote and foster the Gospel message in its fullness. I ask that you remember me in your prayers today and in the future.”