As chair of the Commission for Catholic Education & Formation of the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference, I wish to express my best wishes and gratitude to Bishop Leo O’Reilly on his retirement today. Bishop O’Reilly was chair of this Commission for many years. I am sure I am expressing the sentiments of many involved at various levels in Catholic agencies and councils, committees and other structures of education both within the Church and beyond it, when I say that his contribution has been remarkable in terms of vision and perseverance. Bishop Leo has contributed generously to the Catholic Church’s engagement in education in this country. He has worked untiringly with many others to bring the various stakeholders within the Catholic educational sector into dialogue, and promoted increased co-operation and collaboration.
Bishop Leo has engaged with wisdom in the public forum on topics of educational relevance from his many media appearances, to presentations at Oireachtas committees and to the Constitutional Convention on Marriage and the Family. Pope Francis has often said education is a “key mission” for the Church. Bishop Leo has certainly been to the forefront in keeping that before us. Our best tribute to him now in retirement is to re-commit ourselves to progressing the many processes of renewal and joint co-operation that he initiated. May God grant Bishop Leo good health and peace in his retirement.