Bishop Willie Lee announces his retirement

Bishop of Waterford and Lismore Dr William Lee (71) has confirmed he is stepping down from his ministry due to ill-health following the acceptance of his resignation by Pope Francis.

Bishop of Waterford and Lismore Dr William Lee (71) has confirmed he is stepping down from his ministry due to ill-health following the acceptance of his resignation by Pope Francis.

Bishop Lee confirmed he has been diagnosed with a serious illness and under medical care since July 2011, which has impacted greatly on his health and his ministry.

Recently he had been advised by his doctors to retire from office.

“Even though I found the time since diagnosis quite demanding, I had hoped that I would be able to continue in office and looked forward to doing so. Now, my doctors have advised otherwise. Accordingly, I have in the past few weeks submitted my letter of resignation as Bishop of Waterford and Lismore to Pope Francis. The Holy Father has considered my request and graciously accepted my resignation.”

A native of Newport in Co Tipperary, Bishop Lee was ordained a priest in 1966 for the Diocese of Cashel and Emly, and later served as President of St Patrick’s College in Thurles before being ordained Bishop of Waterford and Lismore in 1993.

Bishop Lee said it was with “reluctance and sadness” that he had come to the decision to retire, but paid tribute to the priests, other religious and people of the diocese for their support over the past 20 years since becoming their bishop.

“It was a great privilege for me to be your bishop. I have been ministering in that capacity for just over 20 years since I was ordained bishop on 25 July 1993.

“It is a long time and you have been very patient with my shortcomings,” he said.

Bishop Lee said his time as Bishop of Waterford and Lismore had been both fulfilling and challenging as he thanked people for their support in building community, safeguarding children, supporting the vulnerable and caring for the elderly.

“I have always felt the warmth and affection of you, the priests, religious and people of the diocese. “You are a constant support to me and, as I leave office, I want you to know how deeply grateful and appreciative I am.

“I thank you from my heart for all the kindness and understanding you have shown me over the years and I am especially grateful for your concern and prayers for me in my recent illness.”

We wish him well in his retirement and join in the tributes to his fine ministry.