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Bishop Jeremiah Newman

Bishop Jeremiah Newman
Dr Jeremiah Newman
b. 31 March 1926
d. 3 April 1995
Bishop of Limerick
7 May 1974 to 3 April 1995

Dr Newman was by nature a student of philosophy, specialising in social philosophy and with particular emphasis on Church/State relations. His research, lectures and many publications earned for him international renown. He was gifted with a clear, sharp, logical mind allied with great mental powers of retention and recall and had a tremendous capacity for work. He was a man who had the courage of his convictions and was outspoken on many of the social and political issues of the day It was not easy to score debating points against him. Loyalty to the teaching of the Church and to the mind of the Holy See was a top priority for him As Bishop of Limerick, his presence and influence were felt, not only in Limerick, but nationally. His statements on matters of Church and State made the headlines and got widespread attention.

Though he was kind and considerate in dealing with his priests, he was never what one might call an easy ‘push over’. His priests respected him for the way he treated them and for the confidence and trust he put in them. He had a pleasant sense of humour, was quick witted and a good conversationalist. These qualities enabled him to relate well with people. He showed the common touch, as could be witnessed by the ease with which he mingled among young and old, on the occasion of Confirmations. He was indeed much loved and appreciated. He was concerned for the welfare of the people throughout the County Limerick Region and displayed competent leadership on the relevant civil issues affecting this region.

As President of Maynooth College, he got an insight into University organisation which. enabled him, as Bishop of Limerick, to make a positive contribution to the development of University of Limerick, Mary Immaculate College and third level education generally in Limerick. As manager and administrator of the affairs of the Diocese, he exercised his office effectively and decisively.

Apart from the extensive building programme he carried out in the city to cater for its expanding population, major building projects have been carried out in practically every parish in the Diocese over the past twenty-one years. Having due regard for the cost, he strove to give character and an aesthetic dimension to buildings and he always had a significant input in their design. The tasteful reconstruction of St John's Cathedral bears its own testimony. This, together with the many fine new or restored churches and schools throughout the Diocese, will stand for many years to come as a fitting monument to his memory.

He has left behind a well organised Diocese where the faith of the people is very much alive and pastoral policy in its many and varied aspects is clearly outlined in one of his recent publications, ‘Handbook for Diocesan Priests’. He managed carefully and skilfully the various funds and has consequently left the Diocese in a very sound financial condition.

Considering his heavy work load we all wondered where the Bishop found time to do research for his lectures and large volume of published work which he continued to produce.

Dr Newman was a man of deep, firm faith which he expressed with great sincerity but never in a pretentious or sanctimonious manner. Fortified and assured by this faith, he looked to the future with courage and hope.

In any list of great Bishops of Limerick Diocese, the name of Dr Jeremiah Newman would have to be among the first. His passing from us makes us feel as though a giant tree has fallen in the forest. A great scholar, a great community leader and above all a great Bishop has been taken from us.

Biographical Details
31 March 1926 Born in Dromcollogher, Co. Limerick
Dromcollogher National School
St Mary's Secondary School, Dromcollogher
St Munchin's College, Limerick
18 June 1950 Ordained in Maynooth
1 October 1950 Attended the Catholic University of Louvain to read Philosophy
10 July 1951 Awarded a Doctorate in Philosophy with great distinction
October 1951 Attended University College Oxford to read Sociology
1952 Appointed Professor of Philosophy at Queen's University, Belfast
13 October 1953 Appointed Professor of Sociology at St Patrick's College Maynooth
November 1967 Appointed Vice-President, St Patrick's College Maynooth
October 1968 Appointed President, St Patrick's College, Maynooth
March 1969 Appointed Domestic Prelate
24 May 1974 Appointed Bishop of Limerick
14 July 1974 Consecrated Bishop of Limerick by William Cardinal Conway
3 April 1995 Died at St John's Hospital, Limerick
7 April 1995 Interred in St John's Cathedral, Limerick

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