Statement by Bishop Lee on his resignation on health grounds as Bishop of Waterford and Lismore
My dear Priests, Religious and People of the diocese of Waterford and Lismore,
As you are aware in July 2011 I was diagnosed with serious illness and, since diagnosis, I have been under medical care. This has impacted greatly on my health and ministry. Recently the medical advice to me has been that, in the interests of my health, I should retire from the office of Bishop of Waterford and Lismore. 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.
It is with reluctance and sadness that I have come to this decision to retire as I have been very happy and blessed amongst you the priests, religious and people of the diocese. It was a great privilege for me to be your Bishop. I have been ministering in that capacity for just over twenty years since I was ordained Bishop on 25 July 1993. It is a long time and you have been very patient with my shortcomings. My years as Bishop have been so fulfilling and, as well, very challenging. Today I recall with gratitude all who have shared in making God’s love present among us – building community, forming the young, safeguarding children, supporting the vulnerable, caring for the elderly, nurturing goodness and hope at every opportunity. I thank you for your dedication and generosity.
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.
It is my intention in the future to be available to help out in the diocese – God willing – in whatever way I can.
May the Lord continue to bless each of you and I know that you will keep me in your prayers in the days ahead as I, in turn, will keep you in mine.