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Rt Rev. Patrick O’Donoghue

A profile of the Catholic Emeritus Bishop of Lancaster, the Right Reverend Patrick O'Donaghue.

Bishop Emeritus of Lancaster

Patrick O’Donoghue was born in Mourne Abbey, Co Cork, on 4 May 1934, and is the middle of five children – three girls and two boys – of farmers Daniel and Sheila O’Donoghue.

He was educated at the Patrician Academy in Mallow, Co Cork. He came to Britain in 1959 for seminary training, first at Campion House, Osterley, Middlesex, then from 1961-67 at Allen Hall seminary when it was at St Edmund’s, Ware, Hertfordshire.

He was ordained priest for the Archdiocese of Westminster on 25 May 1967. As a newly ordained priest, Fr O’Donoghue worked in the parish of Our Lady of Willesden from 1967-70. He was on the Diocesan Pastoral Mission Team from 1970-73, where he gained experience in 27 parishes in the Archdiocese. From 1973-77, he was Pastoral Director at Allen Hall Seminary in Chelsea. From 1977-78, Fr O’Donoghue was with the team ministry at the parish of St Thomas of Canterbury, Fulham.

Monsignor O’Donoghue was Sub-Administrator of Westminster Cathedral from 1978-85, and Administrator from 1990-93. In between times he was Rector of Allen Hall Seminary from 1985-90.

He is a former Chair of the Archdiocese of Westminster Senate of Priests. He was ordained as Auxiliary Bishop for the Archdiocese of Westminster by his great friend and mentor Cardinal Basil Hume on 29th June 1993, and was appointed Bishop to the West London Pastoral Area of the Archdiocese.

Bishop Patrick served as Chairman of the Westminster Diocesan Pastoral Board from 1996 and Chairman of the English and Welsh Bishops’ Committee for Migrants from 1993.

In May 2001 he launched a strongly-worded document ‘Any Room at the Inn? – Reflections on Asylum Seekers’. He wrote this to mark the 50th anniversary of the UN Refugee Convention, and specifically in the run-up to the General Election.

Bishop Patrick was officially Installed as Fifth Bishop of Lancaster at a special Mass in St Peter’s Cathedral, Lancaster on Wednesday 4 July 2001.

In February 2007, Bishop O’Donoghue initiated a time of prayer, review and consultation – ‘Fit for Mission?’ – of the life and mission of Lancaster Diocese in all it aspects – Catholic Education, the Shape and Mission of Parishes, Marriage Preparation, The Permanent Diaconate etc – seeking to strengthen the sacramental and mission life of each area of the Diocese so that this generation, and future generations, can have a rich and living encounter with our Lord Jesus Christ.

The ‘Fit for Mission?’ review consultation and its eventual implementation calls for the whole-hearted commitment, energy, and leadership of all the baptised in the Diocese. The now famous ‘Fit for Mission? – Schools’ (2007) and ‘Fit for Mission? Church’ (2008) teaching documents from Bishop O’Donoghue have had a phenomenal response across the Diocese, many accolades from the The Holy See, the country and from Catholics all over the world.

Bishop O’Donoghue retired as Diocesan Bishop on 1 May 2009 and left the Diocese to reside in his native County Cork, Ireland on 29 May 2009.

On 3 July 2009 Bishop O’Donoghue was appointed, at his own request, Assistant Priest of the Parish of Bantry – where he ministered with two other priests to 2,500 people at Mass and nine schools and one hospital. The Bishop Emeritus also assists the Bishop of Cork and Ross with the administration of the Sacrament of Confirmation in and around the Diocese.

In August 2012 Bishop O’Donoghue moved from Bantry and was appointed, for a brief time, Assistant Priest to Ballincollig Parish in Cork City.

In April 2013, Bishop Padraig, as he is known locally, moved to be resident at Nazareth House, Mallow – much nearer to his family and relatives for whom he has always expressed his great affection, pride and loyalty.

It was in his beloved County Cork that he died on 24 January 2021, sorely missed by all who knew and loved him.


For more, please visit the Diocese of Lancaster‘s website.