A Book of Condolence has been opened at the Guildhall in Londonderry in memory of the former Bishop of Derry and Raphoe Dr James Mehaffey, who died yesterday evening. The book was officially opened this lunchtime by the Deputy Mayor, Cllr Cara Hunter, on behalf of the Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Cllr Michaela Boyle. Dr Mehaffey’s most recent successor, Bishop Andrew Forster, was among the first to sign it.
The Mayor extended her sincere condolences to the Mehaffey family at this sad time and said the Book of Condolence was an opportunity for the people of Derry and Strabane to extend their sympathy and show their respect for the Bishop who officiated in the city and district for more than 20 years.
The Mayor, who is currently out of the country on holiday with family, said she was deeply saddened on hearing the news and described Dr Mehaffey as “a genuinely holy person, a peace-maker and a risk-taker who was committed to working across the political and religious divide to make a real difference during difficult times”.
Cllr Boyle said Dr Mehaffey would be greatly missed. “Bishop Mehaffey was a very warm and kind-hearted man who touched the hearts of everyone who met him. He was a very religious and gentle person with a warm heart who was genuinely interested in talking to and listening to every person he met. He will be remembered very fondly by the people of Derry, Strabane and the wider North West region for his commitment to peace, his courage and commitment to building bridges.”
The Mayor extended heartfelt sympathy to Bishop Mehaffey’s wife, Thelma, to his children and to the extended family circle.
People who wish to do so can also record their tributes online at the following address http://www.derrystrabane.com/bookofcondolences and messages of condolence will be passed on to the Mehaffey family.
(Photo shows Rt Revd Andrew Forster signing the Book of Condolence for the late Bishop James Mehaffey at the Guildhall in Londonderry.)