The former Bishop of Derry and Raphoe, Rt Rev Dr James Mehaffey, is celebrating the 65thanniversary of his ordination today.
The occasion was marked with a Service of Holy Communion in St Columb’s Cathedral in Londonderry, at which the Dean of Derry, Very Rev Raymond Stewart presided, assisted by Rev Canon John Merrick. The Bishop of Derry and Raphoe, Rt Rev Ken Good, pronounced the Benedicion.
Bishop Mehaffey was accompanied by his wife, Thelma, who pointed out that today is the Feast Day of Saint Philip and St James, and Philip is the name of their late son.
Among those in the congregation were the Archdeacon of Derry, Ven Robert Miller, and the Archdeacon of Raphoe, Ven David Huss. The latter was baptised by Bishop Mehaffey in 1975.
After the Service, friends and former colleagues gathered in the Chapter House to enjoy refreshments and fellowship. Bishop Good, who served as a curate in a neighbouring parish to Bishop Mehaffey early in his own ministry, paid a warm tribute to his predecessor. He said the reason that he had found it easier – “not that it’s ever easy” – to come into Derry and Raphoe and serve as bishop, was because of the foundations that had been laid by Bishop Mehaffey.
“People said to me right from day one,” Bishop Good said, “’You’re stepping into big shoes here, you know?’ and I’m well aware of it.” Bishop Good thanked Dean Stewart, Canon Merrick and the Cathedral staff for organising today’s Service, and thanked God for Bishop Mehaffey’s many years of fruitful ministry.