Bishop of Cork and Ross John Buckley received a standing ovation at one of his final masses in the North Cathedral in Cork on Thursday.
Bishop Buckley, aged 79, who will retire on July 1 this year, led the 10am Holy Thursday Mass, which attracted a large crowd.
Bishop Buckley’s replacement, Bishop Fintan Gavin, will be ordained on June 30.
Bishop Buckley addressed priests from across the Cork and Ross diocese yesterday for the final time.
Hundreds of mass-goers and priests gave Bishop Buckley a standing ovation as he prepared for the final blessing for one of the last times in his lifetime of service.
“The people are very good,” said Bishop Buckley, speaking to The Echo following the Mass.
“They’ve a great sense of humour. I’m not a big fan of having the spotlight and focus on me, but it was great to see everyone out today.
“I prefer to be honouring or cheering other people.”
Bishop Buckley was ordained Titular Bishop of Leptis Magna on April 29, 1984, and installed as Bishop of Cork and Ross on February 6 1998.
The diocese includes Cork City and part of Co Cork.
In 2014, Bishop Buckley reached the age at which serving diocesan bishops are required to submit their resignation to the Pope, but continued to serve the Diocese of Cork and Ross until a replacement could be found.
He will continue in the role until July 1 and is determined to remain active in the community after that.
“It won’t be possible to make any major decisions, for example, if I decide to build a swimming pool out the back of my house, I’ll have to get permission from Pope Francis,” he laughed.
“I spoke about how priests and bishops always go on working.
“I think the word retirement shouldn’t apply to priests and bishops because they’re always involved, whether it’s doing little things or praying for people in the community,” said Bishop Buckley, adding that he hopes to continue to play an active role in the Cork community.
At Holy Thursday Mass, he thanked everyone for their support over the last 20 years and praised them for their involvement in their parish and church.
He also praised the dozens of priests that attended the service for their work and willingness to make sacrifices for the benefit of the church.
He thanked the altar servers, sacristy staff, and choir and paid special tribute to members of the local deaf community who translate the Mass into Irish Sign Language.