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Retired auxiliary bishop of Derry dies

Bishop Francis Lagan was a strong advocate for peace and reconciliation, Archbishop Eamon Martin said.

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A retired auxiliary bishop of Derry who died on Tuesday was a caring brother priest, Archbishop Eamon Martin said (PA)

A retired auxiliary bishop of Derry who died on Tuesday was a caring brother priest, Archbishop Eamon Martin said (PA)

A retired auxiliary bishop of Derry who died on Tuesday was a caring brother priest, Archbishop Eamon Martin said (PA)

A retired auxiliary bishop of Derry who died on Tuesday was a caring brother priest, Archbishop Eamon Martin said.

Bishop Francis Lagan was a strong advocate for peace and reconciliation, having witnessed first-hand the terrible violence and heartbreak endured by people during the Troubles, the Catholic primate added.

He said he was very saddened by the former teacher’s death.

He added: “He also understood the joys and struggles of his brother priests who often had to minister in the midst of great challenge, grief and community unrest.

“Frank enjoyed the company of priests – on and off the golf course – and he was always quick to offer a calm and reassuring word in times of difficulty.”

He said: “I remember Bishop Lagan as a caring brother priest and a gentle shepherd.”

The primate’s first placement as a newly ordained priest was for a few months with him in the parish of Saint Mary’s, Creggan.

Bishop Lagan was appointed as the first Auxiliary Bishop of the Diocese to assist Bishop Edward Daly and later Bishop Seamus Hegarty.

Archbishop Martin said: “He undertook this role with humility and dedication to service.”

Bishop Lagan brought a “pastoral and informed” voice to a wide range of issues, including education.

“Bishop Lagan had a keen insight into the reality of people’s lives and he never failed to bring his extensive pastoral experience to bear on discussions at the Bishops’ Conference table.

“As a teacher in Derry and Carndonagh, he nurtured young people in the faith and encouraged them to make the most of their gifts and educational opportunities; this remained his message to the thousands of young people on whom he conferred the sacrament of Confirmation over many years.”

PA