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Date Posted: Wed, Feb 14 2007, 21:21:55 PST
Author: Book Launch
Subject: Work on past Bishop of Derry

COPY OF INVITATION TO BOOK LAUNCH

JOHN KEYS O’DOHERTY – BISHOP OF DERRY 1889-1907
By
Rev. Bernard J. Canning,
St. Thomas’s Church,
Main Street, Neilson, Glasgow G78 3NJ


You are cordially invited to the reception and launching of JOHN KEYS O’DOHERTY-BISHOP OF DERRY 1889-1907 on Friday, February 23rd 2007 11.00a.m., St. Eugene’s parish hall, Fredrick Street, City Side, Derry. The biography – 340 pp and over 40 photographs – coincides with the Centenary of Bishop O’Doherty’s death on Sunday February 25th 2007. He was, to date, the first Derry City boy to be Bishop of Derry.

Bishop Seamus Hegarty will formally launch the book.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Pre-Launch press release:

John Keys O’Doherty was the first and to date the only Derry City boy to be Bishop of Derry. The centenary of his death falls on Sunday, February 25th 2007.

0 His 18-year episcopate of Derry covers many aspects of the region’s religious and civil life. Derry was then recovering from the Famine Years of 1845-53 when humanitarian aid was a major priority throughout Ireland.

0 Poverty was extensive in Derry. He brought the Sisters of Nazareth to the city to help the aged poor and orphan children. Unemployment in the area added to that poverty and throughout his episcopate it seemed to increase year by year. To more recent times it has also continued to increase.

0 He continued the work of his immediate predecessor Bishop Francis Kelly in completing St. Columba’s College with a new wing, library and museum.

0 Catholic education was advanced within the diocese. In his first report to Rome in 1890, the first year of his episcopate, there were 199 Catholic schools compared with 226 non-Catholic schools. Of those schools` seven were under the control of nuns and two by Christian Brothers. In later reports he stated that additional churches and schools were being built. He is recorded as being responsible for building nine churches.

0 He finished the building of St. Eugene’s Cathedral with a spire, belfry with a peel of bells. It was the first cathedral since the Reformation and is noteworthy for several features, for example its large stained glass window (over the sanctuary) thought to be the largest in Ireland. Other windows included one to St. Columba leaving Derry for Scotland. An Episcopal throne and confessionals were pivotal as final furnishings.

0 He supported Home Rule, condemned intolerance and bigotry shown to the Catholic community; attacked secret societies, intemperance and drink at wakes, as well as “Liberalism and other abuses”.

0 He was a deeply spiritual person dedicating his fifteen Lenten Pastorals (1891-1906) to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, prayer, daily Mass, family Rosary, frequent confession, in addition to promoting the Cause of the Irish Martyrs, especially those of the Derry Diocese.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

EXTRA INFO: EARLIER [2006] PRESS RELEASE [Shortened version]

THE CENTENARY of the death of Bishop John Keys O’Doherty falls in 2007 and will be marked by the publication of a manuscript that took around five years to compile. The O’Doherty Family Research Association, created in 1981, is actively promoting this work within its global networks.

The research by its author, Derry-born Rev. Bernard J. Canning of St. Thomas’s Presbytery, Main Street, Neilston, Glasgow, has been very extensive. Such involved four visits to Rome, and many more to his native city. In Rome he examined the archives of Propaganda and others within the Vatican Library, Irish College, Christian Brothers Generalate, Jesuit and Passionist orders, and those of the Religious Congregation. In Ireland the Derry Diocesan Archives, as well as those at the National Library, and St. Patrick’s College, Maynooth were visited on a regular basis. Local newspapers published during the bishop’s term of office, 1889-1907, where also subjected to minute study.

Fr. Canning states that, “Bishop O’Doherty to date was the first and last native of Derry City to become Bishop of Derry”, adding that such was “because of the great poverty there”.

Fionnbarra O’Dochartaigh, whose historical writings include an illustrated history of the clan: O’Doherty—People and Places [1998], said: “This is a very timely addition to our clan’s records, as well as ecclesiastical, political and social history. We will glean a lot more about John Keys due to Fr. Canning’s years of research. John Keys’ term of office coincided with dramatic developments in Anglo-Irish affairs which stretched from the fall from grace of Charles Stewart Parnell, the Gaelic cultural revival movements, and various upheavals associated with the Liberals’ promise to grant Home Rule.”

O’Dochartaigh concluded,” This author, born in Nelson Street in the Bogside, has produced some 15 titles over many years. These mainly focus on Derry, and include works on the late Bishop Neil Farren, St. Colmcille’s Long Tower, Rosemount Primary School, the City Cemetery (1853-2003) as well as his own, and former residents’ treasured memories of Nelson Street”


Ends

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