Rt. Rev. James Mehaffey, Bishop of Derry and Raphoe, pictured with councillors at a civic reception to mark his retirement in 2002.
Born on 29 March 1931 near Portadown in Co Armagh, Bishop Mehaffey was educated at Trinity College, Dublin and was ordained in 1955.[
He began his clerical life with curacies at St Patrick’s Church, Belfast and St John’s Church, Deptford after which he was a Minor Canon at Down Cathedral.
He was bishop’s curate at St Christopher’s, Belfast before serving as the incumbent at Kilkeel and Cregagh before his elevation to the Episcopate.
He was elected Bishop of Derry and Raphoe on 27 June 1980 and consecrated on 7 September the same year.
As Bishop of Derry and Raphoe, he befriended and worked very closely with his Catholic counterpart Bishop Edward Daly, a collaborative ministry that was recognised when both bishops were awarded the Freedom of the City by Derry City Council in 2015.
Bishop Donal McKeown said at the time both bishops were "recognised for their enormous contribution to the common good and to the welfare of society at a difficult time when politicians weren’t even talking to each other.”
Bishop Mehaffey's presence at the funeral of Bishop Daly was widely reported and interpreted as a sign of the conviction and courage of both men.[
He resigned 31 January 2002.
James Mehaffey was married to Thelma; the couple had three children - Wendy, Tim and the late Philip.
Rt. Rev. James Mehaffey, Bishop of Derry and Raphoe, pictured with councillors at a civic reception to mark his retirement in 2002, held in the Everglades Hotel. Front row, from left, are Colrs. Mary Bradley, Willie Hay, Mayor Mildred Garfield, and, from right, Mary Hamilton, Deputy Mayor Peter Anderson, and Thelma Mehaffey. Middle row, from left, Colrs. Sean Carr, Marie McDaid, Kathleen McCloskey, Gearoid O hEara, Helen Quigley, Annie Courtney, John Tierney. Back, from left, are Colrs. Jim Clifford, Willie O’Connell, Gerard Diver, Shaun Gallagher, Pat Ramsey, Jim McKeever and John Kerr.
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