EMERITUS Bishop Patrick Dougherty will be buried among his people at Bathurst cemetery after he died peacefully on Monday night.
Departing long-serving Bathurst parish priest Father James Cutcliffe and devoted former staff member Jan Clarke were at the bishop's side as he passed away at St Catherine's Nursing Home.
Bishop Dougherty led the Bathurst Catholic diocese for 25 years until his retirement in 2008.
He had been suffering from lung cancer for some months before his health declined rapidly last week. He was 78.
Bishop of Bathurst Michael McKenna yesterday said that Bishop Dougherty had “died peacefully, surrounded with love and prayer”.
“In his illness, he has shown the faith, acceptance and respect of others that you would expect from the true Christian and devoted priest the bishop was,” he said.
Bishop McKenna related how Bishop Dougherty's last wish was to be buried in the Bathurst cemetery after his funeral is held next Wednesday, September 8 at St Michael and St John's Cathedral.
“It was his wish to go into the ground in Bathurst,” he said. “As we know, previous bishops of Bathurst have been interred in the cathedral.”
Bishop McKenna said Bishop Dougherty had remained active up until last Thursday at St Catherine’s, accompanying Monsignor Shannon to prayers and saying mass at the aged care facility.
Bishop McKenna anointed Bishop Dougherty after his condition deteriorated on Monday, and Hugh Dougherty had come across from Lithgow to be with his younger brother.
When the bishop took another turn on Monday evening, Fr James and Jan Clarke went to his side.
As planning for the bishop’s funeral continued yesterday, Bishop McKenna said it was expected the Archbishop of Sydney Cardinal George Pell would be among the mourners, along with the Pope's representative the Apostolic Nuncio, Giuseppe Lazzarotto.
Bishop McKenna paid tribute to Bishop Dougherty and his family, saying the late bishop was one of four boys - three of whom became priests.
The seventh bishop of Bathurst, Bishop Dougherty officially retired on December 8, 2008. He had served 56 years as a priest and 34 years of his life as a bishop.
BISHOPS OF BATHURST
Matthew Quinn 1865-1885
Joseph Patrick Byrne 1885-1901
Michael O'Farrell, CM 1920-1928
John Francis Norton (coadjutor bishop 1926-1928) 1928-1963
Albert Reuben Edward Thomas 1963-1983
Patrick Dougherty 1983-2008
Michael McKenna 2008-