07 Dec 2021

Carbury man who served as Bishop in Texas has died

Thomas Flanagan maintained strong links with his native Carbury

Death of Kildare man who served as a Bishop in Texas

The late bishop Tom Flanagan

The death has occured of Bishop Tom Flanagan originally from Carbury, but who was an Auxiliary Bishop of the Diocese of San Antonio in the United States. 

He died peacefully at the age of 88 on Wednesday, October 9 in San Antonio. 

He was the oldest of eight children born to Patrick and Mary Flanagan (née McNamara from Killina).

Following further study he was awarded a Masters of Divinity from the Oblate School of Theology, San Antonio in 1979. 

His death, writes Sheamus Farrell, the Leinster Leader's Carbury correspondant, has left a very dark cloud over the parish of Carbury.

"Bishop Tom was born at Rathmore, Carbury on 23rd October 1930. Local people said, he may have left Carbury but his heart always remained in the parish, he loved Carbury.

When he completed his education at Derrinturn National School, he went to Mungret College in Limerick and then to St. Patrick’s Seminary in Thurles, Co. Tipperary. He was ordained to the priesthood in Thurles Cathedral in 1956 before moving to the US.

He was consecrated a Bishop in February 1998. 

In Texas, Bishop Flanagan was responsible for building a Church in San Antonio which was dedicated to St. Brigid of Kildare.

He served in eight parishes and also as spiritual advisor of the Saint Vincent de Paul Society, he was Chairman of the Board of the archdiocese's Assumption Seminary, and was diocesan chapter chaplain for its Knights of Columbus. In 1979, he was awarded a Masters of Divinity from the Oblate School of Theology, San Antonio.

"Carbury people looked forward to the coach trips which Bishop Tom organised each year from Carbury to the Shrine of Our Lady of Knock. This was one of the highlights of his visit each year, along with his annual Healing Mass at Holy Trinity Church, Derrinturn," writes Sheamus.

The late bishop Flanagan

Bishop Flanagan celebrated his Silver Jubilee and Diamond Jubilee in Holy Trinity Church in Derrinturn.

"He was delighted to be present on the day of the blessing and re-dedication of Holy Trinity Church by Bishop James Moriarty of Kildare and Leighlin in 2007. One of the stained-glass windows at Holy Trinity Church, dedicated to Our Lady of Knock, contains an image of Bishop Flanagan and was donated by him to the church," says Sheamus.

Bishop Flanagan retired on Thursday, December 15, 2005 at the age of 75.

For more news from Kildare, click here.

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