It is with great sadness that the Diocese of Leeds announces the death of the Very Rev Canon Philip Fitzgerald who died on the morning of Sunday 9 August, aged seventy-five.
Please pray for the repose of Canon Fitzgerald’s soul and remember his family and his friends in your prayers at this time.
Philip Fitzgerald was born on 8 January 1945. He studied for the priesthood at St Patrick’s College, Thurles, County Tipperary and was ordained to the priesthood on 8 June 1968 at the Cathedral of the Assumption in Thurles.
Ordained for service in the Diocese of Leeds, Fr Phil’s first appointment was to St Robert’s parish, Harrogate in September 1968. He then served as Assistant Priest at St Alban’s, Denaby Main (now in the Diocese of Hallam) from 1974 to 1979; St Joseph’s, Brighouse from 1979 to 1984; St Mary & St Michael, Settle from March to June 1984; and St Brendan’s, Bradford from July 1984 until September 1989.
His first appointment as a Parish Priest came in 1989 when Bishop Konstant asked him to assume responsibility for St Malachy’s, Halifax, where he was to remain for the next ten years. In 1999 he became Parish Priest of St Theresa’s in Leeds, succeeding the late Canon Denis Tangney who had been at St Theresa’s as Parish Priest for the previous thirty-one years. Fr Phil moved from East Leeds to St Joseph’s parish, Brighouse in 2005.
In 2012 he was appointed a Canon of the Cathedral Chapter and in 2018 he celebrated the Golden Jubilee of his ordination. The following year ill health resulted in Canon Fitzgerald’s early retirement from active ministry and he chose to continue living in Brighouse.
In recent months, Canon Fitzgerald had been cared for in the Huddersfield Royal Infirmary and on Friday 7 August he was transferred to the nearby hospice, where his death occurred. Bishop Marcus had visited Canon Phil in hospital the day before and noted afterwards that he had been “serene and, as ever, praying for the needs of others, particularly his family, his brother priests and all those he had served in his priesthood”.
Canon Fitzgerald will be remembered with gratitude and affection in the Diocese of Leeds for over fifty years of faithful and devoted ministry, not least by those he had served during the course of his priesthood.
Canon Fitzgerald’s body will be received into St Joseph’s Church, Brighouse on the evening of Tuedsay 25 August, where Bishop Marcus will celebrate the Funeral Mass the following day. This will be followed by the burial of Canon Fitzgerald’s body at Brighouse Cemetery.
While the Funeral Mass will not be live-streamed the parish’s YouTube channel will carry coverage of the Mass later in the day on Wednesday and can be viewed by following this link https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCDPuB6iGnMkKTkNMXonhjXw
Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him. May he rest in peace. Amen.