Bishop Guillermo Leaden.
There are five Catholic bishops in the world aged over 100, and one of them is the Argentine bishop, Guillermo Leaden, whose roots are understood to go back to Sonna and Horseleap.
Bishop Leaden turned 100 on July 20 last, and is the oldest bishop in Argentina, and fifth oldest in the entire world.
He was born in Buenos Aires on July 20 1913, and on November 23 1941, he was ordained to the priesthood as a member of the Salesian order.
His brother, Alfredo, was also ordained a priest, but tragically, he was one of three priests and two seminarians murdered in what has become known as The San Patricio Church Massacre, at Belgrano in Buenos Aires on July 4 1976. Fr Alfredo actually spent some of his time in training for the priesthood in County Tipperary.
It was in May 1975 that Bishop Leaden was elevated to the role of bishop, becoming Titular Bishop of Theudalis and Auxiliary Bishop of the Buenos Aires diocese.
He has written that he was born into “a traditional Irish family of deep religious vocation”.
Bishop Leaden retired from the role of bishop in 1988, at the age of 75, but his resignation was not accepted until four years later.
He now lives with the Salesian community, and continues his pastoral work – and indeed, it was Bishop Leaden who celebrated the Mass on July 19 to mark his 100th birthday, at the Basilica of Mary Help of Christians, where, in the 1960s, he was priest for seven years.
According to Mullingar man, Michael Duffy, Bishop Leaden has visited this area in the past, several times. “The last time he came with his brother, Paddy, a retired Gaucho, but that was about 18 years ago.”
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