“Recently, I submitted my letter of resignation to the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, in accordance with canon 401 §2 of theCode of Canon Law, due to a health condition which has been assessed to render me unable to fulfil the obligations of my office as Diocesan Bishop.
“The Holy Father has very kindly considered my letter, along with the medical reports provided by experts, and today graciously accepted my resignation. My resignation is effective from 11.00 GMT today, Wednesday 23 November 2011.
“I would ask for prayers that the Holy Spirit may guide the selection of the new Bishop of Derry. On a personal level, I would entrust my health to the prayers of the people of the diocese.
“The Diocese of Derry is now a Vacant See, one which has no Diocesan Bishop. For the interim governance of the diocese, the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, has asked the Diocesan College of Consultors, a group of eight priests who govern the diocese collegially for up to eight days, to meet and elect a Diocesan Administrator, to whom the administration of the diocese is entrusted during the Vacant See.
X Séamus Hegarty
Retired Bishop of Derry