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The Life And Writings Of Saint Patrick -Saint Patrick

Sechnall, ‘his bishop,’ was, as we have seen, his own nephew, whom he placed over the church of Dunshaughlin, in the county Meath. But, as Patrick had so many priests and bishops to ordain, so many churches to consecrate, and so many other episcopal duties to discharge, it became necessary for him to have a coadjutor, or assistant bishop, who would assist him in his functions, and act generally as his vicar in the government of the Irish Church. Hence it was that Patrick chose Sechnall as his coadjutor and destined ‘successor.’ So we find the name of Sechnall, son of Restitutus, as first in the list of ‘Patrick’s successors’; but this merely implies that he was his coadjutor, and, therefore, his destined successor; and it is said that he held the office for thirteen years. We think, as the Book of Leinster implies, that he lived until 457, which would allow him thirteen years as assistant bishop to St. Patrick. For, as he, with his associates, came to Ireland ‘to help St. Patrick,’ and as he was the senior of them all, he would be set down as assistant bishop almost from the time of his arrival in Ireland until his death. The Life of St. Declan tells us that it was said he was the first bishop buried in the soil of Ireland. May he rest in peace. It is said that Sechnall was seventy-five years old at the time of his death. In that case, he would have been born about the same time as Patrick himself—that is about 373.






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