London, 13 September 2017. The Requiem Mass and burial of His Eminence Cormac Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor, Archbishop emeritus of Westminster, Prior of the British and Irish Delegation of the Constantinian Order took place on 13 September 2017 at Westminster Cathedral in London. The mass was presided over by the Archbishop of Westminster, His Eminence Vincent Cardinal Nichols and the Archbishop of Cardiff the Most Rev George Stack, Sub Prior of our Delegation preached the homily. His Eminence Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor died on 1 September 2017 aged 85.
Around 1,200 mourners attended the ticket-only mass that lasted 2 hours. Among those attending were The Duke of Norfolk, Professor Mary McAleese, former Irish President and Constantinian dame, and the new Irish Ambassador to the Court of St James’s, HE Mr Adrian O’Neill. Religious representatives included The Archbishop of Canterbury, His Grace The Most Rev & Rt Hon Justin Welby, his predecessor The Rt Rev & Rt Hon Lord Williams of Oystermouth, and HE Archbishop Gregorios of Thyateira and Great Britain, along with 47 bishops and more than 250 priests. Lord Williams and Archbishop Gregorios both hold the rank and dignity of Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Order of Francis I.
In absence of the Delegate in Canada, the British and Irish Delegation at the invitation of Cardinal Nichols was formally represented and processed at the funeral by the Vice-Delegate for Great Britain, The Rt Hon Lord Murphy of Torfaen, KCSG, and Council members Dr John Kennedy, CBE, KSG, DL, Dr John McIntosh, CBE, Mr Andrew Rogers, KSG. The knights of the Constantinan Order formed part of the procession. HE Mr L’ubomír Rehák, Ambassador of the Slovak Republic to the Court of St James’s was also in attendance together with many other knights and dames.
On Sunday 10 September 2017, the Delegate Anthony Bailey attended a mass to receive the remains of the late Cardinal which was held at Our Lady of Grace & St Edward, Chiswick where the Cardinal lived following his retirement in 2009. The intimate ceremony in the cardinal’s local parish church concluded with the rosary.
The Grand Master, HRH Prince Charles of Bourbon Two Sicilies, Duke of Castro and HRH The Duchess of Castro extended heartfelt condolences to Cardinal Nichols on behalf of the Order and on their personal behalf.
“Over many years my wife and I have had countless opportunities to meet with the late Cardinal here in Rome or in London. They were always very joyful, happy and productive occasions and we greatly admired his pastoral care and advice. We was only too aware of the impact he had within the Catholic and wider faith communities in Britain, the Commonwealth and wider world.
“His late Eminence was a longstanding member of the Sacred Military Constantinian Order of St George and the Royal Order of Francis I. Until his passing Cardinal Cormac served for many years as the Prior of the Order’s Delegation in Great Britain and Ireland. His spiritual guidance and support over so many years will be greatly missed by our knights and dames.” – said the Grand Master in his letter to the Archbishop of Westminster.
Cardinal Cormac was first invested into the Sacred Military Constantinian Order of St George in 2002 as a Bailiff Knight Grand Cross of Justice.
In 2013 Cardinal Cormac was appointed by the Grand Master, HRH The Duke of Castro, to the rank and dignity of Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Order of Francis I in recognition of his many years of service as Prior of the British and Irish Delegation. In 2000, Cormac Murphy O-Connor became leader of the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales and was appointed as cardinal by Pope John Paul II in 2001.
Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor was well known for his ecumenical work. He was awarded the Lambeth degree of Doctor of Divinity by the Archbishop of Canterbury for his ecumenical work, serving from 1982 to 2000 as co-chairman of the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission. In 2002 at the Queen Mother’s funeral, he became the first cardinal to read prayers at a Royal funeral since 1509.
He retired in 2009 on his 75th birthday although continued with many official functions with our worldwide church and at the Holy See level in Rome.
“His Eminence was a dear friend to many in our delegation and as our Prior he served with distinction as the spiritual guide to our knights and dames in Britain and Ireland. Cardinal Cormac played an active part in the life of our delegation presiding over numerous investitures, masses and other special events. He merged the very best of his Irish and English ancestry and will be greatly missed by so many within our worldwide Order and across the wider faith communities of our islands. Cardinal Cormac will be remembered in prayer by our knights and dames at our next Delegation’s mass.” Delegate Anthony Bailey said.
On Wednesday, 4 October 2017, a Memorial Mass for Cardinal Cormac will be celebrated at Westminster Cathedral at 5.30pm to which other members of the Order will be in attendance.
To read a full biography of Cardinal Cormac click here.
To read the message of condolences of the Grand Master, HRH Prince Charles of Bourbon Two Sicilies, The Duke of Castro, click here.