Fr Kit Cunningham, the much-loved former Rector of St Etheldreda's in Ely Place, London, died this afternoon at the Mater Hospital in Dublin. He was 79 and was suffering from a lung infection.
A Rosminian, Fr Kit served at St Etheldreda's for more than 32 years. He supported dozens of charities, was the founding editor of the Westminster Record which he worked on for 25 years, and for many years chaired the Catholic Writers Guild.
St Etheldreda's is London's oldest Catholic church. The building was bought in the 19th century by the Rosminians who came to London from Italy set up mission for poor Irish and Italian immigrants. It suffered damage during the Blitz. Fr Kit completed a major restoration programme there.
During his time at St Ethledreda's he presided over 796 weddings and 815 baptisms. One of of the last couples he married was Gill Hicks and Joe Kerr. Gill was the last person to be brought out alive from Russell Square tube station in the 7 July bombing just a few weeks before the wedding. Although she lost her legs below the knee, she succeeded in walking up the aisle unaided for the ceremony.
Fr Kit retired in 2008. After living with the Rosminian community in Stresa for a year he returned to London where he was at St Wilfrid's in Chelsea.
A full obituary and tributes will be published soon.
There is going to be a Memorial Mass for Fr Kit at St Etheldreda's on Wednesday 12th January at 7pm for 7.30pm.