Westminster pays tribute to Bishop James O'Brien

 A Requiem Mass for Bishop James O'Brien, former Auxiliary Bishop of Westminster, who died on 11 April, was celebrated by Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor in Westminster Cathedral on Friday. Those attending the Mass included: the four Auxiliary Bishops of the Diocese of Westminster; several Bishops of other dioceses in England and Wales including Archbishop Vincent Nichols and Bishop Crispian Hollis; priests of the Diocese of Westminster; and many of Bishop O'Brien's family and friends. In his homily, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor spoke of Bishop O'Brien's dedication to the people and priests of the Diocese of Westminster, and of the example he set for them through his deep faith during his illness. The Cardinal said: "I am happy today to pay tribute to a marvellous priest, a great bishop, a good friend. We in this great Diocese of Westminster have much to be thankful to him for." A special message was sent by Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, Vatican Secretary of State: 'Having learned of the death of the Right Reverend Bishop James O'Brien, the Holy Father sends heartfelt condolences to you and to the priests, religious and lay faithful of the Archdiocese of Westminster. He is united with all gathered for the solemn funeral rite in commending Bishop O'Brien to our Heavenly Father's mercy and love. Mindful of the deceased's long and devoted ministry as priest and Bishop, His Holiness is confident that his memory will inspire the community he served to respond ever more generously to the call of discipleship. As a pledge of spiritual strength and comfort, the Holy Father imparts his Apostolic Blessing to all who mourn in the hope of resurrection to new life in Jesus Christ our Lord.' On Wednesday 18 April, Bishop George Stack, Auxiliary Bishop of Westminster, celebrated a vigil Mass in the church of St Alban and St Stephen in St Alban's, after the reception of Bishop O'Brien's body into the church. In his homily, Bishop Stack paid tribute to Bishop O'Brien's humility and obedience, and called the vigil Mass "a family occasion, when the people of Hertfordshire gather together to say farewell and give thanks to God for Bishop James O'Brien who has been their Father in God for over thirty years." To read tributes from the Book of Remembrance for Bishop O'Brien and homilies from both Masses see: www.rcdow.org.uk

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