There was standing room only at St Ethledreda's in Ely Place, half an hour before the Memorial Mass for former parish priest Fr Kit Cunningham began on Wednesday night. Fr David Myers was the chief celebrant. The choir sang in Latin.
During his homily Fr Myers reminded the congregation of the teaching of Blessed Anthony Rosmini: "it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord." He said that Rosmini's last words had been: "Be silent. Adore. Rejoice" and that Fr Kit had followed this maxim in own last illness.
A reception was held in the crypt after the Mass. Among those attending was family friend Giles Floyd, who said: "I will always remember Fr Kit as a man of great support for my mum, my sister Juliette and me. I have three distinct memories of Fr Kit: The most vivid is his sermon at Juliette's boys' christening. He spoke of the true role of the Godparent and expressed his strong opinion that this role should be fulfilled by someone who must have constant and endearing contact with their god-child - not a healthy bank balance and regular cash injections to provide 'support'. His words resound with me often as I provide support to my three god-children. I also remember him going in a white van with mum down to Bournemouth just before the Strawberrie Fayre each year to collect bunting, games and prizes from their supplier. The thought of Fr Kit and mum as 'white van man and his crew' is very amusing. I am sure not many knew that he and mum made this trip every year rain or shine!
"I also remember when he had his accident at the Barbican theatre, when a man had an epileptic fit and fell on him, breaking his arm and collar bone. Fr Kit didn't want to cause any fuss to any of us and he kept repeating how thankful he was that it was him that the man fell on and not one of Juliette's or my own children. Given the pain he must have been in after falling as he did, to be immediately thoughtful of others is testament to him. He would always aim to entertain and include his parishioners in the life of St Etheldreda's as well as seek their opinions and feedback on church matters.
"I know he was a great friend to my mum and many others. He had a positive impact on the lives of many and leaves a lasting legacy as well as fond memories for those that had the pleasure to share his company. He really will be missed."
Parishioner Patrick Joliffe said: "I knew Fr Kit since my days at Ratcliffe. He was a contemporary of my older brother. Fr Kit was very kind to me when my wife died in 2008."
Journalist Bess Twiston-Davies said earlier: "Fr Kit's down-to-earth take on faith, groundedness and above all his no-nonsense kindness to any he encountered in need will long be remembered by all those who knew him. When several years ago his Colombian chef died following an assassination attempt, Fr Kit immediately gave his job to his grieving widow and supported her through the complex legal process to bring her husband's killer to justice."
For more tributes see also: www.indcatholicnews.com/news.php?viewStory=17336
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