By: Mark Woods
On Sunday, 1st October, Bishop Richard Moth of the Diocese of Arundel & Brighton celebrated a Requiem Mass at Arundel Cathedral for Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor who died on 1st September 2017 and was buried in Westminster Cathedral on 13th September 2017.
Cardinal Cormac was Bishop of Arundel & Brighton from 1977-2000 and left an incredible legacy in the Diocese before his move to become Archbishop of Westminster and a Cardinal.
As bishop of the diocese he early on engaged in a round of parish and school visitations, opening up his large house at Storrington for special events and adopting the American 'RENEW' programme. This was inspired by his belief that the Church should be 'experienced not as a faceless institution but as a community, a family, to whose life all its members contribute' and involved the creation of 'small communities' in parishes.
This sense of family was reflected in those who attended the Mass. Not only were there members of his actual family, but also a Cathedral full of priests, deacons and lay people from all over Surrey and Sussex and beyond who all brought with them fond memories of their friendship with the Cardinal when he was bishop in the diocese.
In his homily, Provost of Arundel Cathedral Chapter, Mgr John Hull who had worked closely with the Cardinal in the diocese reflected that the main memory all of us had of the Cardinal, as well as that great sense of family, was joy. The word joy was contained in the Cardinal's coat of arms, but it was also to be seen in the many pictures on the back of the Mass booklet of a joyful Cardinal Cormac.
A spokesperson for the diocese said: "In celebrating this Mass as well as praying for the repose of his soul it was also a wonderful opportunity to remember with love the joy and hope that Cardinal Cormac brought to all he met and to share these memories with each other."
He continued: "In the Mass we were able to offer the greatest prayer of all for him, a great final 'Thanksgiving' for his faithful service to the Church at large but to this particular Church in Surrey and Sussex."