Funeral of HM Queen Elizabeth

Ths State Funeral of HM Queen Elizabeth was one of the most viewed events in history with over 4 billion watching the live broadcast from Westminster Abbey in London.

Among Catholics at the funeral were Cardinal Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster, and Archbishop Leo Cushley, who was representing the Catholics of Scotland.

Alost attending were Archbishop Mark O’Toole of Cardiff, who is the most senior Catholic leader in Wales, Archbishop Eamon Martin of Northern Ireland, and Archbishop Paul Gallagher, the Holy See’s Secretary for Relations with States, representing Pope Francis.

James MacMillan, renowned composer and Catholic, wrote an anthem for the funeral titled 'Who Shall Separate Us?'

At the funeral, Cardinal Nichols prayed: "Let us give thanks for Queen Elizabeth's commitment to the Commonwealth throughout her reign, for her sevice and dedication to its peoples, and for the rich bonds of unity and mutual support she sustained.

"O almighty and everlasting God, hear our prayer for the Commonwealth, and grant it the guidance of thy wisdom. Inspire those in authority, that they may promote justice and the common good; give to all its citizens the spirit of mutual honour and respect; and grant to us all grace to strive for the establishment of righteousness and peace; for the honour of thy name. Amen."

HM Queen Elizabeth was the UK’s longest-serving monarch.

She met four Popes on official visits during her reign: Pope John XXIII (1961), Pope John Paul II (1980, 1982 and 2000), Pope Benedict XVI (2010) and Pope Francis (2014).

In 1951, a year before she acceded to the throne, she met Pope Pius XII.

Archbishop Cushley shakes hands with King Charles as the Monarch met faith leaders ahead of the funeral of HM Queen Elizabeth.

From left: Archbishop Leo Cushley, Archbishop Eamon Martin, Cardinal Vincent Nichols and Archbishop Mark O'Toole.

HOMILY: Funeral of Fr John Morrison

Archbishop Leo Cushley paid tribute to the faith and resilience of the late Fr John Morrison at his Requiem Mass today (Thursday 5 May).

He told mourners at St Margaret Mary's Church in Granton about and his faith as priest, his love of the Blessed Sacrament and his patience in enduring a long illness before his death last month at the age of 85.

Fr John served as a priest in Broxburn, Jedburgh and Loanhead before retiring at St Margaret Mary’s in Granton, Edinburgh. He was ordained to the priesthood in 1990 at the age of 53. Prior to that he had pursued a successful career in the prison service. He was laid to rest at Mount Vernon Cemetery.

Homily - Archbishop Leo Cushley

St Margaret Mary's Church, Edinburgh
Thursday 5th May

My dear friends,

A very warm welcome on this sad occasion to St Margaret Mary’s and to the funeral Mass for the repose of the soul of Father John Morrison.

The last time I was here, John was concelebrating with me, and he was a regular feature here, in health and in sickness and older age.  He was very fond of the people here and of this place, and it’s fitting that we pray for him and remember him here, in this place so familiar to him.

Fr John Morrison celebrating Mass at St Margaret Mary's in 2015, with (from left), the late Fr Hugh Purcell, Fr Jamie McMorrin, Fr Morrison, Fr Tony Lappin, Fr Paul Lee, Fr Jeremy Milne.

He was a man with two distinct careers, in the prison service and as a priest.  He was successful and distinguished in both, and was known to many, from infamous criminals all the way to senior royalty, and all of it he appears to have taken in his stride.

Respected

He was also respected and liked as a priest wherever he served.  I remember how he himself was surprised by the fact that he completed a silver jubilee in the priesthood, and took a bit of encouraging to celebrate it.

I also recall how he liked to come to the Holy Hour and Confessions I held from time to time in St Bennet’s for the clergy.  He was always there and at supper afterwards, with a small glass of red wine in hand, held court until it was time to go home.

He enjoyed the company and the camaraderie, but on these occasions he was also devout in his own quiet, serious sort of way, and an example to the rest of us who were older in priesthood, but younger in age.

Resilient

He also was resilient in these last couple of years in spite of covid and his own health.  For someone who enjoyed travelling the world and meeting new people, he remained cheerful, even as his life and his world became more and more confined.

I also remember meeting his sister, Margaret when she was visiting John in hospital, and how they cared for each other.  When she died after a short illness, I went to see John, and when I condoled with him on her passing, he expressed sadness over his beloved sister, but also a little relief, in the sense that he himself felt he could now go in peace.

A modest wish, but one that was granted to him in the end.

In 2015, Fr Morrison celebrated the 25th anniversary of ordination at St Margaret Mary's.

I’ve chosen readings for today that I hope reflect a little bit of John, his life of faith and what I believe he might have liked to hear read over his remains.

Our first reading is an Easter one, a robust and joyful declaration of faith from the young Church, under the leadership of Peter.  We are permitted to read this reading only in Eastertide, and it reassures us all that no matter who or we are or have been, Jesus Christ is the Son of God and the Lord of all.

Whether we are alive or dead, Jesus is our Judge, but a benign and merciful one. Our soul thirsts for him, or it ought to, as we gaze upon him in the sanctuary, and as we long to know him and better serve him with our lives.

This joyful, straightforward declaration of Peter’s faith is one that John surely shared with all in his life and priesthood.

Patience

Our second reading, from St Paul’s letter to the Romans, speaks of the suffering that some of us must bear, and over an extended period of time, and of suffering that becomes very burdensome.

Fr Morrison with Archbishop Leo in 2015.

John had to endure not a few weeks or months, but a number of years of illness, with patience.  I know that patience wasn’t perfect, but he certainly put a good face on it anytime I went to see him…! He perked up and had the air of someone who was cheerful in his situation, and in spite of everything.

He was ill, but he wasn’t letting that get him down.  Rather, he believed, as we do, that the whole of creation still retains the hope of being freed from slavery to decay and death, to enjoy the same freedom and glory as the children of God.  And we, with all creation, long to be set free.

Blessed Sacrament

Finally, in the Gospel, it seemed apt to take a passage from John 6, where our Lord makes a clear connection between what we do here at Mass and the life in Christ that the Eucharist betokens.

The Blessed Sacrament is at the centre of our faith in the risen Lord, and not for nothing did Father John find time to come every month to pray with his fellow priests before it.

It makes me wonder if it was a devotion to the Blessed Sacrament that drew John to the priesthood during his civilian career.  Some of you will know that better than I, but whether it’s the case or not, I know that it was an important part of his spirituality as a mature man and a priest, and it was an example to us all.

Many more stories and tales will be told about John, I’m sure, but they are for another time.

Meantime, we give thanks to God for Fr John, for the civil good he did for society as a whole in his first career, and for all the spiritual good he achieved un many years of service as a priest.

And we ask the risen Lord to welcome him, with his sins forgiven, into paradise today: eternal rest, grant unto him O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him.  May he rest in peace. Amen

WATCH: Funeral of Archbishop Philip Tartaglia

The Requiem Mass for Archbishop Philip Tartaglia takes place today (Thursday 21 January) at midday.

A live stream of the funeral can be found here.

Last night, Archbishop Cushley presided over the Reception of Remains at St Andrew's Cathedral in Glasgow. The full video can be watched here. Below is an edited version of the Archbishop's closing words.

All video content: Sancta Familia Media.

Archbishop Cushley's closing remarks at Reception of Remains 20/01/21

My dear friends, before we go our separate ways, I would just like to add a word of my own condolences to all of Philip’s brothers and sisters, to my dear friend Gerard, to all of you here, and to all of Philip’s family, only some of whom can be present due to restrictions, and to all the clergy and people of the Archdiocese.

This is a sudden and sad loss for all of us in our little corner of the Lord’s vineyard in Scotland. After absorbing this blow, the Archdiocese of Glasgow will surely move forward and, please God, will be blessed with a fine new leader, but it's only right that we take time for a moment to thank God for Philip, your brother, for his life, his priesthood, his unique goodness and humour, and for his taking up the many heavy tasks that were placed on his shoulders over nearly fifty years of service to the people, and the city, and the church that he loved so much.

So, we do well to take a moment to remember him as he was, and as we knew him.

But, we also do well to recall that Christian funerals are not, in fact, about the person who has died - but about someone else, the One who died for love of us, the one that Philip spent his life serving, Jesus Christ, our master and our guide.

A Christian funeral draws us away from our sadness, our pain and loss, and even from the memory of our love for the one who has died, and helps us raise our eyes to the Creator of all things who has now called Philip to himself.

As the name suggests, a Christian funeral focuses upon Jesus Christ, upon his love for us all, and upon the confidence and hope that we place in our merciful Redeemer. Our God is a God of love, and whether we live or we die, we belong to Him.

With confidence, therefore, we commend Philip to God’s mercy.  We do so with affection for Philip, and for each other, and we do so with the hope that we will all meet together again, happily, in paradise.

Eternal rest grant unto him or Lord and let perpetual light shine upon him; may he rest in peace. Amen

Hundreds expected to watch priest's funeral online

The family of the late Fr Thomas Greenan are encouraging people to join them in prayer by watching a webcast of his funeral service.

It takes place at 10am this Friday (05 June) at Seafield Crematorium in Edinburgh, and will be presided over by Archbishop Cushley. Attending the service is restricted to close family members due to Covid-19 guidelines, but hundreds are expected to tune in to pay their respects.

To watch, visit https://www.wesleymedia.co.uk/webcast-view

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Joe, Fr Tommy's brother, said: "Please pass on these details or post on social media. There will be a Mass for Tommy at St John's, Portobello, when restrictions are relaxed."

Tributes flooded in following the dedicated priest's death on Sunday 17 May. He had been suffering from Alzheimer’s and was based at St Margaret’s Care Home in Edinburgh. He was 64 years old.

Video tribute

The following video was posted on the Facebook page of St John's & St Mary Magdalene's Parish in Edinburgh.

https://www.facebook.com/StJohnsandStMaryMagdalenes/videos/3489509251076529/