Northern Ireland news

John Hume Requiem commemorated at St Eugene's cathedral

The tribute to John Hume has been placed at a side altar in St Eugene's Cathedral.
Seamus McKinney

A memorial to John Hume has been set up at Derry’s St Eugene’s Cathedral.

Following the late SDLP leader’s Requiem Mass last month, a photograph of Mr Hume placed to the side of the main altar started attracting the attention of people wishing to pay tribute.. It was placed beside a stand containing copies of the Order of Service from his funeral Mass as well as the Prayer of St Francis.

Authorities at the Cathedral have now established a separate tribute to Mr Hume at a side altar. The new tribute includes a picture of the Derry man along with three boards containing the words of Mr Hume’s son, John, bishop of Derry, Donal McKeown and St Eugene’s administrator, Fr Paul Farren who was chief celebrant at the Requiem Mass.

In a eulogy to his father, Mr Hume junior recalled his father’s belief that diversity must always be respected.

“Summing up our dad’s life in a few minutes is not an easy task. For a man who supposedly had only one single transferable speech, dad did a lot of different things in his life.

“He also made us laugh, dream, think and sometimes look at him and scratch our heads in amazement (and on rare occasions bewilderment)” he said.

In his welcome to St Eugene’s, Bishop McKeown acknowledged that in normal circumstances, people would have shown their esteem for Mr Hume in a very public way.

“John belonged here but he also strode the world stage. So I also welcome those from around the world who join us on television or social media platforms to pay tribute to a son of this city. Many of you would have wished to be here in person. But that’s not possible for reasons far beyond our control,” Bishop McKeown said.

St Eugene’s administrator, Fr Farren recalled the Gospel reading of the Good Samaritan as well as the Covid-19 restrictions.

In his homily, he said: “John Hume, whose funeral Mass we have gathered to celebrate this morning never passed by on the other side. John never kept a distance. He stopped. He showed compassion. He got involved. He gave dignity and he gave life to so many people.

“In a time in our world when often small mindedness and self-focus seems to be the driver, John never put anybody or any specific group first. He put everybody first.”

Fr Farren said his fondest memory of Mr Hume was seeing him, as his health declined, sit at the back of the Cathedral quietly praying.

“In all the houses he was, White houses and houses of parliaments and many others, it in was this house, the house of God, that he found greatest peace.”

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