Northern Ireland news

Pat Hume had the "purest heart" of anybody, mourners told

Mourners were led by Mrs Hume's children, including, from left, John, Mo, Therese and Aiden, along with their sister Aine. Picture by Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker.
Seamus McKinney

Pat Hume had the "purest heart of anybody," a priest has told mourners at her funeral in Derry.

Mrs Hume died on Thursday last at the age of 83 following a short illness, just over a year after the death of her husband, John.

While numbers at yesterday’s Requiem Mass at St Eugene’s Cathedral were restricted due to Covid-19, many well-known figures from Mrs Hume and her husband’s life attended to pay their respects.

President Michael D Higgins was joined by former Ulster Unionist leader Lord David Trimble who shared the 1998 Nobel Peace Prize with Mr Hume.

Lord Trimble’s wife, Daphne, who also attended, worked closely with Mrs Hume to help victims of the Troubles in the years after the Good Friday Agreement.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin was represented by his aide-de-camp while Requiem Mass was also attended by the Queen’s representative in Derry, the city’s deputy Lord Lieutenant, Helen Quigley.

SDLP leader Colum Eastwood led a large number of the party’s assembly members along with his fellow MP Clare Hanna. Ulster Unionist MLA Mike Nesbitt, a patron of the John and Pat Hume Foundation, was present along with DUP mayor of Derry and Strabane, Graham Warke.

Many former SDLP representatives also attended, including: former leader Mark Durkan, former Environment Minister Alex Attwood, former Agriculture Minister Bríd Rodgers as well as founding members, Austin Currie, Sean Farren and Denis Haughey and former West Belfast MP, Dr Joe Hendron.

There was a large representation from all sections of society throughout Northern Ireland, including Irish News chairman, Jim Fitzpatrick and Children in Crossfire founder, Richard Moore.

Mourners were led by Mrs Hume’s sons, Aiden and John and daughters, Therese, Aine and Mo along with her grandchildren.

Bishop of Derry, Donal McKeown welcomed all those in attendance and pointed out that many people around the world were paying tribute by following Requiem Mass on the Cathedral webcam. Bishop McKeown said St Eugene’s Cathedral was the “house” where Mrs Hume and her husband came to seek strength and praise God.

In his homily, chief celebrant, Fr Paul Farren said Mrs Hume was “pure of heart”.

Fr Farren, a close family friend, said: "Pat had the purest heart of anybody I have ever met. Pat saw God in everybody that she met and her joy at seeing God was written over her face in her most wonderful smile and totally engaged and interested eyes. Pat was a humble and beautiful person."

The Derry priest said Mrs Hume’s pure heart was formed by her faith and her calling to be a mother. She took on board the problems and suffering of those who came to her for help.

“The empathy that Pat had was unique and incredible and that is why her work with Mrs Daphne Trimble, after the Good Friday Agreement, with those who are victims was so important to her. That is why she found it abhorrent that anybody or any government would believe that a line could be drawn under the pain and suffering of people.”

As a mother, she protected her children when her home was being attacked because she and her husband were committed to peace. Her greatest act of mothering was in her care for her husband during his own long and final illness.

“Today we truly give thanks to God for the wonderful gift that is Pat Hume, for her pure heart shaped by her faith and her call to be a mother,” Fr Farren said.

Following Requiem Mass, Mrs Hume was laid to rest with her late husband, John.

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