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UK: Westminster Cathedral, a tribute to card. Murphy-O’Connor. Funeral service on Wednesday

“Escorted by his guardian angel, cardinal Murphy-O’Connor will cross the Purgatory, but he won’t forget to poke him and tell him: ‘You job is to get me out of here as soon as possible’”. It is with this peaceful image that the bishop of Plymouth, Mark O’Toole, ended the sermon he preached in front of the body of the former Catholic primate of England and Wales, who died on September 1st, aged 85, after a long fight with cancer. Now, the body of the shepherd who led the Church of these islands from 2000 to 2009 will be taken to London’s Westminster Cathedral, the mother church of English Catholicity, where the funeral service will be celebrated on Wednesday. Since last Sunday, parishioners and visitors have been paying tribute to the cardinal’s body, displayed in the Church of Our Lady of Grace and St. Edward’s in Chiswick, where it will stay until Tuesday morning. It is actually in this neighbourhood of the British capital that Murphy-O’Connor had been living since he had retired. “The Mass officiated today was wanted by the cardinal himself”, pointed out bishop O’Toole, who had been Murphy-O’Connor’s personal secretary from 2002 to 2008, mentioning that “the cardinal wanted to personally plan every single detail of his funeral service and jokingly told him that he would also have written today’s sermon if he could have”.

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