Simple ceremony for 'prophetic cardinal'
Family remembers man behind robes
As early as 1973 he had worked with other leaders in the search for peace
CARDINAL Cahal Daly was a "prophetic, renewing and transforming figure in a time of immense change in the history of his island," his Requiem Mass heard yesterday.
But a sheaf of white lillies placed on his grave which bore a card that read simply: "With love from all your family" was a testament to the man behind the cardinal's robes.
Some of his favourite prayers, printed on the mass booklet were simple in their language and spoke of a devotion to God that was almost childlike.
The coffin, a simple oak casket with a mahogany trim, lay before the altar, with the late cardinal's intricately folded red silk hat placed on top, along with a bible.
It was not a lavish or an ostentatious service and the flowers were simple white chrysanthemums and white lillies but the music soared in the vaulted, tiled ceilings of the cathedral, and the winter sunshine streamed in, illuminating the stained glass windows, warming the solemn atmosphere of the service.
President Mary McAleese and Taoiseach Brian Cowen were amongst the congregation of close to 900 people who had braved the freezing conditions and icy roads to make the journey to pay their last respects at St Patrick's Cathedral in Armagh.
Chief celebrant at the Mass was Cardinal Sean Brady, acting as Pope Benedict XVI's personal representative in what has been described as an unprecedented display of the pope's affection for the late cardinal.
Many of the prayers and hymns were in Latin, in homage to the cardinal's great love and proficiency in the classics.
As the 113th successor to St Patrick, the late cardinal was remembered as a man of abiding faith who had loved art and beauty, prayer and poetry and who had worked and prayed tirelessly for mutual understanding, peace and reconciliation.
As early as 1973 he had worked with other Christian leaders in the search for peace and a report at that time setting out the principles for a non-violent way forward in the North bears "a remarkable similarity" to the language used in the political agreements of today, Cardinal Brady said.
In his latter years, he was also prophetic in warning of the need to protect "our fragile and precarious home", planet Earth.
Cardinal Brady said the late cardinal had "finished the race of a full, happy and illustrious life" -- a reference to one of his favourite scripture verses which is to adorn his tombstone, in accordance with the cardinal's express wish laid out in his will.
Chief mourners were the cardinal's brother, Patrick Daly, sister, Rosaleen Daly, and sisters-in-law Barbara Daly and Mavis Daly, nieces and nephews including Fr Brian Daly, priest of the Diocese of Down and Connor who was one of the main con-celebrants of the Mass.
Seated on the altar were Cardinal Keith O'Brien, Archbishop of Edinburgh, and Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, Archbishop Emeritus of Westminster. The main con-celebrants of the mass were Bishop Gerard Clifford, Auxiliary Bishop of Armagh; Bishop Colm O'Reilly of Ardagh and Clonmacnois; Bishop Noel Treanor of Down and Connor and Fr Brian Daly.
Also celebrating the Mass were the former Church of Ireland primate Dr Robin Eames, Dr Sam Hutchinson of the Presbyterian Church and Reverend Donald Kerr of the Methodist Church.
Readings were given by Dr Gerard Daly, a nephew of the cardinal, while prayers of the faithful were offered for those caring for the sick, for peace and for those involved in the education of the young.
Afterwards, a message of sympathy from Pope Benedict was read by Fr Eugene Sweeny, Cathedral Administrator, in which the pontiff recalled with gratitude the cardinal's long years of pastoral service and his assistance as a member of the college of cardinals and especially his promotion of peace in Northern Ireland.
As the procession of priests left the altar, the choir sang the beautifully haunting 'In Paradisum' and then the coffin was carried from the church for burial beside the graves of the cardinal's predecessors, Tomas O Fiaich, William Conway and John D'Alton.
Dr Eames, who took part in the funeral service, said he was "privileged to share a great deal of joint witness" with the cardinal when they were both Archbishops of Armagh, during the darkest days of the Troubles.