Friday, 20 April 2007

Bishop James O'Brien

Today we celebrate the Funeral Mass of Bishop James O'Brien. Ordained priest in 1954, he become rector of the Diocesan seminary in 1968, and in 1977 Titular Bishop of Manaccenser and auxiliary in Westminter. His particualr area of concern was the northernmost part of Westminster diocese, comprising the county of Hertfordshire.

Bishop O'Brien represented the English and Welsh hierarchy at the funeral of Archbishop Oscar Romero in 1980, and witnessed at first hand the violence that broke out on that occasion. His particular areas of concern were ecumenism ( he established a weekly celebration of Mass at St Alban's Abbey), interfaith, and Justice and Peace. All who knew him recall his gentle and gentlemanly manner, indicating a deep personal holiness and inner peace.

I have especially find memories of him. When I was appointed Adminstrator here, he said to me with a mischevious grin, "Congratulations my dear; I've always said it's the worst job in the Diocese!" Unfailing in his support, and the courteous thanks he gave whenever he visited, he will be missed in our community, as in many others. May his soul rest in peace.

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