Thousands in Derry to say a last farewell to Bishop Dr Edward Daly
Sister of Jackie Duddy, the dying boy late cleric helped get out of the line of fire on Bloody Sunday by waving a handkerchief in air as bullets flew, in moving tribute to clergyman
The sister of the dying teenager Fr Edward Daly tried to remove from the line of fire on Bloody Sunday by waving a handkerchief has said he will be remembered as "one of the greatest priests we ever had, if not the greatest".
Pope Francis also paid tribute to the former Bishop of Derry in a message at his funeral yesterday for his "generous and dedicated episcopal ministry in the service of peace and justice".
But it was the love and respect the ordinary people of Derry had for Dr Daly that was most evident, as an estimated 3,000 mourners crammed into the cathedral and its grounds for Requiem Mass.
And afterwards they applauded as Dr Daly's coffin was carried from St Eugene's Cathedral to his final resting place in its grounds by priests of the Derry Diocese.
Staff from Foyle Hospice, where Dr Daly was chaplain until February this year, and members of his beloved Derry City FC formed a guard of honour as his remains was brought out.
Requiem Mass was celebrated by the current Bishop of Derry Donal McKeown. The Primate of All Ireland, Archbishop Eamon Martin; Bishop Francis Lagan, the retired auxiliary Bishop of Derry, and Monsignor Amaury Medina Blanco representing Pope Francis were the main concelebrants.
Irish President Michael D Higgins, along with representatives of the British and Irish governments, former primate Sean Brady, SDLP founder John Hume, PSNI chief for Derry Mark McEwan and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness were in the congregation.
While he accomplished much, Dr Daly was best known as the priest pictured waving a white handkerchief as he led the dying Jackie Duddy (17) through the streets on Bloody Sunday in 1972. Paratroopers had opened fire and killed 13 people, and another was to die later.
Yesterday Jackie's sister Kay Duddy joined Dr Daly's sister Marion Ferguson and his housekeeper Betty Doherty in carrying the offertory gifts to the altar.
Ms Duddy said she was nervous about taking part in the service, but added: "This is the last thing I can do for him but I know he will give me the strength to do it.
"He was such an integral part of our family for these past decades, my heart is sore at the thought I won't see him again, but he will be remembered in this city forever as one of the greatest priests we ever had, if not the greatest."
Bishop Daly's remains had lain in repose at the foot of the altar in St Eugene's since his death on Monday.
From Monday an estimated 25,000 people had come to bid their own farewell to the clergyman.
Around 150 clerics including archbishops, cardinals, bishops and priests, along with former Church of Ireland Primate Lord Eames and Dean of Derry Rev William Morton, attended the service. Bishop McKeown said Dr Daly would be remembered for all the courage he showed throughout his ministry.
He said: "His ministry was marked by total dedication to the people he served, wherever he was called to minister.
"That dedication was visible in outstanding courage.
"He showed physical courage on Bloody Sunday and his moral courage was evident in his passionate struggle against violence and injustice from all quarters.
"It takes enormous courage to be a peacemaker and he was an apostle of mercy, whether as a curate, as a bishop or as chaplain in the Foyle Hospice.
For that courageous service of God and of his people, we give thanks."
Bishop McKeown also recalled the many stories he had heard about Bishop Daly told over recent days.
He said: "It was a privilege to stand at the door of the cathedral over the last three days and hear stories of invaluable acts of kindness, both great and small.
"The people of the diocese - and beyond - held Bishop Edward Daly in the highest regard for his loving faithfulness to them over a period of 59 years as priest and bishop in this diocese."
Archbishop Martin paid his own heartfelt and personal tribute to the man who ordained him into the priesthood.
He said: "There was never any doubt that Edward Daly was a great priest, a caring and compassionate pastor, a man of prayer and peace, a courageous and fearless leader, a special person. As I stand here at the very spot in this cathedral where Bishop Daly ordained me to the priesthood 29 years ago,
"I'm thinking: if only I could be even half the priest and bishop that he was, I know I'd be serving God well."