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Thousands pay respects to Cardinal Cahal Daly

Thousands of people turned out to pay their last respects to Cardinal Cahal Daly as his remains were taken from St Peter's Cathedral in west Belfast to his final resting place of Armagh.

The body of His Eminence Cardinal Daly, former Catholic Primate of All-Ireland, lay in state at St Peter's over the weekend where mourners came from far and away to reflect by his coffin and pay a final tribute.

They joined Cardinal Daly's relatives, including his brother and sister, friends and fellow clergy as a moving service was held to mark his removal from the cathedral before his coffin was taken to St Patrick's Cathedral in Armagh, where he will lie until Requiem Mass is held tomorrow.

The retired cleric, born in Loughguile, Co Antrim, had a history of heart trouble and was rushed to Belfast City Hospital where he died on Thursday evening surrounded by family and friends.

A procession of more than 60 clergy including priests, canons, bishops and cardinals, flanked the highly respected cardinal's coffin as it left St Peter's yesterday, following a serene service which was bathed in stain-glass light and colour emanating around the altar.

The main celebrant was Dr Noel Treanor, Bishop of Down and Connor, who blessed the coffin with holy water and incense. His auxiliaries were Bishop Anthony Farquhar, and Bishop Donal McKeown. Also in attendance was Bishop Emeritus Patrick Walsh, and Cardinal Desmond Connell, from the Dublin Archdiocese.

Rev Houston McKelvey from the Church of Ireland was also there and gave the scripture reading during the ceremony for the 92-year-old.

The psalms, Schola Cantorum, were sung by brothers Rev Fr Eugene and Martin O'Hagan, also known as two thirds of The Singing Priests. One of the last things Cardinal Daly did before he fell ill was to have his photograph taken with the recording sensations.

A homily was delivered by Very Rev Edward O'Donnell, a former secretary to the Cardinal who is now a parish priest at St Anne's Parish, Belfast.

In his address, Rev O'Donnell said Cardinal Daly "lived with the profound realisation that his witness as a Christian, and his ministry as a bishop, would be hopelessly inadequate if he did not understand the call to holiness as a deeply personal call to live in the friendship of Christ Jesus".

One of the coffin bearers was Rev Fr Brian Daly, a nephew of the cardinal and parish priest in Cushendall and Cushendun.

Members of the public who gathered in the cathedral for the service spoke of his significance in their own lives.

Attracta Clarke, a music teacher from St Patrick's Primary School, Crossmaglen, said: "I was first introduced to Cardinal Daly when he came to confirm the children 20 years ago, I always had great respect for him."

Another woman parishioner at St Peter's, who did not wish to be named, said: "I respect him, he did try to help during the Troubles and was very friendly and helpful, he never turned anyone away, he helped everyone behind the scenes."

Another woman, from Ardkeen Parish, Kircubbin, said: "I think he was a great man, with great integrity and during the Troubles he was very positive about any decisions that he had to make. He was a very firm man dedicated to his faith."

Husband and wife, Sean and Alice Carolan, from Ardee, Co Louth, said: "We came here to pay respects. We never met him personally. We were in Belfast and we decided to come up here. He was a man of peace he did a lot of work quietly and was always against violence, he was a hard worker and always seemed to be speaking out."

On Saturday, Pope Benedict sent a telegram to Cardinal Brady, expressing his sorrow at the death of Cardinal Daly.

Belfast Telegraph

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