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A sharp mind and Celtic charm

by Mgr Phelim Rowland

I have known four Cardinal Archbishops of Westminster, all gifted men in different ways. Cardinal Cormac combined a sharp mind with Celtic charm. I suppose it was the latter that I appreciated most, having the same background. The storyteller is part of Irish folklore and it was a gift he rejoiced in. When I was Principal Chaplain to the Army, I invited him to the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst to rededicate the refurbished Chapel of Christ the King. He asked for a brief on the history of the chapel which I duly produced. In his sermon, the carefully crafted brief was forgotten and the storyteller in him took over. I was not best pleased but the cadets and directing staff were!

He always promised me a good parish when I retired from the Army and returned to the diocese. He was true to his word and eleven years on, I am still grateful to him for being in Hampstead. He always reminded me, whenever we met, that he had taken care of me. I trust that the Lord is now taking care of him in an equally satisfying place, most certainly richly deserved! May he rest in peace.

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