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A True Servant of the Church

by Fr Kevin Dring

I was Cardinal Cormac's last priest secretary in Arundel & Brighton, being with him in those heady days when he was appointed as the new Archbishop of Westminster. The time living and working with Cormac were some of the happiest years I can remember as a priest. This was in large measure due to his great warmth and kindness, as a human being, and the inspiration of his spiritual care of others.

Hours each day could be spent together in the confines of the car, going from one engagement to the next ... and the next... and the next. There was plenty of laughter, often around Cormac's observations of people we had been with. What struck me, though, was that he never spoke in an unkind way about anybody and ‘humorous observations’ were always said with kindness.

He also had a habit, if he wanted to draw you in on his confidence, of holding your elbow as he shared whatever it was he wanted to share. Unnervingly he would even do this while I was driving. I remember just a few days before the announcement of his appointment to Westminster, the newspapers were speculating that day on the odds of him being the chosen man. I asked him straight ‘what are the chances?’. His reply, ‘it's possible but highly unlikely’ while gripping my elbow and me trying to keep firm control of the steering wheel.

When he spoke about himself I always felt he did so in a genuinely humble and self-effacing way, but he also had a strong sense of the duty of ‘stepping up to the mark’ and taking on whatever tasks and responsibilities were given. This he did in Arundel & Brighton and then in Westminster. He was a true servant of the Church and cared deeply for people in his charge. I will remember him as one of the warmest and kindest people I have had privilege to know. May he rest in peace.

Fr Kevin Dring was Private Secretary to Cardinal Cormac from 1998 to 2000. He is Parish Priest of Sacred Heart Church, Hove.