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Celebrating the Life of Two Great Cardinals

On 9 June, the Feast of St Columba, Cardinal Vincent celebrated a Requiem Mass in Westminster Cathedral for Cardinals Wiseman and Manning, to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the death of Cardinal Wiseman and the consecration of Henry Edward Manning as the 2nd Archbishop of Westminster. 

Fr Nicholas Schofield delivered the homily, in which he recalled the lives and legacy of these two great cardinals: 'Though neither of them lived to see the building of this cathedral, it is appropriate that they lie directly below the sanctuary in the crypt, their tombs almost acting as foundation stones - because all that this cathedral and diocese are about today are a direct result of their bold vision and their courageous labours.'

Although very different in so many ways, they shared an 'essential unity of purpose'. They wanted to 'build up the Church so that she could effectively serve the growing numbers of Catholics'. 

Recalling their legacy, Fr Nicholas said: 'Their concern was to build churches, open schools, establish religious houses and care for the marginalized. They wanted an educated and holy laity, served by well-trained and diligent priests. They were concerned with the breaking down of the barriers imposed by anti-Catholic prejudice, by now so much part of the English psyche, and they wanted the Church’s vision to extend beyond the Catholic community so that it could work for the common good.'

Saying it was fitting to take a moment to reflect on the past and 'honour our founding fathers', he reminded those present that we are 'links in a great chain of faith'. He said: 'Circumstances change, but it is the same faith in Christ Jesus, the same need for a living relationship with Him, that needs to be proclaimed and passed on.'

After Mass, Cardinal Vincent prayed at the tombs of the two great Cardinals in the crypt of the Cathedral.

An exhibit about the lives and work of the two great cardinals is currently on display in St Patrick's Chapel in the Cathedral.

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