Media information for the Funeral Liturgy of John Hume RIP

05 Aug 2020

The Funeral Mass for the late John Hume RIP will be celebrated at 11:30am today in the Cathedral of Saint Eugene, Derry. The Mass will be celebrated by Father Paul Farren (see notes for editors) and concelebrated by Father Dinny McGettigan, retired priest of Raphoe, and cousin of Mrs Pat Hume.  Presiding at the Mass will be Archbishop Eamon Martin, Archbishop of Armagh & Primate of All Ireland and Bishop Donal McKeown, Bishop of Derry.  In attendance in the sanctuary of the cathedral will be the Church of Ireland Archbishop of Armagh, John McDowell, and the Church of Ireland Bishop of Derry & Raphoe, Andrew Forster.  Please note that publication of details of the Funeral Liturgy is strictly embargoed until 11:30am.

Please see below words of welcome by Bishop Donal McKeown, messages of sympathy from the Vatican’s Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin on behalf of Pope Francis, the Dalai Lama and Bono of U2 (Paul Hewson).

Entrance Hymn Be Still My Soul

Words of welcome by Bishop Donal Mc Keown
A Uachtaráin, Lord Lietnenant, a Thaiosigh, a Aire, First Minister and Deputy First Minister, diplomatic, party and civic representatives cuirim fáilte romhaibh uilig anseo. I welcome you all here as the Hume Family gathers at the funeral service for John Hume. This is at heart a family event as they grieve the loss of a husband, father, grandfather, brother, uncle.

But I know that this is not just a local event. John belonged here but he also strode the world stage. So I also welcome those from around the world who join us on television or social media platforms to pay tribute to a son of this city. Many of you would have wished to be here in person. But that is not possible for reasons far beyond our control.

And I want especially to acknowledge the many thousands of people from this city and from around the island who would have wanted to show publicly their esteem for John and their gratitude for what he, one of themselves, had achieved. Your participation today is as important for John Hume as that of the others here.

The world may be looking on, but this is a family in grief and thanksgiving. They are gathered here in a spirit of prayer and they ask you to join them in that prayer rather than just as onlookers at a spectacle. As John Hume knew, living means participating not just observing.

Thus, we gather – as the family has underlined – in a spirit of prayer that God’s grace, which blessed us through John’s life, will continue to flow abundantly on the people of this island. He did not just dream of peace. His life’s vocation was to be peacemaker for the good of others. Because of his past we can face the future.

A number of those who cannot attend have forwarded messages. Before the Liturgy begins, I would like to acknowledge some of those messages to you who are present and to you who are united with us, across this island and across the world.  

Message from the Vatican’s Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, on behalf of Pope Francis
His Holiness Pope Francis was saddened to learn of the death of Mr. John Hume, and sends the assurance of his prayers to his family and to all who mourn his loss. Mindful of the Christian faith that inspired John Hume’s untiring efforts to promote dialogue, reconciliation and peace among the people of 1Vorthern Ireland, His Holiness commends his noble soul to the loving mercy of Almighty God. To those who mourn his passing in the sure hope of the Resurrection, the Holy Father cordially imparts his Apostolic Blessing as a pledge of consolation and strength in Christ the Lord.

Cardinal Pietro Parolin
Secretary of State

Message from the Dalai Lama
I am sorry to learn about the passing of John Hume.  I would like to offer my condolences to you and the members of the family. 

I was pleased to be able to meet John during one of my several visits to Northern Ireland.  Indeed, his deep conviction in the power of dialogue and negotiations in resolving the problem in his homeland has been an example of non-violent resolution of issues.

It was his leadership and his faith in the power of negotiations that enabled the 1998 Good Friday Agreement to be reached.  His steady persistence set an example for all of us to follow.

Although my fellow Nobel laureate is no longer with us, his message about peace and nonviolence in the resolution of conflict, no matter how protracted or difficult it may seem to be, will long survive him.  He lived a truly meaningful life.

With my prayers,

Yours sincerely,

His Holiness
The Dalai Lama

Message from Bono
We were looking for a giant and found a man whose life made all our lives bigger.

We were looking for some superpowers and found  clarity of thought, kindness and persistence.

We were looking for revolution and found it in parish halls with tea and biscuits and late night meetings under fluorescence.

We were looking for a negotiator who understood that no-one wins unless everyone wins…and that peace is the only victory.

We were looking for joy and heard it in the song of a man who loved his town so well and his missus even more.

We were looking for a great leader and found a great servant.

We found John Hume.

For Pat, Thérèse, Áine, Aidan, John and Mo.


Appreciation  Read by John Hume (Jnr)

Opening Prayer        

The Liturgy of the Word

First Reading read by Mark Durkan
A reading from the book of Wisdom   3:1-9 

The souls of the virtuous are in the hands of God, no torment shall ever touch them. In the eyes of the unwise, they did appear to die, their going looked like a disaster, their leaving us, like annihilation; but they are in peace. 

If they experienced punishment as men see it, their hope was rich with immortality; slight was their affliction, great will their blessing be. God has put them to the test and proved them worthy to be with him; he has tested them like gold in a furnace and accepted them as a holocaust.

When the time comes for his visitation they will shine out; as sparks run through the stubble, so will they. They shall judge nations, rule over peoples, and the Lord will be their king forever. They who trust in him will understand the truth; those who are faithful will live with him in love; for grace and mercy await those he has chosen.

The word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God. 

Responsorial Psalm  
The Lord is my Shepherd there is nothing I shall want.

Second Reading read by Therese Hume  
A Reading from Saint Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians              

Be ambitious for the higher gifts.  And I am going to show you a way that is better than any of them.  If I have all the eloquence of men or of angels, but speak without love, I am simply a gong booming or a cymbal clashing.  If I have the gift of prophecy, understanding all the mysteries there are, and knowing everything, and if I have faith in all its fullness, to move mountains, but without love, then I am nothing at all.  If I give away all that I possess, piece by piece, and if I even let them take my body to burn it, but am without love, it will do me no good whatever.  Love is always patient and kind; it is never jealous; love is never boastful or conceited; it is never rude or selfish; it does not take offence and is not resentful.  Love takes no pleasure in other people’s sin but delights in the truth; it is always ready to excuse, to trust, to hope, and to endure whatever comes.  Love does not come to an end.

The word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God. 

Gospel Acclamation

Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia

God is love, let us love one another as God has loved us.

Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia                         (F. O’Carroll)

Gospel proclaimed by Father Paul Farren
A reading from the Holy Gospel according to Luke

There was a lawyer who, to disconcert Jesus, stood up and said to him, “Master, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” He said to him, “What is written in the law? What do you read there?”  He replied, “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbour as yourself.”  “You have answered right”, said Jesus, “do this and life is yours.”

But the man was anxious to justify himself and said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbour?”  Jesus replied, “A man was once on his way down from Jerusalem to Jerico and fell into the hands of brigands; they took all he had, beat him and then made off, leaving him half dead.  Now a priest happened to be travelling down the same road, but when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side.  In the same way a Levite who came to the place saw him, and passed by on the other side.  But a Samaritan traveller who came upon him was moved with compassion when he saw him.  He went up and bandaged his wounds, pouring oil and wine on them.  He then lifted him on to his mount, carried him to the inn and looked after him.  Next day, he took out two denarii and handed them to the innkeeper. “Look after him,” he said “and on my way back I will make good any extra expense you have.”  Which of these three, do you think, proved himself a neighbour to the man who fell into the brigands’ hands?” “The one, who took pity on him” he replied.  Jesus said to him, “Go, and to the same yourself.”

The Gospel of the Lord
Praise to you Lord Jesus Christ.

Homily preached by Father Paul Farren
(Check against delivery)

There are many tragedies at this time in our world and there are many awful things that we have to accept as normal.  One of the greatest tragedies and most awful reality is that we have to be physically distant from people.  It is not the way we are called to be – keeping people at a distance.  I know that it is necessary at the moment and that makes it so much more painful. 

It wasn’t the attitude of the Good Samaritan in the Gospel today either.  The first two people – they kept their distance.  They didn’t get involved.  They walked passed.  But the Good Samaritan – that person did something different.  He stopped.  He had compassion.  He got involved.  He touched the wounded person and he lifted him on to his mount.  He gave him a dignity.  He gave him life.  Even though he didn’t come from his group he saw him as his neighbour – his brother – his friend.  This, Jesus, tells us is what we must do if we are to inherit eternal life.  We live our faith by how we treat one another – by how we give life to one another.  This is the road we need to be on if our desired destination is heaven.  This is the road that God wants us to be on because he wants each one of us to be with him in heaven for ever.  This is the deepest desire of God that we are with him and Jesus tells us it is only possible if we show compassion – if we give dignity – if we give life to others. 

John Hume, whose funeral Mass we have gathered to celebrate this morning, never passed by on the other side.  John never kept a distance.  He stopped.  He showed compassion.  He got involved.  He gave dignity and he gave life to so many people.  In a time in our world when often small mindedness and self-focus seems to be the driver John never put anybody or any specific group first.  He put everybody first.  He didn’t focus on difference and division.  He focused on unity and peace and giving that dignity to every person.  We should never underestimate how difficult it was for John to cross the road and do what was intensely unpopular for the greater good.  It was compassion – a compassion that bubbled over in the cemetery in Greysteel that drove John on the final and often lonely and always difficult road to peace.  Even in the darkest moments, when people would have been forgiven for having no hope, John made peace visible for others.  His vision revealed what could be and with time and determination and single-mindedness and stubbornness he convinced others that peace could be a reality.  He never lost faith in peace and he never lost faith in his ability to convince others that peace was the only way.  If ever you want to see a man who gave his life for his country, and his health, that man is John Hume.  The world knows it.  He is the only person in the world to have received the Noble Peace Prize, The Gandhi Peace Prize and the Martin Luther King Peace Prize.  Pope Benedict XVI made him a Knight Commander of the Papal Order of Saint Gregory the Great. 

In the midst of all of this John was a proud Derry man first and foremost.  His commitment to Derry was second to none.  His aim was to bring life and prosperity to this city – to lift people out of poverty and he did everything possible to make that a reality.  He always said his proudest achievement was the establishment of the Credit Union. 

But my fondest memories of John weren’t directly around his incredible achievements there were here in this Cathedral.  In his retirement and as his health declined every day possible John came to Mass and every evening, and this is my fondest memory, he came over here and sat at the back and prayed quietly.  In all the houses he was in White houses and houses of parliaments and many others it was in this house, the house of God, that he found greatest peace.  It was in this house that John recognised the presence of God and his need for God – for his mercy – for his love.  Here before his God the humility of John was plain to be seen.   

Today we truly give thanks to God for the gift of John Hume and for all the gifts that so many people have received because of the remarkable life that he has lived and the courage and determination that he has shown.  We give thanks to God for the gift of life itself that so many people have today simply because of John’s vision of peace, commitment to peace and to making peace a reality.  Because make no mistake about it – there are people alive today who would not be alive had it not been for John’s vision and his work. 

As we thank God for John we pray for you John’s family who also made massive sacrifices for peace.  Your father and your grandfather couldn’t be at home too much because there were too many people along the way home that needed help.  He couldn’t pass anybody.  He brought many of them home.  When you came down for breakfast any morning you never knew who might be at the table from the most famous politician to a lady needing to be rehoused.  You never knew who would be knocking at your door or tragically sometimes trying to burn your door down.  Today as we pray for you we thank you for the gift of your father. 

We pray especially for you Pat.  There is an old comment that says behind every good man there is a good woman.  In Pat’s case this is one quarter of the truth.  Pat stood behind John to defend him and support him.  She stood beside him to love him and accompany him even in the most difficult times and when his health failed and his mind got weaker she walked in front of him to lead him.  Pat encircled John with love, compassion and support and it was your presence that made his work possible.  When the history of Ireland is written if Pat Hume’s name is not beside John’s it will be an incomplete history. 

John and Pat, have secured their place in the history of Ireland, John being Ireland’s Greatest.  Today we pray that John has secured his place not in Ireland, not in Europe but in paradise.  Jesus tells us – Blessed are the peacemakers they shall be called children of God.  Today we can be confident that a son of God has gone home.  John lived his faith in the most practical way.  His favourite gospel was the Good Samaritan.  It was the Gospel of Jesus Christ and Catholic Social teaching that shaped his work for peace. 

Our prayer today is that the peace John got here in this Cathedral and the peace he worked to give the people of this country was just a foretaste of the peace he is now experiencing where all suffering is gone and his mind has recovered its youthful vigour.  There in paradise, where there is no social distancing, may John be resting in the heart of Jesus seeing the face of God for ever and ever.  Amen.    

Prayer of the Faithful
Prayers read by John’s grandchildren

Dee – Dear Lord, Grandad, took to heart the teaching of Jesus “Blessed are the peacemakers, they shall be called children of God”.  We pray that we continue on the path to sustainable peace.  A peace that is transformative.  A peace that is just.  A peace that is equal and built on respect for all people and planet.

Lord hear us.

Aoibhe – Dear Lord, Grandad lived his faith with courage and generosity of spirit – may that spirit live in all of us so we too live courageously and truthfully.  We pray for our carers and nurses, especially those in Owenmor who took such great care of my Grandad.  They care for our parents and grandparents and loved ones and in doing so, they care for all of us and for future generations. Let us not forget.

Lord hear us.

Dear Lord, we pray today for the many other families across our islands who have lost loved ones during this difficult time.  May you comfort and support them in their time of grief.  We pray for those who have gone before us, especially John’s parents, Sam and Annie, his brother Harry and his sisters, Annie, Sally and Agnes.

Lord hear us.

Rachel – Dear Lord, the coronavirus denies us the ability to embrace one another physically – may Grandad’s vision help us to embrace each other spiritually and politically as we live in these difficult times.

Lord hear us.

Úna – We pray that we build on the peace that Grandad helped create by creating a community that cherishes the rich divergence of all who live in this land.  We pray for communities who have been affected by injustice and conflict.  May their struggles for justice be recognised.

Lord hear us.

Poem by Aidan Hume, read by Mo Hume.

The Liturgy of the Eucharist
Presentation of Gifts  
An Cuaileann

Prayer over the Gifts

Eucharistic Acclamations
Mystery of Faith

The Communion Rite
The Lord’s Prayer
Lamb of God

Communion Hymns:
Ag Críost an Síol (O’Riada)
Pie Jesu (Lloyd Webber)

Post Communion Prayer
Táimse im Chodladh 

Final Commendation
Recessional Procession 
The Town I Loved so Well (composed and played by Phil Coulter)

Soloist: Anne Marie Hickey
Organist: Aidan Watkins
Violin: Frank Gallagher
Fiddle: Paraic O’Brien

Notes for Editors

  • Father Paul Farren, a native of Clonmany in Inishowen, Co Donegal, was ordained a priest in 1997.  He studied in Saint Patrick’s College, Maynooth, and The Catholic University of America in Washington DC.  He is currently Administrator of Saint Eugene’s Cathedral in Derry and is the Director of its Catechetical Centre.  Father Farren is the author of Freedom and Forgiveness – a fresh look at the sacrament of Reconciliation and also Vulnerable and Free – an encouragement for those sharing in the life of Jesus. 
  • BBC will be live-streaming the Funeral Mass from inside the cathedral and will share their feed with the main broadcasters who are part of the UK pools. 
  • RTÉ will also broadcast the Funeral Mass on RTÉ One, RTÉ News Now, and on its online and digital platforms. 
  • In addition, a live-stream will be available from the webcam in Saint Eugene’s Cathedral      

For media contact: Catholic Communications Office Maynooth: Martin Long +353 (0) 86 172 7678 and Katie Crosby +353 (0) 86 862 3298.