Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor has today celebrated a Mass of Thanksgiving in the private chapel of Archbishop's House.
The Mass, which started at 1.00pm, was dedicated to the presence and work of his Household, Sisters Clement, Pius and Damian, who have worked with him from 2000 - 2009 in Archbishop's House during his time as Archbishop of Westminster and as Cardinal. The Mass, which was concelebrated by clergy including Auxiliary Bishops of Westminster, John Arnold, Alan Hopes and Bernard Longley and Martin Hayes, the Cardinal' s Private Secretary ,was also an opportunity to bid farewell to Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor as he moves to a new home in Chiswick, west London. The Papal Nuncio, Archbishop's House staff and representatives of the Bishops' Conference of England and Wales were also present for the Mass of Thanksgiving.
In his homily the Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor paid tribute to the friendship and support of Priests, Religious Sisters and staff and said: 'The sisters of the household have made this house a home. I'd like to say that I have always felt very supported, very sustained by the friendship and affection of people here.'
After the Mass, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor presented Sisters Clement, Pius and Damian with gifts in recognition of their work and joined Auxiliary Bishops, Priests and Archbishop's House staff for a buffet lunch.
At around 2.50pm, Cardinal Cormac-Murphy-O'Connor left Archbishop's House together with Sister Clement, Pius and Damian, and was driven to his new home in Chiswick. Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor retired as Archbishop of Westminster on 3 April 2009. All previous Archbishops of Westminster have died before their retirement and today's farewell was therefore a unique historical event in the history of the Diocese of Westminster.
Archbishop Vincent Nichols, the Archbishop-Elect of Westminster, will take up residence at Archbishop’s House over the next few days. The Mass of Installation, when he will officially become the 11th Archbishop of Westminster, takes place at 12 noon on Thursday 21 May 2009.