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Funeral in Rome. Pope presides at farewell for Cardinal Pell

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Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re celebrates the funeral of Cardinal George Pell in St Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican on 14 January 2023. Photo: CNS, Vatican Media

Cardinal to lie in state in St Mary’s cathedral

Cardinal George Pell will be buried in the crypt of St Mary’s Cathedral in Sydney following a Pontifical Requiem Mass on Thursday 2 February at 11am. The Mass will be open to the public.

Cardinal Pell will lie in state at St Mary’s Cathedral from 9:30am on Wednesday 1 February.
Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP will be the Principal Celebrant at the Mass, following which the Cardinal will be buried in a private ceremony in the Cathedral crypt.

Cathedral Dean Father Don Richardson said thousands of mourners from Australia and overseas are expected to attend.

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“Cardinal Pell left a remarkable legacy for the Catholic Church in Australia and this will undoubtedly be one of the most significant funerals ever held at the Cathedral”, he said.
“Cardinal Pell was also known and highly respected by many overseas due to his numerous roles in the Vatican over many decades. The Mass will be livestreamed on the St Mary’s Cathedral You Tube Channel to allow overseas mourners to participate in the ceremony”.

Before the Vatican ceremony Cardinal Pell’s coffin lay in state in the church of St Stephen of the Abyssinians in the grounds of the Vatican. Photo: CNS, Vatican Media

Fr Richardson said screens will be erected in the St Mary’s Cathedral forecourt to accommodate the large numbers of mourners expected to attend and pay their respects to the deceased cardinal who served as Archbishop of Sydney from 2001-2014.

For mourners unable to attend the Requiem Mass on 2 February, there will also be a Mass for the Dead at St Mary’s Cathedral on Wednesday 1 February at 1:10pm and 8pm.

There will also be an Evening Prayer and Vigil on Wednesday 1 February at 5:30pm.
The death of Cardinal Pell came as a shock because just five days earlier he had concelebrated the funeral of Pope Benedict XVI and “seemed in good health,” said Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, dean of the College of Cardinals.

The cardinal’s coffin is sprinkled with holy water, below, before its departure from St Peter’s. Photo: CNS, Vatican Media

In his homily at Cardinal Pell’s funeral Mass on 14 January in St Peter’s Basilica, Cardinal Re described the Australian prelate as often being “a strong-willed and decisive protagonist” with “a strong temperament that, at times, could appear harsh.”

Cardinal Pell died of a heart attack on 10 January at a Rome hospital after undergoing hip surgery. He was 81.

The pope, who had praised the cardinal for keeping his faith “with perseverance even in the hour of trial,” arrived in St Peter’s Basilica at the end of the Mass to preside over the final rite of commendation, as he usually does for cardinals who die in Rome.

“The last years of his life were marked by an unjust and painful condemnation,” Cardinal Re said, referring to Cardinal Pell’s conviction on charges of sexual abuse and his 404 days in jail before the Australian high court overturned the conviction.

Danny Casey, right, former business manager of the Archdiocese of Sydney, attends the funeral Mass for Australian Cardinal George Pell in St. Peter’s Basilica. Photo: CNS, Vatican media

Cardinal Re told mourners that the court “exonerated him with a sentence of full innocence, and he was finally able to leave prison.”

Cardinal Pell’s trust in God amid such suffering, he said, is an example of “how to accept even unjust punishments with dignity and inner peace.”

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