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Requiem farewells monarch

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Flowers rest beside a framed portrait of Her Majesty in St Mary’s Cathedral, above, last Saturday 24 September during the special Mass for the repose of her soul. Photos: Giovanni Portelli Photography © 2022

Sydneysiders, including leaders of state and dignitaries, turned out for an historic Mass celebrated for Queen Elizabeth II in St Mary’s Cathedral last weekend

Her late Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, was “a model of faith expressed in public service, of calm and steadfastness in adversity, and of leadership and comfort for her people,” Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP said in his homily for the Queen’s Pontifical Requiem Mass at St Mary’s Basilica on 24 September.

While the Holy Scriptures are “ambivalent” about monarchy, celebrating good kings alongside a litany of those who “did what was evil in the sight of God, with disastrous effects”, Queen Elizabeth was a gracious queen who lived a life of fidelity to her calling, Archbishop Fisher said.

“Elizabeth’s vocation was clearer than most. Yet still, she had to choose,” he added.
“Her uncle had said No; her grandson would also; her father Only-because-I-must. It came too soon. It might extend a long time. It would be challenging.

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Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP leads prayers during the Mass. Photo Giovanni Portelli Photography © 2022

But if God laid this task on her young shoulders, He would grace her to be a ‘gracious queen’. She responded with fidelity, praying regularly, attending church, living Christian civility.”

The Pontifical Requiem Mass was concelebrated by Auxiliary bishops Terence Brady and Richard Umbers and the Ordinary of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of the Southern Cross, Monsignor Carl Reid, with priests of the Archdiocese and wider Church.

But if God laid this task on her young shoulders, He would grace her to be a ‘gracious queen’. She responded with fidelity, praying regularly, attending church, living Christian civility.” – Archbishop Fisher OP

The clergy were clothed in black vestments of mourning, rarely-seen by Catholics since the Second Vatican Council – some of which were sourced from the Cathedral’s archive.

The Cathedral choir sung a selection of pieces in honour of the late monarch, including an offertory motet composed by Anglican liturgical composer Herbert Howells for Queen Elizabeth’s coronation in 1953.

The choir also led the congregation in the hymn “Guide me O Thou Great Redeemer”, traditionally used at Royal funerals and weddings, and the Royal Anthem “God Save the King”, with magnificent accompaniment from trumpets and horns.

Readings were given by Her Excellency the Hon. Margaret Beazley AC KC, Governor of NSW, who represented His Majesty King Charles III, and former Governor-General of Australia, General the Hon. Sir Peter Cosgrove AK CVO MC.

Archimandrite Christophorous Krikelis of the Greek Orthodox Church in Australia, was among the many dignitaries in attendance. Photo: Giovanni Portelli Photography © 2022

A host of other dignitaries were in attendance, including the Lord Mayor of Sydney, Rt Hon. Clover Moore; the President of the Court of Appeal, the Hon. Justice Julie Ward; the Chancellor of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia, Very Rev. Archimandrite Christophoros Krikelis.

Members of the Federal and NSW Parliaments, judges, councillors and consular representatives of Commonwealth countries Bangladesh, Malta, Namibia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea and the United Kingdom also came to pay their respects.

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