"HAPPY in hope", the motto Archbishop Dwyer chose 30 years ago at his consecration as Bishop of Leeds was how Archbishop Worlock of Liverpool remembered the man, his life and influence at a Requiem Mass held last Thursday at St Chad's Cathedral, Birmingham.
The cathedral was completely packed with hundreds of mourners, including 30 other bishops from England and Wales and more than 270 priests who had gathered from all over the world to give thanks for the life of the most Rev George Patrick Dwyer, Archbishop of Birmingham from 1965 to 1981, who died two weeks ago aged 79.
recollected with affection the stocky figure of Archbishop Dwyer preaching the panegyric at the funeral of Cardinal Heenan, his brother-bishop, with whom he was so long associated, and stated that he would try to keep to the brief Dwyer had felt his friend would have wanted. He quoted from Dwyer's famous statement on Moral Questions when he wrote "The crown of Christian life is a Christian death" and spoke of the example Dwyer had given in his retirement and illhealth, when "spe gaudentes" still applied.
Archbishop Dwyer remembered, Page 5 remembered Dwyer as a great priest, saying that he was confident that "History will remember him amongst our Church's 'greats' in his own right". His strength, Worlock stated, lay in his directness and lack of humbug, being "utterly devoted to the priesthood and to the people he was called to serve." These qualities lay behind his advocacy of and action in replacing Latin with English in the Mass.
Dwyer was also recalled as a brilliant and vivid teacher, having had a sparkling academic record as a student. He had completed two doctorates and en years of teaching at St Bede's, I vlanchester when Dr Heenan nvited him to help restart the Catholic Missionary Society, explained Worlock, which he did successfully for ten years till he was appointed to Leeds, overseeing the General Mission, the Catholic Enquiry Centre and the writing of the course for converts to the faith.
Some of Archbishop Dwyer's other achievements include being the only non-Archbishop of Westminster to be elected President of the Bishop's Conference (for three years) and work on the Commission for the rule of dioceses, not to mention television appearances. He is buried at Oscott College, Birmingham.