Cardinal Hume leads mourning in Westminster Cathedral
By CHRISITNA WI ETE CARDINAL BASIL HUME, Archbishop of Westminster, will offer a sung Requiem Mass, at Westminster Cathedral at 5.30 this evening to pray for Diana, Princess of Wales and those who died with her in the car crash in Paris in the early hours of Sunday morning. Prayers will be said for the Royal Family and in particular for the sons of the Princess, Princes William and Harry. Diana's mother, Mrs Frances Shand-Kydd, has already confirmed she will attend. Evening Prayer for the Dead will precede the Mass.
The Requiem Mass culminates five days of unprece dented mourning and an outpouring of public grief. Across the United Kingdom, the Catholic community has expressed its sympathy. Masses have been offered, candles lit and prayers said as the country came to terms with the untimely death of the "People's Princess".
Interviewed by the Today programme on Radio 4 on Sunday morning, the Cardinal caught the tenor of the country. Amid the eulogies and public expressions of anguish he summed up the quiet thoughts of a nation: "I can't help reflect how much sadness she had in her life, but how much good she did," he said. "There are a great deal of ques tions: how was this girl treated by so many people over the years to make her suffer so much. These are the questions that must be asked. At the moment it is time to mourn."
Mother Teresa, who met the Princess on a number of occasions, most recently during a visit to New York in June, offered her prayers for a woman she described as "a simple person, and a good wife and mother". Diana, she recalled, "helped me to help the poor and that's the most beautiful thing". Their empathy, she said, was based on a love and concern for the poor; they never discussed the Princess's turbulent private life.
Pope John Paul II, who first met the Princess of Wales when she accompanied her husband to the Vatican for a private audience in April 1985, sent a message of condolence to the Queen this week: "Deeply saddened at the news of the tragic death of Diana, Princess of Wales, the Holy Father has offered prayers commending her to our Heavenly Father's eternal love. His Holiness asks you kindly to convey his heartfelt condolences to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, assuring her that he shares the sorrow of the British people. He invokes divine comfort and peace upon all who are in mourning."
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