Catholic Herald Reporter ONE of the year's worst blizzards swept Northern Ireland on Wednesday as members of Church and State from his own country and abroad struggled to reach Armagh for the funeral of Cardinal D'Alton, Primate of All Ireland, who died on Friday last week.
Overnight snowstorms and galcforce winds had disrupted communications and caused extensive power cuts. Many of the 20 Irish Bishops and ten Bishops who had hoped to attend from Britain failed to arrive.
BBC, Radio Eireann and Telefis Eireann technicians working under what they described as "atrocious conditions", used their own diesel generators to relay the ceremonies by radio and television—ceremonies lit only by candlelight and natural light filtering in through the Cathedral windows.
Cardinal McIntyre, Archbishop of Los Angeles — who was in Armagh only two yeare, ago as Papal Legate .for the Patrician Year ceremonies — returned on Wednesday for the solemn funeral ceremonies. There, too, was Cardinal Spellman who flew to Ireland only a day or so after arriving back in New York after attending the funeral at Westminster of Cardinal Godfrey.
Archbishop Grimsh aesw of Birmingham, due to attend as senior member of the British Hierarchy at the present time, was held back by the storm and his place was taken in giving one of the final absolutions by Arch bishop Murphy of Cardiff who had managed to get through. Bishop Cowderoy, Bishop Cashman (Auxiliary of Westminster) and Mgr. Worlock (secretary to the late Cardinal Godfrey) arrived safely, but Archbishop Heenan of Liverpool was unable to make it.
Mgr. Rowe represented the priests of Westminster Cathedral.
Heading the long list of Government, diplomatic, national and public bodies, was the President of the Irish Republic, Mr. Eamonn De Valera, and the Taoiseaeh, Mr. Sean Lemass and members of his government.
Thousands of people tried to hear or see the ceremonies on radio and television in their own homes. Fr. Agnellus Andrew, O.F.M., and Fr. Patrick McEnroe were to give the commentary. But many were disappointed. Power cuts cut again and again into the broadcast and telecast.
Earlier in the week thousands had climbed the 44 steps up to St. Patrick's Cathedral to file past the open coffin in which the 80-yearold cardinal lay in state before the high altar. By day and by night the men of Armagh had kept vigil beside their Archbishop whose death early on Friday morning in a Dublin nursing home had so shocked the world.
For two days, lights in his hometown of Claremorris had been blacked out. On the day of the funeral Belfast Catholic schools were closed and many blinds of shops and offices throughout the country were drawn as a sign of mourning.
On Saturday, the route from Dublin to Armagh was one of sadness as, with Archbishop McQuaid of Dublin presiding, the hearse was escorted by a guard of honour through lines of people anxious to pay their last respects, to the Border between the Republic and Northern Ireland, and so to the cardinal's own Cathedral city.
Those who had seen the courage of Ireland's Cardinal at Cardinal Godfrey's funeral Mass in Westminster Cathedral on Tuesday last week, and those who had seen the ceremonies on television, were those in this country to whom Cardinal D'Alton's death came as the biggest shock. "English Catholics still mourning the passing of their own Cardinal turned with prayerful sympathy towards the Catholics of Ireland to mourn the death of Cardinal D'Alton," wrote the London editor of the Irish Independent.
Speaking from Rome, Mgr. Ryan of the Vatican Secretariat of State, told of the Holy Father's grief and continued : "Bishop Cashman, Auxiliary of Westminster, and Mgr. Worlock who are now in Rome, also expressed their high regard and admiration and added :