Requiem Mass for Dom Antony Tumelty

7th September 2017

Fr Antony has asked me not to say anything about him this afternoon, but rather to speak only about God, his infinite love and mercy and the precious gift of life, his own life, which he has shared with us through the Incarnation of his Divine Son, Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, and his Sacrifice on the Cross, in which we are united to him through the Sacraments and in our own personal suffering, which must always be seen in the light of Our Lord's Passion and Death. He asked me to tell you, his beloved community, family and friends, to focus on God and worship him alone, for nothing else matters. He wanted no attention whatever drawn to himself, but asked us simply to pray for the repose of his soul. St Paul wrote to the Philippians, "You have been granted the privilege not only to believe in Christ but also to suffer for his sake." (Ph. 1:29) May we see in our own sufferings, whatever they may be, a privileged participation in the sufferings of Christ, the Sacrifice of the Eternal High Priest.

In today's second reading, we heard St Paul say, "The sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us." (Rm. 8:18) Our faith teaches us that Christ has opened the gates of Heaven to those who believe and take up their cross every day and follow him. Nevertheless, despite our good intentions and many prayers, we are all conscious of our failings and sinfulness. As we grow older and prepare for death, we are even more aware of our need for God's mercy and forgiveness. St Benedict tells his monks in the Holy Rule that we should always keep death before our eyes. As Catholics we firmly believe in the reality and truth of Purgatory and of the need to pray for the dead. Indeed, that is the very purpose of a Requiem Mass and of our many Mass intentions. Purgatory is not a place of punishment but of purification; it is the antechamber or narthex, you could say, that leads up to the gates of Heaven and "the glory which shall be revealed in us."
It is the duty of every Christian to pray for the souls in Purgatory, the Church Expectant, especially the souls that have been forgotten and have no one to pray for them. It is the greatest act of charity. In Purgatory the souls of the faithful departed are filled with joyful hope as their sins are washed away and their burdens lifted. There their wedding garments are restored to their pristine beauty in anticipation of the heavenly Bridegroom's call, inviting them to enter the Banquet of the Lamb, "Come, you blessed of my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world." (Matt. 25:34) This is Fr Antony's final word and testament to us all.

Requiem aeternam dona ei, Domine, et lux perpetua luceat ei. Requiescat in pace. Amen.