Huge turnout to farewell Archbishop Faulkner
The South Australian Governor, Premier, Opposition Leader, religious leaders, bishops and priests from around Australia were among more than 1300 people attending the funeral of Emeritus Archbishop Leonard Faulkner this morning.
St Francis Xavier’s Cathedral was overflowing with worshippers wanting to pay their final respects while several hundred people watched the proceedings on a large screen in Mary MacKillop Plaza and those who couldn’t attend viewed the live stream event.
On Sunday evening, hundreds attended the Vigil Liturgy celebrated by Bishop Timothy Harris of Townsville with Adelaide Archbishop Philip Wilson presiding.
Archbishop Wilson was the principal celebrant at the Mass of Christian Burial and concelebrants included the Nuncio, archbishops and bishops from around Australia, and priests from the dioceses of Port Pirie, Townsville and Darwin as well as other dioceses and religious orders.
In his Welcome to Country, John Lochowiak from Centacare Catholic Family Services described Archbishop Faulkner as a “great friend” of the Aboriginal community and the Otherway Centre.
“He worked well with our elders and supported and encouraged our youth,” an emotional Mr Lochowiak said, adding that he was the first bishop to establish an Aboriginal Catholic Ministry.
“We loved him. He was part of our family, one big happy family, God’s family.”
The Nuncio His Excellency Most Reverend Adolfo Tito Yllana read out a message from Pope Francis offering his prayerful condolences to the clergy, religious and lay faithful of Adelaide and expressing his gratitude for Archbishop Faulkner’s many years of dedicated episcopal ministry.
In his homily, Archbishop Wilson spoke of the influence of the Young Christian Workers Movement on Archbishop Faulkner’s life. “The pattern of See, Judge and Act, the pattern of that apostolic activity not only characterised his life as a priest, but also went on to influence and colour his ministry as bishop,” he said.
Outside the Cathedral, he told media Archbishop Faulkner was a “very gentle, kind shepherd”.
Fr Maurice Shinnick delivered the tribute to Archbishop Faulkner.
“His vision of the Church as a community for the world was underpinned by a deep, personal relationship with Jesus Christ, shown in his love for the Gospels, in his quiet prayer before the Blessed Sacrament, in praying both the Divine Office and the Rosary of Mary every day,” he said.
“By living out this vision he led this local Church of Adelaide in the development of basic ecclesial communities within parishes. He was committed to ecumenical and interfaith partnerships – including welcoming the Dalai Lama to the Cathedral, by shared leadership in the Lutheran – Roman Catholic Dialogue and friendships made within the Heads of Christian Churches regular meetings.
“He showed a compassionate and respectful ministry among people living with HIV/AIDS. We witnessed his belief that Catholic Education enriched families and made an important contribution to our Australian society.
“We saw his sincere appreciation of the unique place which the religious sisters, priests and brothers had among the People of God, and valued the dynamic presence of so many multicultural communities in the Archdiocese.”
Fr Shinnick said Archbishop Faulkner celebrated his last Mass on Good Shepherd Sunday.
“As son and brother, as priest and bishop, Leonard Anthony Faulkner was a good shepherd who gave his life ‘as one who serves’ without counting the cost and always with a great spirit of optimistic joy.”
Ninety priests made a guard of honour for the funeral cortege through Victoria Square which was closed to traffic after the funeral Mass. The rite of committal was attended by family, clergy and close friends at the West Terrace Cemetery (Catholic section).
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