Cardinal Joseph L. Bernardin laid to rest 1,300 fill Chicago cathedral for ceremony

Leaders, family, friends bid prelate farewell

November 21, 1996|By BOSTON GLOBE

CHICAGO -- In a ceremony that blended the pageantry of a state funeral with the ancient Roman Catholic mysteries of the Mass, Cardinal Joseph Louis Bernardin, archbishop of Chicago and one of the most revered and influential religious leaders of his time, was laid to rest yesterday.

Light filtered through the stained-glass windows of Holy Name Cathedral, and the cardinal's biretta sat on his empty altar chair. And many of the leaders of the U.S. Roman Catholic Church, as well as Vice President Al Gore, other members of the Clinton administration and hundreds of dignitaries, gathered to bid the cardinal farewell.

About 1,300 people filled Holy Name Cathedral, near Chicago's Magnificent Mile, to pray, sing and listen to words of praise and fond remembrances of Cardinal Bernardin, leader of the nation's second-largest Catholic archdiocese for 14 years.

After the 2 1/2 -hour funeral Mass, Cardinal Bernardin's body was taken on a winding 19-mile journey through the streets of the city to Mount Carmel Cemetery, where he was interred in the Bishop's Mausoleum, alongside other Chicago archbishops.

It was the prelate's final journey through a city whose streets he had loved to stroll. The recessional of more than 100 vehicles drew thousands of onlookers, who took a break from work, study and shopping to catch a glimpse of the gray hearse.

As the funeral service began -- the cathedral's bells ringing -- cardinals, archbishops and bishops in miters and chasubles, some from Rome and other parts of the world, entered the church, while hundreds of religious and lay people stood outside, listening to loudspeakers.

"Almighty and merciful God, eternal shepherd of your people, listen to our prayers and grant that your servant, Joseph Cardinal Bernardin, to whom you entrusted the care of this church, may enter the joy of his eternal master, there to receive the rich reward of his labors," Cardinal Roger Mahony of Los Angeles said in his opening prayer.

Before his death last Thursday, Cardinal Bernardin had chosen Cardinal Mahony, a close friend and key church ally, as the main celebrant of the Mass and had selected Monsignor Kenneth Velo, the prelate's most trusted aide and one of his closest friends, to deliver the homily.

Cardinal Bernardin's death has touched this city, where a portion of State Street in front of Holy Name has been renamed Cardinal Bernardin Way.

Monsignor Velo's homily blended humorous and touching anecdotes about Cardinal Bernardin. He recalled the cardinal's penchant for falling asleep while they drove to various events.

But Cardinal Bernardin also was a solicitous man who made time for visitors seeking comfort. The prelate carried in his pocket a copy of "The Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi," whose most famous line is: "Lord make me an instrument of your peace."

Pub Date: 11/21/96

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