BY Ian Dunn | August 5 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS     print icon print

1 Glasgow cathedral WW1

Church, society commemorates First World War centenary

Britain offers ‘salute’ to the sacrifice of all those involved in the conflict 100 years after it entered the Great War

Cardinal Vincent Nichols of Westminster offered a Requiem Mass for the fallen of the First World War last night, the centenary of the United Kingdom’s entry into the war.

The Mass at Westminster Cathedral was just one of a number of commemoration events taking place around the United Kingdom yesterday. These centred around a special service at Glasgow Cathedral (above) attended by Archbishop Philip Tartaglia of Glasgow with special guests including Prince Charles, UK Prime Minister David Cameron, First Minister Alex Salmond and Commonwealth heads of government, as well as UK and Irish politicians. It was followed by a wreath-laying ceremony at the Cenotaph in Glasgow. Bishop Stephen Robson took part in Dundee’s memorial on Saturday and last night’s commemoration in Paisley ended with a vigil at St Mirin’s Cathedral with Bishop John Keenan.

Cardinal Nichols (below) said the horror of the First World War remained hard to understand a hundred years on.

“No one could have imagined that in the following four years over ten million soldiers would have been killed as well as many millions of civilians,” he preached. “It is for them all that we pray this evening, in this Requiem Mass. We include in our prayers the two million German soldiers who died. We give special place to the million soldiers who lost their lives in the ranks of the British forces. Among those ranks were Australians, Canadians, South Africans, New Zealanders and Indians, not forgetting the numbers of Irish men who volunteered to fight, too.”

The cardinal said that the commemoration service was a ‘salute’ to the sacrifice of all those involved in the conflict.

“We commemorate their heroism, their loyalty, their bravery often in utterly impossible circumstances of horror and helplessness,” he said. “And, in our Catholic tradition, we pray for them. We pray for the repose of their souls in the peaceful presence of God and we pray for the coming of that final resurrection when they will rise again, from every horrendous grave, to live for ever in the glorious presence of God. This is our faith. This is the faith of the Church. We are proud to profess it, especially on this solemn day.”




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