From Canon Anthony Charlton of Saint Thomas, Canterbury, a further reflection on respect for the bodies of the dead.
Last month, Fr John and I were at St. George’s Cathedral, Southwark, for Solemn Evening Prayer in honour of St John the Apostle and Evangelist and the Rites of Re-internment for the body of Bishop John Butt who had been buried in the aisle of the seminary chapel where we both trained. He founded the seminary in 1891. As you know St John’s Seminary closed last year.
Along with Bishop Butt’s body was the heart of Cardinal Francis Bourne which had been placed in the wall of the side altar of St Francis de Sales in the Seminary Chapel. Francis Bourne had been appointed first rector of the seminary by Bishop Butt. It had been his request that his heart be placed in the seminary when he died.
Showing due respect for these mortal remains emphasises that our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit. Cardinal Nicols said these words of committal:
In the sure and certain hope of the resurrection to eternal life through our Lord Jesus Christ, we commend to almighty God our brothers John and Francis and commit their mortal remains to their resting place. The Lord bless them and keep them, the Lord make his face shine upon them, and be gracious unto them, the Lord lift up his countenance upon them and give them peace.
More news from Wonersh tomorrow.