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Tuesday, 29 August 2017

Requiem for Bishop Geoffrey in Gibraltar Cathedral

The late Bishop Geoffrey at his last visit to Gibraltar Cathedral in 2013
I celebrated a requiem mass for Bishop Geoffrey Rowell in what was his Cathedral Church of the Holy Trinity, on Wednesday 23 August. I was assisted by the Locum Priest, Canon Gordon Reid and the able corps of Cathedral servers. The Cathedral choir sung the service. 

Following the homily, the Revd Doreen Cage from the neighbouring parish of Malaga gave a short tribute. Mother Doreen was one of the last persons that Bishop Geoffrey ordained (to the diaconate) and it was fitting that she was among the voices heard at the requiem. Here are her words:
I have such fond memories of Bishop Geoffrey and give thanks for his pastoral care. He frequently visited St Stephen's House Oxford where I was training and would always seek me out, greet me affectionately and spend some time with me. We were academically poles apart but he never made me feel less than I was.
He ordained me deacon at Holy Trinity Pro Cathedral Brussels and although he would have never ordained me priest it says something about him that he had been apart of my selection process knowing that I was not staying hopefully as a deacon. He had a quote for every situation and I saw him as a living Oxford Dictionary of Quotes. I saw him as a very holy man, dedicated to our Lord, immersed in he scriptures, zealous for church unity and an ambassador of such in our Diocese.
Our Lord and those who are there with Him are receiving an amazing person and we benefited from a life given to Jesus, holiness and service. Rest in Peace Bishop Geoffrey, my brother in Christ. 

In attendance at the Eucharist, besides Cathedral parishioners and a delegation from Malaga, was the Governor of Gibraltar, HE Edward G. M. Davis, CB, CBE. The Chief Minister of Gibraltar (who was out of the territory) sent Minister John Cortes as his representative. Monsignor Bear represented the Roman Catholic Bishop Carmel Zammit.

I chose for the Gospel St John 6.51-58, "I am the living bread that came down from heaven", knowing of Bishop Geoffrey's deep love and devotion to the Holy Eucharist, which is summed up in a verse from a hymn he wrote:

All praise and thanks, my Lord and God
For this your greatest gift to me;
Your very Self to be my food,
The love-feast of eternity.

Requiescat in pace.

Window in Gibraltar Cathedral

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