Londonderry native, Archbishop Eamon Martin, told mourners the late Bishop Edward Daly was a great priest and a courageous and fearless leader who made an indelible impression on his adopted city.
Speaking at the end of Bishop Daly’s funeral Mass on Thursday and before the final commendation, he said: “Bishop Donal, dear brothers and sisters, over the past few days tens of thousands of people have visited this Cathedral out of great respect for Bishop Edward Daly; many tributes have been paid to him; countless words have been written, reflecting on his immense contribution to the life of Derry city and diocese and to peace and justice in Ireland; above all, the people who knew and loved Bishop Daly have been able to share stories of him and tell their children and grandchildren about the caring ministry of a great priest and bishop.
“All our memories have been gathered and offered in this beautiful and fitting celebration of praise to God where we have been able to give thanks for Bishop Daly’s tireless service and entrust his soul to the mercy of our loving Saviour.
“There is little more for me to add, except, on behalf of my fellow bishops and of the faithful all over Ireland to express again our gratitude to God: for calling and gifting such a wonderful priest and bishop with charisms that made him so uniquely suited to service in this time and place;
for Bishop Edward’s parents and family who first fostered in him such deep love for God and nurtured his vocation to the priesthood;
and, for all those who helped develop and sustain his vocation by their friendship, prayers, encouragement, care and guidance.
“‘Hey Mister are you a priest?’ That young boy’s question may have lodged in Father Daly’s memory, but there was never any doubt that Edward Daly was a great priest, a caring and compassionate pastor, a man of prayer and peace, a courageous and fearless leader, a special person. Saint John Vianney once described priesthood as ‘the love of the heart of Jesus’. For almost sixty years we have been privileged to have that love shine among us in the life, ministry and service of Edward Daly, priest and bishop.
“We are saddened of course at his parting, but we trust in God’s mercy that he is at peace. While many hearts are hurting in Derry and around Ireland this week, we are consoled in being able to say we knew a good and faithful servant of the Lord.
“As I stand here at the very spot in this Cathedral where Bishop Daly ordained me to the priesthood 29 years ago, I’m thinking: if only I could be even half the priest and bishop that he was, I know I’d be serving God well. Well done and thank you Bishop Daly, good and faithful servant. Go now and receive in God’s mercy the reward that He has prepared for you.”