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Isabel Fraser reports
"Cardinal Winning's funeral created a sense of community"
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Monday, 25 June, 2001, 18:28 GMT 19:28 UK
Cardinal's people say goodbye
Holy cross Church
Hundreds filled Holy Cross Church in Crosshill
By BBC News Online's Brian Ponsonby

At a church in the south side of Glasgow on Monday, several hundred Catholics came to remember and pay their respects to Cardinal Thomas Winning.

But rather than take part in a sombre service, the congregation laughed and celebrated his life.

For them, the "superstar" of the Catholic Church in Scotland - as Bishop Joseph Devine referred to him - had never lost the common touch.

Cardinal Winning
The congregation prayed for Cardinal Winning
It was this genuine ability to connect with people that endeared "Cardinal Tom" to ordinary parishioners and prompted so many to watch the televised funeral mass in six Glasgow churches rather than in the privacy of their own homes.

Holy Cross Church in Crosshill gave ordinary Catholics from the south side of the city their chance to say goodbye.

Several hundred filtered through its doors before the service at St Andrew's Cathedral got under way at 1200 BST.

They were greeted by church passkeepers - ordinary people from Holy Cross parish who gave up their spare time to ensure the televised service passed smoothly and with dignity.

A framed photograph of Thomas Winning in his red cardinal robes grinned at people of all ages as they made their way to the pews.

Zest for life

Perhaps this was appropriate for a service that would constantly refer to the late cleric's sense of humour and zest for life.

Just before 1200 BST, a huge screen positioned in front of the altar flickered into life and relayed pictures from the city centre service.

The eyes of the congregation, usually fixed on a single priest, followed the senior church figures, politicians, and ordinary people taking their places.

He was a man of the people and had time for everyone

Charles Campbell, Parishioner, Holy Cross Church
Some wept quietly as the Papal Nuncio read out a message to the people of the Glasgow Archdiocese.

Others closed tightly in prayer during a reading from St Paul's letter to the Romans and the Gospel, delivered by Deacon Frank Wilson.

However, mostly people's eyes lit up and laughed as Bishop Joseph Devine led a humorous tribute to Scotland's most senior catholic.

As the service progressed, the congregation faithfully followed the events at St Andrew's - moving, laughing and singing in unison.

When it was over they emerged from the south side church into bright sunlight, stopping to say hello to familiar faces and share thoughts about their late cardinal.

'Wonderful man'

Many of them had met "Tom" on several occasions while others had admired his work and enthusiasm from afar.

Bridget Corr travelled from her parish to attend the special screening at Holy Cross.

"I wanted to go to the mass and receive holy communion and I felt it wasn't the same sitting in the comfort of the house," she said.

Bridget Corr
Bridget Corr "loved the Cardinal"
"I loved the cardinal and thought he was a wonderful man."

She recalled meeting him on a recent trip to Lourdes and talked warmly of his ability to make people feel welcome and appreciated.

She also said that although Cardinal Winning "did not get a good response sometimes" he was "quite right" to speak out on controversial issues like abortion and Section 28.

One of the many people attending the televised service on their lunch break from work was Patricia Moran.

Although her local parish is Christ the King in Croftfoot, she said she "wanted to be part of a crowd to take it all in".

'Good leader'

"I know family and friends are gathering at home to watch it but I couldn't be part of that, so, I just wanted to be with other people," she said.

She added: "I think he was a good leader but he was outspoken."

Frank McAveety, MSP for Glasgow Shettleston, was also in the congregation.

Patricia Moran
Patricia Moran "wanted to be with other people"
He said: "Being a Catholic, it was important to celebrate the mass with the rest of the Catholic community in Scotland who are expressing their sadness at the loss of Thomas Winning."

Mr McAveety paid tribute to the churchman's "forthright" views.

"I think underpinning what Tom Winning was about was a sense of what it was to be a Catholic in Scotland," he said.

"The fact that he brought catholicism out, perhaps, from behind the doors to the mainstream, indicates that Catholics are playing a role in modern Scotland."

'Human values'

Another politician in the congregation was Springburn councillor Alan Stewart, who attended with his 89-year-old mother.

He said he would remember the "fighting qualities" of Cardinal Winning, his "human values" and the way he "defended causes with vigour".

Mr Stewart added: "In the year 2001 you need priests with vigour to tackle all these economic and political problems that exist in the world and I think it's important that the church has a say there."

Frank McAveety MSP and Councillor Alan Stewart talk after the service
He said Cardinal Winning epitomised this spirit and was a "one-off".

Overseeing the televised service at Holy Cross was local parishioner and passkeeper Charles Campbell.

He said: "It was a social event for the parishioners of the church. It got them together."

Mr Campbell knew the cardinal personally for many years and was in Rome when he was elevated to the office of cardinal in 1994.

He summed him up simply by saying: "He was a man of the people and had time for everyone."

That was a sentiment shared by everyone who made their own personal pilgrimage to Holy Cross on Monday.

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See also:

25 Jun 01 | Scotland
Bishop's tribute to 'church's man'
25 Jun 01 | Scotland
Picture gallery: Cardinal's funeral
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