Bishop Edward Daly’s calling led him “to walk with broken hearts”, visit prisoners and “stand speechless beside gaping graves,” those gathered at his First Anniversary Mass were told.
Current Bishop of Derry Dr Donal McKeown made the remarks about his predecessor while delivering his Homily at the Mass at St Eugene’s Cathedral on Saturday evening.
Bishop Daly died at Altnagelvin Hospital on August 8, 2016, at the age of 82.
Prayers were said at his graveside in the grounds of the Cathedral of Saturday. Following the Mass, a procession walked to the Bishop Daly Memorial Garden in the Bogside where prayers were led by the Bishop and roses were laid at the monument. Relatives of Bishop Daly were among those who attended both the Mass and the open-air service in the Bogside.
Speaking during the Mass, Bishop McKeown, while delivering his Homily, said: “Religious leadership and real holiness is about having a sense of the eternal God who calls us to see the dignity and beauty of God and of the little person loved by the almighty God.
“Bishop Daly knew that his call to holiness led him to walk with broken hearts, to visit those in prison and to stand speechless beside gaping graves.
“His example points out that the way forward for the Irish Church is neither in attempting to reconstruct a nostalgic picture of some non-existent Golden Age from the past nor in some idea of a fuzzy up-to- date God, who is fine with whatever whims take our fancy this year.
“On this feast of the Transfiguration, Bishop Daly might well remind us of his own faith conviction that only love of your enemy can build a humane future and that a Christ-like compassion for the suffering is a core element of genuine Christian faith. It is easy to mouth great principles – and forget the little people who often get crushed in the pursuit of some allegedly glorious ideal.
“If we are looking for leaders to transfigure this country, they will be self-sacrificing rather than self-serving.”
Relatives of those killed on Bloody Sunday, and veteran civil rights activists including John Hume and Ivan Cooper, were among those who attended the Mass and services at the weekend.
Vincent Coyle, who organised the community event at the memorial in the Bogside, said that it was important to pay homage to a man “who came city and showed love and commitment to our people”.
“Bishop Daly was a man of peace, a humble man and he could talk to anyone on any level,” he said.