Thursday 7th April, 2005


PM misses Requiem for Pope

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Archbishop Edward Gilbert, right, welcomes President George Maxwell Richards and his wife, Jean, during a special Requiem Mass for Pope John Paul II at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Port-of-Spain, yesterday.

Members of the congregation accept Communion during the mass.

Photos: Shirley Bahadur

Prime Minister Patrick Manning was notably absent from yesterday’s Requiem Mass for the late Pope John Paul II at the Cathedral of Immaculate Conception in Port-of-Spain.

While several ministers could give no reason for the PM’s absence, Fr Christian Perreira said the church had received a call at 3 pm from the PM, informing them that he would not be attending.

Perreira said, however, they were given no official reason why.

However, White Hall, in a statement last night, said the Mass was not on the PM’s schedule yesterday.

This aside, the Mass was carried out to a packed church and forecourt, where additional seating was put to accommodate the expected crowd.

Afterwards, the congregation was addressed by Archbishop Edward Gilbert, who paid tribute to the life of the late Pope.

In his address, Gilbert said the Pope had influenced many, including diplomatic leaders of the world.

The Pope, he said, went to the people and insisted on meeting the young.

He urged people to follow the Pope’s teaching about giving tangible assistance to those in despair.

However, Gilbert noted that the Pope’s prayers had not only been for the poor, since he had noticed that the spirituality of the rich and powerful had become shallow.

The Apostolic Nuncio, the Rev Thomas E Gullickson, was at yesterday’s Mass, as were several ministers and dignitaries.

Among them were President George Maxwell Richards and wife Jean, former presidents Sir Ellis Clarke and Arthur NR Robinson and Ministers Keith Rowley, Ken Valley, Joan Yuille-Williams, John Rahael, Howard Chin Lee.

Several members of the Opposition were also there, including UNC leader Basdeo Panday and his wife Oma.

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