Hume receives papal knighthood
ST EUGENE’S Cathedral in Derry was packed to capacity on Saturday night for the investiture of former SDLP leader John Hume as a papal knight.
Mr Hume was made a Knight Commander of St Gregory by Pope Benedict last July and on Saturday night his life-long friend, the retired Bishop of Derry Dr Edward Daly, conducted the investiture ceremony.
The award is one of dozens of awards Mr Hume has received in recognition of his work for peace. In 1998 he shared the Nobel Peace Prize with the then leader of the Ulster Unionist Party, David Trimble.
At Saturday’s ceremony in Mr Hume’s home cathedral, Bishop Daly described the former politician as someone who was years ahead of his time and said that his determination to pursue a non-violent path had inspired many people around the world.
“John demonstrated to us that there was a non-violent and effective way to address the issues and injustices that confronted us. He consistently demonstrated and exemplified that there was another way, a way that would not involve bloodshed, fear, destruction, intimidation, misery or thuggery, a way of dialogue rather than armed conflict. His generosity and selflessness were epitomised in the manner in which he donated the entire cash element of his Nobel Peace Prize equally to the St Vincent de Paul Society and the Salvation Army,” he said.
Speaking after the ceremony, Mr Hume said he was both humbled and honoured.
“I see it not as an award for me but for the people of Derry. If it hadn’t been for the great support from the people of Derry I wouldn’t have been able to have represented them nor achieve anything I did achieve,” he said.