John Hume ‘lives on’ in peace dividend, anniversary Mass hears

Portrait of former SDLP leader and statesman superimposed on to Free Derry Corner

Derry’s leading arts festival Féile pays tribute to John Hume on the first anniversary of his passing. Photograph: Emmet McLaughlin

Derry’s leading arts festival Féile pays tribute to John Hume on the first anniversary of his passing. Photograph: Emmet McLaughlin

 

John Hume has been remembered as “just one of our own” on the first anniversary of his death at a simple service at St Eugene’s Cathedral, a short walk from his home in Derry’s Bogside.

Parishioners gathered with the Hume family on Tuesday evening for the low-key Mass absent of any trappings that might be expected for a Nobel laureate, architect of the peace process and internationally-renowned statesman.

The congregation recited the peace prayer of St Francis.

A short distance away a portrait of the former SDLP leader was superimposed onto Free Derry Corner.

Parish priest Fr Paul Farren said the “fairly simple Mass” was a reflection of the “simplicity of the man”.

“John was such a tremendous human being. We were very blessed to have had him in this city – he did wonders for the city and was so committed to Derry, but he didn’t stop there,” he said.

“I believe history will remember him as one of the great peacemakers of the world. We pray to follow his example of bringing people truly together.”

‘Praying on his own’

Fr Farren said many parishioners simply remember the long-time Foyle MP, civil rights activists and founder of Derry’s credit union “coming quietly over to the cathedral in the evening, and sitting quietly praying on his own”.

“That humble, reflective person who sat in silence before God,” he said. “And he was very much part of this parish. So the people of Derry see John as just one of our own. We still miss him. But we are very clear that his memory and his life will live on as peace becomes more and more of a reality.”

Former SDLP leader and Nobel laureate John Hume who died on August 3rd, 2020. Photograph: Leif Skoogfors/Getty
Former SDLP leader and Nobel laureate John Hume who died on August 3rd, 2020. Photograph: Leif Skoogfors/Getty

On Tuesday, the Hume family said their famous father “was just our Da and the fact that he was a politician was just what he did.

“Brexit would devastate him, but if he were alive and active he’d be thinking up creative ways to reform those bonds with Europe and reawaken a wider political consciousness.

“Dad didn’t seem to be daunted by what seemed impossible.”