FR. MICHAEL WRITES:-
Shortly after midnight last Wednesday morning 19th July, Fr Peter, after just a fortnight of hospitalisation, was called home to the Lord. He died in the odour of sanctity, many times anointed, peacefully assured in his faith and supported in his keeping watch for the approach of the Lord by his friends the Phelan family and Sr Natalia athis bedside. So concluded fifty-four years of service as a priest to the people of Westminster Diocese, mainly in our parish of Our Lady of Grace and St Edward’s Chiswick. He was in the ninety-first year of his age. This photograph of him is from happier times, which is to say from his 90th Birthday Celebrations on New Year’s Day this year. His birthday, in fact, was 31st Dec, but being New Year’s Eve, and a Saturday, I thought we’d be much better off inviting him to celebrate the 12.15pm Sunday Mass on New Year’s Day, the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God, and then to have a party in the Parish Centre. He hugely enjoyed the day as did we the parish. It enabled all of us to recognise and to thank God for Fr Peter’s being an inspiration not just on that day, which he certainly was, but for decades besides and for his ministry among many thousands of fellow pilgrims. He celebrated his last Mass for the parish on his own feast day, the Solemnity of Sts Peter and Paul, 29th June, less than three weeks before he died. We have much to thank him for; much for which to thank God. May this gentle servant of the Gospel, rest in peace.
At 6.00pm on Monday 31st July, the Feast of St Ignatius of Loyola, we’ll have Mass with the Reception of Canon Peter’s body. His Eminence Cardinal Cormac will be the principal celebrant. Although we will not have a formal reception afterwards, nonetheless the Parish Club will unusually be open for those who wish. The Requiem Mass will be at 11.30am on Tuesday 1st August celebrated by the Rt Rev’d Bishop John Wilson, auxiliary bishop for West London, on behalf of the Cardinal Archbishop who unfortunately cannot be with us. The sermon will be preached by Fr Peter’s great friend, Fr. Dominic McKenna. Mass will be followed both by burial at Chiswick New Cemetery as well as a Parish Reception in the Centre.