We mark the sad passing on 1 September 2017 of Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor aged 85. Cardinal Cormac was the much loved uncle of our Headmaster, James Murphy-O’Connor and his family. Cardinal Cormac was Archbishop Emeritus of Westminster (from 2000 to 2009) and an alumnus of Prior Park College (class of 1949) where he and his brothers were educated.
Prior Park had always had a very special place in Cardinal Cormac’s heart and he supported the school with love, care and compassion over many years. His most notable Prior Park achievement was his long tenure as the President of the Prior Park Educational Trust but he was the friend to many current and past pupils, staff and parents. His most personal and cherished involvement with the College in latter years was the annual conferment of the Sacrament of Confirmation to our confirmation candidates in our Chapel, Our Lady of the Snows, which held a special place in his heart.
After his education at Prior Park College, Cardinal Cormac joined two of his brothers at the Venerable English College, Rome, to train as a priest. He began his ministry in Hampshire but at the end of 1971 returned to Rome following his appointment as Rector of the Venerable English College, his alma mater. In 1977 he was appointed Bishop of Arundel and Brighton. In 2000 Cardinal Cormac was appointed tenth Archbishop of Westminster in succession to Cardinal Basil Hume. The following year, on 21 February 2001, he was created a Cardinal Priest. Among the other new cardinals created that day was Jorge Mario Bergoglio, the future Pope Francis, with whom he enjoyed a long and cherished friendship.
Cardinal Cormac will be remembered for his outstanding career within the Roman Catholic Church, for his intelligence, his personal warmth, humour and persuasive leadership and above all his great sense of fun and interest in people from all walks of life. Cardinal Cormac’s funeral will be held on 13 September 2017 at Westminster Cathedral and the College community is praying for the repose of his soul and for his family, friends and colleagues, including our own Headmaster and his family, who greatly mourn his loss.