ROME — At the funeral of Cardinal Bernard Law on Thursday, Cardinal Angelo Sodano said that every one of us is imperfect, but that we must give ourselves over to the loving mercy of God the Father.
Cardinal Sodano, who is dean of the College of Cardinals, presided over the Dec. 21 funeral Mass of Cardinal Bernard Law, the former archbishop of Boston, who died Dec. 20 after a hospitalization for congenital heart failure.
As it says in the funeral liturgy, “the souls of the just are in the hands of the Lord,” he said, noting that these words illuminate our lives and give us hope in God’s mercy.
In his homily, Cardinal Sodano said that life is a precious gift, and for bishops, that gift of life has the great mission of serving God and man.
Sodano also remarked that it was a habit of Cardinal Law’s to repeat a phrase from the breviary, which says, “I seek your face, O Lord.” Now he will be given the opportunity to seek the Lord’s face, the cardinal said.
He added that those gathered at the funeral should pray for the eternal repose of Cardinal Law’s soul.
The funeral took place the afternoon of Dec. 21 in Rome, at the Altar of the Chair in St. Peter’s Basilica. As is customary at the funeral Mass for cardinals, after the Eucharistic celebration Pope Francis presided over the rite of Last Commendation and the Valediction.
Cardinal Law will be buried in a tomb at Rome’s Basilica of St. Mary Major, which is customary for the priests who have served there.
There were 30 cardinals present at the funeral Mass, including American cardinals Raymond Burke, Edwin O’Brien, James Harvey, and Kevin Farrell.
Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin and his immediate predecessor, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, were also in attendance.
The Mass was also attended by several ambassadors to the Holy See, including U.S. ambassador-designate to the Holy See, Callista Gingrich, and her husband Newt Gingrich. Louis Bono, Chargé d’Affaires to the U.S. Embassy to the Holy See, was also present.
An estimated 200-250 people attended the funeral Mass.