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Friday 21st October 2016, St.Mirin

 

Bishop John Keenan, Bishop of Paisley, will be the principal celebrant and homilist at the Funeral Mass for his predecessor Bishop John Mone (Bishop of Paisley, 1988-2004) in St.Mirin’s Cathedral Paisley.  He will be accompanied by Archbishop Philip Tartaglia and Bishop Brian McGee and other Scottish Bishops, along with the priests of the Diocese of Paisley and the other Scottish dioceses, principally the Archdiocese of Glasgow where Bishop Mone was a priest for 32 years prior to his consecration as a bishop.  Numerous nieces and nephews of Bishop Mone and other relatives and friends will be in attendance along with a great many of the faithful of the Diocese of Paisley among others.

 

 

Archbishop Tartaglia was Bishop Mone’s immediate successor as Bishop of Paisley (November 2005) prior to becoming Archbishop of Glasgow (September 2012).  Bishop Brian McGee was a priest of the Diocese of Paisley until becoming Bishop of Argyll & the Isles (February 2016), he was ordained as a priest by Bishop Mone in St.Mary’s Greenock on 29th June 1989.

 

The other Scottish Bishops who are attending are:

 

Bishop Joseph Toal, Bishop of Motherwell,

Bishop Hugh Gilbert, Bishop of Aberdeen,

Bishop William Nolan, Bishop of Galloway.

 

They will be joined by the following retired Scottish Bishops:

 

Bishop Maurice Taylor, Bishop Emeritus of Galloway,

Bishop Peter Moran, Bishop Emeritus of Aberdeen.

 

Apologies have been received from Archbishop Leo Cushley of St.Andrews & Edinburgh and the other Scottish Bishops who cannot attend.

 

The Church of Scotland is represented by Rev. Ann McCool, Moderator of Greenock & Paisley Presbytery, and Rev.Alan Birss, Minister of Paisley Abbey.

 

Civic dignitaries attending the funeral will include George Adam MSP and representatives of the three local authorities which comprise the Diocese of Paisley, namely Renfrewshire, East Renfrewshire and Inverclyde.  Superintendent Robert Kennedy of Police Scotland is also attending.

 

Local Authority Representatives

 

Renfrewshire

Councillor Mark McMillan, Leader of the Council

 

East Renfrewshire

Councillor Tony Buchanan, Depute Leader
Councillor Elaine Green, Convenor, Education Policy Board
Inverclyde

 

Provost Robert Moran,
Councillor Stephen McCabe, Leader of the Council,
Councillor Ciano Rebecchi, (Former Provost)
Councillor Ronnie Ahlfeld,
Councillor Jim Clocherty
ENDS
For any further enquiries please contact: 
Rev.Thomas Boyle 
07900 492750.
Notes to editors
The text of Bishop John Keenan’s homily is copied below.
Dear brothers and sisters,
1. Saint John encourages us to ‘think of the love the Father has lavished on us by letting us be called God’s children’ and adopting us as part of His family.  Today we remember yet another dimension of that love lavished upon us by God when He raised up for us such a good shepherd in Bishop John Mone.   Bishop John was gentle, kind and holy.  The hundreds of tributes that have poured in, together with the fond stories and memories, can be distilled down to these qualities so uniquely knit together:  John Mone was a gentle, kind and holy shepherd, usually full of fun.
2. Jesus tells us not to let our hearts be troubled.  Surely our hearts are saddened at the passing of a pastor loved so deeply by so many of us.  And yet our sadness is overtaken by wider feelings of gratitude for a life poured out for us by this good priest and bishop.  And that gratitude gives way to confident hope that Bishop John has gone no further than from his room in the Little Sisters’ Residence to a room forever in His Father’s mansion, prepared by the Lord Jesus, Our Saviour.   Coming from such a large family himself, many of whom are with us today, and feeling at home in the big family of the Church, John would be the first to recognise the benefit to the Father house that it has many rooms.
3. The homily of any Mass, no less a Requiem Mass, should preach about Jesus.  It is out of the Body of Christ, broken for us on the holy mountain of Calvary, that the Father Almighty has prepared the banquet of our Salvation in the rich food and fine wine of His Son’s redeeming flesh and blood.  It is because of the humbling of Our Lord Jesus on the Cross that humanity’s veil of shame and disgrace has been removed.  It is His death that swallows up our death forever.  And so it is in the God of Our Lord Jesus Christ that we trust as we rejoice and are glad in His salvation.  Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life of our world, He and no other.  

 

4. Yet, there is something in all of us that knows what Saint Thomas means when He asks, ‘How can we know the way, Lord?  So in His mercy Jesus sends us holy brothers and sisters whose witness of good discipleship points our lives in the right direction.  As Saint Paul said to the faithful in his care, ‘Copy me as I copy Christ’.  Surely bishop John was just such quiet witness to follow.  From his earliest years he chose the Lord Jesus to be his Way, his Truth and his Life and so his life is a clear signpost of the path we should chose if we hope to find salvation in our turn.

 

 

 

5. John Mone followed the “way” of Christ from his baptism.  It was a difficult one at times, studying for the priesthood in post-war Paris, on rations with short supply of lighting and heat.  Ordained priest and returning home to Scotland the Way of Christ took him through St Ninian’s, Knightswood, for twenty three years to Our Lady and St George’s, Penilee, for four and St Joseph’s, Tollcross, as parish priest for five.  Always unassuming and attentive he left an indelible mark in all of those parishes.  His incredible memory for people, names and places is almost legendary and you wonder if there was not something as much divine as natural about it.  A parishioner from Knightswood, whom he met over twenty years after leaving the parish, was amazed how he could name all her family members, their home address and even the colour of their tenement door.  It was no surprise to anyone when he was asked to take on the responsibility of auxiliary bishop of Glasgow, to which he gave himself without stint for four years.

 

 

 

6. John Mone witnessed with courage to the “truth” of Christ as a bishop.  As president of SCIAF and of Justice and Peace he proclaimed truth as the justice of God, full of joy in his visits to the developing world while, at home, insistently challenging the government to show some mercy over the Dungavel detention centre.   As a Pioneer he lived out the truth in penance for the redemption of poor brothers and sisters whom, following the love of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, he took to his own heart with special affection.  As chair of the Catholic Marriage Advisory Council he lived the truth as friend and confidante of men and women following the path of their lay vocations in the ups and downs of ordinary family life.   Bishop John proclaimed every day the truth of Christ and yet he found his own unique way of doing so by leading always in love. 

 

 

 

7. Eventually as Bishop of Paisley he found himself entering nearer the fullness of Christ’s life for him.  He succeeded bishop Stephen McGill, having been baptised by the same priest as Bishop McGill, attending the same Primary School, having the same head teacher, and studying at the same Saint Sulpice Major Seminary.

 

 

 

8. As bishop, John distinguished himself as a pastor ready to listen, encourage and cajole.  In no time he won the confidence and loyalty of his priests.  He often told them you should never go to bed the same day that you got up as a way of letting them know they could get him, without hesitation, even up to midnight should the need arise.   They knew he loved them, never tired of them and was among them as one who served.

 

 

 

9. His humble, joyful method, with affection returned by the faithful, opened up Paisley diocese to the life of Christ.  He loved to gather with his people in celebrating important stages in their lives like baptisms, confirmations, weddings and ordinations.  He particularly loved our Chrism Masses and seeing our Cathedral full.

 

 

 

10. Saint John the Evangelist delighted in calling the faithful God’s children and bishop John had his own unique rapport with young people, whether it was visiting them in their schools or leading them in pilgrimage to Lourdes where he could often be found playing the piano in the Albertz bar well into the night, leading singsongs, unable to read a single note of music and ever at home with the young.  Bishop John loved Lourdes because he loved Our Blessed Mother, he loved little ones, like Saint Bernadette, and he loved, above all, the sick and suffering.  One thing he insisted upon in pastoral tours of parishes back home, we know, was that he be taken to visit the sick.  

 

 

 

11. It is perhaps no coincidence that two of the three Readings for this Mass are written by Saint John, the beloved disciple.  He, the one who leaned on the breast of the Master as the hour was coming for Jesus to pass from this world to the next, and knowing how His Master had loved Him to the very end, proclaimed the one abiding truth of our faith: that God is love.  Saint John went on to say that when Christ appears those of his disciples who have seen Him as He really is will appear to us as just like Him.  We give thanks to God for Bishop John Mone -a brother, priest, bishop and, above all a disciple- loved by God and beloved of his people who have had a shepherd among us just like Christ Our Lord, Our Only Saviour and Our Redeemer.

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