How blest are those who have died in the Lord:
let them rest from their labours, let them rest
for their good works go with them, for their good works go with them.
Eternal rest give unto him, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine on him.
May he rest in peace. May he rest in peace.
How blest are those
It was a measure of the respect and affection felt for Mgr Peter Smith that St Paul’s, Whiteinch was full – sanctuary and pews – for his funeral on 23 October 2021. Mgr. Peter had been ill with cancer for some six years and died in the Prince & Princess of Wales Hospice on 10 October.
His body had been received on the previous evening into the church of which he was parish priest and which he loved so much , with Canon Peter McBride leading the vigil service. The following day, his funeral Mass was concelebrated by Archdiocesan Administrator Mgr Hugh Bradley and the priests of the Archdiocese as well as Archbishop Emeritus Mario Conti and Bishops John Keenan and Joseph Toal. Members of Mgr Peter’s family, including his parents were in the congregation.
The music for the Mass was supported by the Archdiocesan choir, the St Mungo Singers, who had worked with Mgr Smith at so many Diocesan services over the years, and by Dr Noel Donnelly on harp.
In his homily, Mgr Bradley spoke with warmth and affection of Mgr Peter. His first thoughts, he said had been for Mgr. Peter’s family, knowing how important they had been to him and how they had looked after him during the period of lockdown. He also recognised the loss that would be felt by Archdiocesan staff with whom he had worked for many years and by the community of St Paul’s.
Indeed St Paul’s had been the church where he had served as a deacon at the beginning of his journey and it was the church where he ended his priestly ministry, after serving in so many parishes. His talent for administration had meant he had also served in the Marriage Tribunal, the Archdiocesan Curia, as Master of Ceremonies for Archdiocesan events, and had taken a major part in organising the Papal visit in 2010. He had also been an attaché to the Holy See’s mission at the United Nations.
On a personal note, Mgr. Hugh remembered his great hospitality when welcoming friends to the various parish houses he had lived in. The first readiing from Isaiah 25:6-9 had been so appropriate for him. Mgr. Peter, he said, had loved people and had been a man of great faith. Even during his illness he had acted as adviser on canon law to the Working Group on Child Abuse.
Closing with a reference to the psalm response which had been used – You show your friends the path of life, give them the fullness of joy – he invited people to be happy for Mgr Peter today because he did not doubt that he would be experiencing that fullness of joy.
At the end of the Mass , Archbishop Conti took the opportunity, before leading the final rites, to add his own reflection. He suggested that Peter’s parents had made an inspired choice when they chose his baptismal name, as he had proved indeed a rock of faith and support for the Diocese, and he expressed his own thanks for his service to the Church.
The parish community paid its own final tribute to Mgr Peter by providing a generous finger buffet for all who had attended the funeral.