The Cardinal Celebrates his Golden Jubilee

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Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, the Archbishop of Westminster and spiritual leader of the five million Roman Catholics of England and Wales, celebrates the 50th anniversary of his Ordination as Priest on Saturday 28 October 2006.

To mark the Golden Jubilee, Pope Benedict XVI has sent a special Apostolic Blessing and message of congratulation to Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor in which he says: “We give thanks to God, the giver of all blessings, for the great achievements of your long apostolate among your people and where you will surely be honoured and our joy shared by everyone.”

A special Jubilee Mass will be celebrated by Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor at Westminster Cathedral, London, at 5.30pm on Sunday, 29th October 2006. In his homily he will say that the essence of Priesthood is to be of service to others.

“On the day of my ordination, above all, I recognised that my Priesthood was not for myself but for others and that it was to be a life of service to the People of God. For that I dedicated my life.” He will also point out that people today are as ready to hear the call of God as they were 50 years ago: “Vocations have not dried up. The faith has not dried up. The hope that is in Christ has not dried up. It is there, still in our midst.”

Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor was born in 1932 in Reading, Berkshire. After studying for the priesthood at the English College in Rome he was ordained a priest of the diocese of Portsmouth in 1956. In 1971 he was appointed Rector of the English College in Rome, and Bishop of Arundel and Brighton in 1977.

From 1982 to 2000 he served as Co-Chairman of the Anglican and Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC). In February 2000 he was appointed Archbishop of Westminster in succession to Cardinal Hume. He was named to the College of Cardinals on 22 February 2001 and with them elected Pope Benedict XVI on 19 April 2005.