Page 14, 18th October 1936

18th October 1936
Page 14
Page 14, 18th October 1936 — Mgr. McNulty's Tribute

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People: Mgr, Joseph Thorman


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Mgr. McNulty's Tribute

" He Loved The Poor "

A simple and beautiful panegyric was preached by the Bishop of Nottingham, who said: " The solemn and holy purpose for which we are gathered together is to offer to Almighty God the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and our sincere prayers for the eternal repose of the soul of a model priest and a model bishop. We praise and thank Almighty God for having given to us Joseph Thorman to be our fellowlabourer in His Vineyard and the spiritual father of the clergy and faithful of this great diocese for 11 full and fruitful years, and now that he is taken from us we say: 'Thy will be done.'

" Joseph Thorman was one of yourselves, a North-countryman, born in Gateshead 65 years ago; and the whole of his life was spent in the diocese of which. he ultimately became bishop.

" The biographer of his great predecessor in the episcopate and the patron of this diocese, the holy and gentle Saint Cuthbert, applies to the saint words which we may with justice appropriate to the late Bishop. The events of his career,' he writes, ' are few and mostly hidden. His whole episcopate seems to bear the character of a mission indefinitely prolonged.'

Alter Christus

" Like Saint Cuthbert," said Mgr. McNulty, " Bishop Thorman gave his life unreservedly to the service of God. His one desire was to be ' alter Christus,' and like his Divine model his only wish was to be about his Father's business.

"The work of his life, whether as priest or as Bishop, was done quietly and efficiently and without any fuss for his Divine Master and for the spiritual wellbeing of the souls committed to his care. True to his episcopal motto ' Servitor Maneo' (I remain a servant) his life was dedicated to constant service for others without thought of re/ J or desire for applause.

"He loved his diocese and he was proud of his clergy and his people, for whose sake he strove always to obey the command of the Wise Man, ' Whatsoever thy hand is able to do, do it earnestly.'

" He Loved the Poor"

" He loved the poor and he loved God's little ones, and, after the zealous and careful administration of the diocese they were his chief concern. His experience, first of the lives of his people in the colliery district of Langley Moor, and later in the large industrial parish of St. Andrew's, Newcastle, inspired him with a special affection and sympathy for the labouring poor which he retained to the end of his life.

" Both at Langley Moor and at St. Andrew's, the poor, especially the poor children, were his constant care, and all who laboured and were heavily burdened found in him an affectionate and sympathetic father.

" His knowledge of industrial conditions in the North and of the danger to his people of false social propaganda was of the greatest value to him when he became bishop, and led to his appointment in 1928 as President of the Catholic Social Guild in succession to the late Archbishop Keating.

" Always suspicious of any of the modern short-cuts to prosperity, he wrote:

"'There is a great need to convince Catholics generally that they have a social duty and it is our part to insist again and again that all human relations are to be founded upon and guided by the same Christian principles as govern men individually.'

" A little more than a year ago, after a most painful illness borne with exemplary • patience, he wrote to the secretary of the Guild, By the goodness of God I am back at the altar, and I am trying to pay off a little of my immeasurable debts. Tomorrow I propose to offer my long overdue Mass for the guild.'

A Monument " Seven years ago," continued Mgr. McNulty, " the late Bishop founded the Children's Care and Homes Committee, for children who are destitute or in danger of losing their faith, the children being cared for in four homes at Newcastle, Gainford, Tudhoe and Darlington.

" If you would raise a monument to ,Alis memory, you could not surely do better than support these homes and extend thiS work for the spiritual and temporal welfare of the children of the poor whom he loved so much.

"Not unconnected with his keen interest in the spread of Catholic social principles and his work for poor boys and girls, was his concern for the true education of our Catholic children," said Mgr. McNulty. " In the struggle for our schools during the past few years the late bishop was always in the forefront, striving might and main that our schools should remain within the national system and yet retain their truly Catholic character, with Catholic teachers and under Catholic control."

A Record Diocese " The record of this diocese in school building and development during the past 11 years is probably unequalled in any

other diocese in the country. Under his guidance and inspiration, and as a result of the splendid efforts on the part of the clergy and people, he saw new schools built, others extended and brought up to date in nearly every corner of his diocese.

" By his death the Church in England has been deprived of a holy Bishop, while we, his fellow bishops, mourn the loss of a valued colleague and friend. But yours is the heavier loss—his priests and his faithful people—you who have experienced his fatherly care and guidance during the past 11 years."

Impressive Scenes

After Mass the funeral procession passed between kneeling crowds and proceeded on its way to Ushaw College where the burial was to take place. As the cortege passed through the villages en route, small groups that had gathered in the main streets paid a last farewell to the bishop whom they all loved.

Here and there were hands of pitmen, whose begrimed faces showed they had just left work, standing cap-in-hand as the procession passed. The little children too allowed away from their lessons for a few minutes lined up by the roadside and added their sweet innocent prayers to the supplication of a sorrowing diocese.

So the cortege reached Ushaw College, our Bishop's college where he began his priesthood and to which he was returning to find a last resting place.

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