‘Most significant funeral’: George Pell to lie in state at Sydney cathedral before private burial | George Pell

The body of Cardinal George Pell will lie in state at St Mary’s Cathedral in Sydney ahead of a requiem mass and private burial service on 2 February.

Pell, who was Australia’s most senior Catholic, died in Rome on 10 January aged 81.

Arrangements are being made for his body to be returned to Australia for burial in the crypt of St Mary’s.

The cardinal will lie in state at the cathedral from the morning of Wednesday 1 February, Sydney’s Catholic Archdiocese said in a statement on Tuesday evening.

Pell’s successor as archbishop of Sydney, Anthony Fisher, will be the principal celebrant at the pontifical requiem mass starting at 11am on Thursday 2 February before his burial in a private ceremony.

The NSW premier, Dominic Perrottet, and Victoria’s premier, Daniel Andrews, have ruled out holding state services for the former archbishop of Sydney and before that Melbourne.

Pell was the Vatican’s top finance minister before leaving in 2017 to stand trial in Melbourne on child sexual abuse charges for which he was jailed before his convictions were quashed.

In a statement on Tuesday evening, the St Mary’s Cathedral dean, Father Don Richardson, said thousands of mourners from Australia and overseas were expected to attend the mass.

“Cardinal Pell left a remarkable legacy for the Catholic church in Australia and this will undoubtedly be one of the most significant funerals ever held at the cathedral,” he said.

“Cardinal Pell was also known and highly respected by many overseas due to his numerous roles in the Vatican over many decades.”

The mass will be livestreamed on the St Mary’s Cathedral YouTube channel to allow overseas mourners to participate in the ceremony.

Richardson said screens would be erected in the cathedral forecourt to accommodate the large numbers of mourners expected to attend to pay their respects to Pell, who served as archbishop of Sydney from 2001 to 2014.

For mourners unable to attend the funeral mass on 2 February, there will be masses for the late cardinal at the cathedral on Wednesday 1 February at 1.10pm and 8pm.

Pell was farewelled on Saturday at a mass in St Peter’s Basilica – the same Vatican City church where Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI’s funeral was held last week.

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