National Police Requiem Mass 2021
The National Police Requiem Mass took place on Tuesday 9 November at Westminster Cathedral. Given last years Covid restrictions, it was the first time in two years we had been able to gather together to celebrate the Mass at the Cathedral, the Guilds' spiritual home, although thanks to the seemingly new facility to livestream Masses we were able to have a Requiem Mass last year celebrated from his own parish church in Bolton, Greater Manchester by our National Chaplain Fr. Barry Lomax.
The purpose of the Requiem Mass is to remember and pray for those police officers and staff who have died both on and off duty whether they be of our faith, other faiths or had no faith at all. In addition, we also remember and pray for Guild members who have passed away over the previous twelve months and as such we were once again joined by representatives from police forces throughout England and Wales.
This years Mass was the 98th such Requiem and already the Guild is planning ahead for not only next year but the centenary Mass in 2023.
We were delighted to welcome Bishop Alan Williams SM, the Bishop of Brentwood, to his first Police Requiem Mass in his new role as our link with the Bishops Conference. He was joined in celebrating the Mass by the Catholic Police Guilds' National Chaplain and Chaplain to GMP Fr Barry Lomax, Fr Paul Fox (Essex Police), Fr Eugene Campbell (Avon and Somerset Police) and Fr Liam Bradley (Dyfed-Powys Police) and was assisted by Rev Gary May (Deacon from Portsmouth Diocese and who has dealings with Hampshire Police and is Chaplain to the Isle of Wight prisons).
Also present were Rev David Wilbraham (National Police Chaplain) and Rev Jonathan Osborne (Met Police Chaplain).
Representing HM Government, was the Rt. Hon Kit Malthouse MP (Minister of State for Policing and Justice) who read out the names contained in the Roll of Honour of officers who have died this year, one of whom was PC Tris Baker. His partner and children were in the congregation given that one of Tris' responsibilities was a Cadet Leader with Essex Police and, as ever, the Essex Police cadets always attend the Requiem in good numbers, and it was great to see that tradition continuing this year.
We were also joined by officers from the PSNI who have this year, despite many obstacles having been put in their way, formed a Catholic Police Guild within their Force. We, as the England and Wales Guild, have been offering them support over the period of time they have been setting up and will continue to offer both our prayers and any practical support we can to our policing colleagues in the north of Ireland.
It is customary for police headdress to be processed into the sanctuary and left there during the Mass and this year, for the first time, an addition was a PSNI cap.
Prior to the Mass, the congregation was addressed by His Eminence Cardinal Vincent Nichols. Given the recent murder of Sir David Amess and the unfavourable press and comments that followed aimed at the police service generally concerning access to the crime scene for a local priest, Cardinal Nichols and the Metropolitan Police Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick who was also present at the Mass, have been in contact since the incident and have agreed to form a working group to look into this matter. It had been decided to release a statement around the time the Cardinal was speaking to the congregation and it can be found at -
The Guild would like to place on record once again our thanks for all those involved in the Requiem including the relevant Cathedral staff and the Metropolitan Police Choir under the direction of Mr. Richard Fox and we look forward to everyone being able to attend next years Mass, the provisional date of which has been set for Tuesday 8 November 2022 at 1400HRS.