An Irish woman who gave a reading at the funeral of the former pope Benedict XVI has said it was an honour.
Mary Maguire, from Letterkenny in Co Donegal, said she got “such a shock” after being asked on Monday morning to give a reading at the papal funeral.
She was asked to participate by Monsignor Kevin Gillespie, a senior administrator with the Diocese of Raphoe, who had previously worked in Rome.
“I just had so much joy in my heart afterwards, real, real joy. Although it’s a sad occasion, I just felt so much joy and (it’s) an honour to be here,” she told RTE News.
“To be reading today, if you were given a choice of readings, it’s certainly the one that you would want … And that was a beautiful reading today to do that to the whole world.”
The reading was from the first letter of St Peter, which speaks of a “new birth into a living hope”, an eternal life that “can never perish, spoil or fade”.
I was so calm, so unreal for me because I normally would be a nervous person. And I didn't look down at the crowd when I went to pick up the reading. I just kept focused on my reading— Mary Maguire speaking to RTE News
Ms Maguire added: “Strangely enough, nerves didn’t get to me this morning at all.
“I was so calm, so unreal for me because I normally would be a nervous person. And I didn’t look down at the crowd when I went to pick up the reading.
“I just kept focused on my reading and I didn’t think past where I was and what I was doing.”
The Vatican said some 50,000 people attended the Mass, after around 200,000 had paid their respects during three days of public viewing.
Benedict – formerly Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger and native of the German state of Bavaria – died on December 31 aged 95, and made history in becoming the first pope in six centuries to retire from the role.