Emotions high at Bishop Joe's final goodbye

CEREMONY: ‘Sombre, deeply moving yet beautiful’. A fitting farewell for a man described as a “bishop of the world”.
CEREMONY: ‘Sombre, deeply moving yet beautiful’. A fitting farewell for a man described as a “bishop of the world”.

TEARS flowed as the coffin carrying Bishop Joseph Grech was accompanied down the aisle of Sacred Heart Cathedral.Those who could reach out, touched the coffin to say their last goodbye.The thousands of people at the funeral showed that Bishop Grech had touched the lives of many Catholics and non-Catholics, from all walks of life.The solemn yet moving service was full of ceremonial traditions and rituals, led by Archbishop Cardinal George Pell and a throng of bishops and priests.Bishop Grech’s Maltese heritage also played a role in the service, with some words spoken in Maltese, which was fitting for a man described as a “bishop of the world”.Bishop Grech’s travels had made him known to more than just people in the Sandhurst Diocese and Australia, and it was acknowledged that despite thousands attending the funeral, many more people had missed out on saying their goodbyes.Member for Bendigo Steve Gibbons described the funeral as a fine and fitting tribute to Bishop Grech.“I thought the service was a sombre, deeply moving, yet beautiful occasion, especially the singing and in particular the soloist,’’ he said.People were moved, and on occasion clapped to express their gratitude to the service and finally their thanks to Bishop Grech, sixth Bishop of Sandhurst.