Funeral for former Catholic Bishop of Clifton

Image caption, Bishop Mervyn's coffin was received by Clifton Cathedral on Sunday

More than 2,000 people have paid their respects at the funeral of the former Bishop of Clifton in Bristol.

The Right Reverend Mervyn Alexander, 85, who died on 14 August, held the position between 1974 and 2001.

A requiem mass was followed by a burial in the grounds of Clifton Cathedral.

Clifton Diocese is the Catholic diocese for the west of England covering Bristol, Gloucestershire, Somerset and Wiltshire.

Father Michael McAndrew, paying tribute to Bishop Mervyn, said: "He was a very gentle pastoral leader and I think he set the tone for the Catholic community in this area.

"He had a great interest in people who didn't believe. He was on this Vatican Secretariat for non-believers, although he was always keen to emphasise he believed himself.

'Man of humility'

"We are bereaved. We have lost a great man but I think there is also a sense of fulfilment. This is what his life was aimed at.

"He believed in the resurrection and that is what the people gathering are coming to pray for - that he shares in the risen life of Christ now in heaven."

The requiem mass was celebrated by Bishop Mervyn's successor, Bishop Declan Lang, who described him as "a man of humility, a good and holy man".

On his retirement, Bishop Mervyn returned to Weston-super-Mare, as parish priest of St Joseph's, a role he fulfilled until 2008.

There are 107 parishes within 13 deaneries serving a Catholic population of about 190,000.

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