Queen Elizabeth II re-opens Borders Railway, Sept. 9, 2015. / Scottish Government via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Birmingham, England, Sep 9, 2022 / 16:00 pm (CNA).

Catholic officials from Commonwealth countries around the world have expressed their sorrow and offered their prayers in response to the death of Queen Elizabeth II.

Elizabeth died Sept. 8 at Balmoral Castle in Scotland at age 96. Her family had gathered at the castle, including her eldest son, who has succeeded her as King Charles III.

Cardinal Vincent Nichols of Westminster said, “Queen Elizabeth II will remain, always, a shining light in our history. May she now rest in peace. We pray for His Majesty the King, as he assumes his new office even as he mourns his mother. God save the King.”

Wishes have come in from much further afield, including from many Catholic members of the Commonwealth.

In addition to the U.K. there are 14 Commonwealth realms over which the British monarch is head of state. The wider Commonwealth of Nations, a political association largely made of former British colonies, is made up of 56 countries.

Archbishop Timothy Costelloe of Perth, Australia, reflected on the queen’s role as head of the Commonwealth in his message: “The death of Queen Elizabeth II, after a long reign marked by extraordinary constancy, fidelity, courage, and service, will bring great sadness to many people in Australia, including members of the Catholic community.”

“As the queen enters into the great mystery of eternal life with the Lord, we will pray for the repose of her soul and for the support and comfort of her family, her nation, and the wider community of the Commonwealth.”

Bishop Raymond Poisson of St-Jérôme-Mont-Laurier, Canada, president of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, said in his statement that, in each of Her Majesty’s 22 visits to Canada, “Canadians found in her an example of service, patriotism, respect for humanity, and devotion to God.”

He said, “She will be forever remembered for her remarkable service to the people of our country and the entire Commonwealth. We grieve her loss, with all her subjects, and recall in a special way the Church of England, of which she was Supreme Governor.”

The Catholic bishops of New Zealand delivered a statement in Maori and in English paying tribute to the queen.

Their statement read: “The white heron takes flight into the night. Queen Elizabeth, head of the Anglican Church, servant of God, farewell, return to the Lord.”

“Most people in Aotearoa New Zealand today have known no other monarch than Queen Elizabeth II. She has been a constant in our country’s remarkable progress. Hers has been an Elizabethan Age the like of which we may never see again.”

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