It was a great honour and privilege for me to be able to conduct the funeral Mass of Fr Cecil. The number of people who attended spoke volumes about just how effective his ministry had been and how deep an affection all that knew him held him in.
Fr Cecil had a great love of the parish of St Wilfrid and made it his home for many years. He always said it was one of the most friendly churches he had ever had the privilege of knowing. You realise what a compliment that is when you think of the fact that he must have known quite a few parishes during his sixty-two years of priesthood. His death, whilst not unexpected, still came as a blow to those of us who knew him. His final illness had not been an easy time but he bore it bravely with the love and support of Sheila and the rest of his family.
His presence in our parish family will be deeply missed, but the legacy of his witness to Jesus Christ in his ministry and in his time with us will be around for many years to come.
“So he who had received five talents came and brought five other talents, saying, “Lord you delivered to me five talents; look I have gained you five more talents besides them.” “His Lord said to him, “well done good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your Lord.” (Matthew 25: 20-21)
Fr. Bill Bulloch
(as entered in the August 2002
edition of the St. Wilfrid's Magazine following the funeral of Fr. Cecil at St.
Wilfrid's Church on 16 July, 2002. Fr. Bill conducted the service.)
In affectionate remembrance of
Father Cecil Champneys Burnham
When we think of the life of Father Cecil
We know he was someone very special
For the church magazine from time to time
Displayed his latest work in rhyme
The subjects ranged from fact to rumour
But all were delivered in such good humour
It must be good for one’s epitaph
To say ‘He could make people laugh’
The rhyme that I like best of all
Is the mouse at Harvest Festival
We are all so sorry that it’s come to an end
And we say goodbye to a very old friend
For 62 years he served as a priest
For that alone he deserves a feast
The gates of Heaven will open wide
And St. Peter will say ‘Come inside’
You’ve laboured long and served God truly
Would you like to try our heavenly brulee
As on your wings you start to buckle
We’ll remember you with a smile and a chuckle