'He lives on in the hearts of those who knew him' - hundreds pay respects to Kajetan at moving mass
- Credit: Courtesy of St Hugh of Lincoln Roman Catholic Church
The funeral mass for 18-year-old Kajetan Midgal - held at St Hugh of Lincoln Roman Catholic Church in Letchworth - was attended by around 700 people yesterday.
The Saint John Henry Newman pupil was fatally wounded in Stevenage last month on his way home from his school prom.
Friends and family gathered yesterday to say their goodbyes to Kajetan. An estimated 700 people attended the service - 300 in church and about 400 on Broadway Gardens were the service was live steamed via a maxi screen.
Tributes poured in across social media and in person, as mourners from across the UK and beyond gathered.
Mourners included school friends and communities, family from the UK, USA and Poland, church communities, and representatives from across the UK dance community.
Hundreds of young people and their families came from the Saint John Henry Newman school where Kajetan was due to take his A-levels this week, as well as from his former primary school St Thomas More.
Auxiliary Bishop, Paul McAleenan, conducted the funeral service with Fr James Garvey, St Hugh of Lincoln’s parish priest.
They were joined by nine other members of clergy from across the Stevenage Catholic Deanery.
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Cardinal Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster and President of the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, also sent a letter which was read by Fr Garvey at the mass.
Fr Garvey said: “At the funeral mass following his tragic and untimely death, we pray for Kajetan, that he may rest in peace and enjoy the Vision of God forever.
"We also pray for his family, that they may be consoled in their grief by the love Kajetan had for them. As a local community, we shall continue to support the family inspired by our shared Faith.”
A parishioner who attended the mass from Broadway Gardens said: “The outside part was so moving. Hundreds of people stood still on Broadway Gardens, lining up to take Communion and the prayers booming out. It was our community at its best in our worst of times.”
Kajetan has been described as "a loving, joy-filled young man with a bright future, known for his love of dance, animals and strong friendships".
He had already achieved great success both academically and beyond, including appearing on BBC’s Greatest Dancer 2019 with Prospects Fraternity, winning first place in the Under-14 solo category at the UDO World Street Dance Championships 2017, competing across the UK and internationally in dance competitions.
The young star was also about to volunteer abroad with an animal charity before continuing his education.
The family has released the following statement: “The family are overwhelmed by the outpouring of support and love for Kajetan at this time.
"It’s been humbling to hear from all the people whose lives he touched. Without a doubt, he lives on in the hearts and minds of those who knew him and we feel blessed to know he had such an incredible impact in the short time he was with us.
"Kajetan was a loving, joy-filled young man with a bright future, known for his love of dance, animals and warmth. As a high achiever, he was set for big things, and was about to volunteer abroad before continuing his education. We cannot describe how great a hole he leaves, and are grateful for the community’s support at this time.
"A special thank you goes out to St Hugh of Lincoln Church, Benedict Funeral Directors, The Broadway Hotel Letchworth, St John Henry Newman School, St Thomas More Primary School, Hitchin Lavender Fields and North Herts Council for their support through this incredibly difficult time as well as the countless others in the community that have shared stories, held events, supported the family and honoured Kajetan in their own way all over the UK.
"We thank you all from the bottom of our hearts for all you have done.”
A service celebrating Kajetan’s life was held at St Thomas More in Letchworth last week. It was attended by over 300 former pupils, parents and staff who gathered to plant a tree in his honour and share memories.
Kajetan’s teacher Mr Tucker, recently shared in a SJHN newsletter: “Working with Kajetan was a real joy: a vibrant, unique, funny, clever and talented student, he embodied everything that is best about SJHN students.
"He had the soft skills we want our students to develop in abundance. He could engage everybody he met with his charm, “smiling eyes”, empathy and gentle nature.
"Kajetan’s life may have been a short one, but it was a life well lived with his eclectic interests and talents. The response to his death is witness to the fact that he has touched so many members of the SJHN community in different ways.
"He was a unique individual whose contribution to the school and the community has been far greater than he will ever know.”