Some of Hong Kong's most powerful men were overcome with emotion yesterday as they mourned the loss of their beloved 'shepherd' in a solemn ceremony filled with poetry, prayers and poignant memories. Among them, Chief Secretary for Administration Donald Tsang Yam-kuen, a devout Catholic, was visibly shaken as he walked slowly behind the coffin of the late Cardinal John Baptist Wu Cheng-chung, which was taken to a hearse by six pall-bearers, including the cardinal's best friends and his family doctor. Mr Tsang was followed by Cheung Kong chairman Li Ka-shing. The tycoon said he was upset to lose a good friend. 'I have known him [Cardinal Wu] for years. He was a very kind man, I feel very sad today,' Mr Li said after the Mass. During the three-hour Requiem Mass at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, thousands of parishioners prayed, read poetry and gave their blessings. Cardinal Wu's younger brother and his three nephews cried as clerics told how much they respected the man who led the diocese for 27 years. Mourners bowed three times as they paid their last respects to the cardinal, with the organ melody and fragrance of white roses and lilies creating a deeply atmospheric setting. Some watched the ceremony via a live television broadcast in a hall next door. Followers held hands tight as they fought unsuccessfully to choke back tears over the passing of their 'beloved father'. In a touching sermon, Bishop Joseph Zen Ze-kiun recalled Cardinal Wu's last days in his hospital bed. 'When I saw the cardinal suffering from difficulty in breathing I suggested to him, 'Cardinal Wu, offer your every breath to the Lord, let every breath in and breath out be a prayer: Lord, I love you, I thank you'. 'Towards the end of his days, to get some relief he had to groan a little when breathing. The sister who used to assist him rather often said, 'You are groaning so loud', to which his immediate reaction was, 'Do you think I like it, like a little brother and sister talking to each other?' ' Bishop Zen said. Finally, in a faltering voice Bishop Zen finished his sermon with a farewell: 'I refuse to say goodbye, I want you to stay with us, to be by my side, we are still your flock, be our shepherd and guide us still.'