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In Memory of Maureen Byrne

Funeral  Maureen Byrne Large Web view

Celebrant: Very Reverend Gerry Powell P.P.

On this feast day of Saint Joseph I welcome you to this funeral liturgy for Maureen. Thank you on behalf of Tony, Tracy, Lisa, Ciara and Laura. To all of you who have travelled from near and far to be with us today. Death is always a shock; even more so when it’s the death of someone close to us who has died after a long illness.

We all come here to remember a remarkable lady, to give thanks, even in our grief, for her life, to offer each other, and especially all those who will most miss her, the consolation of our love and our presence with you today; and to offer also the promise of eternal life.

Our consolation will be the happy memories we have of MAUREEN; our sadness is that she has gone from us.

Our sure Christian hope is that the Lord our God will welcome her home and that one day we will be united together in heaven. In the depth of our loss and hope we now pray and offer this Eucharist for MAUREEN.

We come to God, knowing we need his mercy and forgiveness, and so in preparing to celebrate the Mass we call to mind our sins.

Lord, you suffered and died in our name. Lord, have mercy.

Lord, your heart was moved with compassion for the sick and the bereaved. Christ, have mercy.

Lord you suffer with your people at the right hand of the Father. Lord, have mercy.

And may almighty God, have mercy on us, forgive us our sins and bring us to life everlasting.

Let us pray:

Almighty God and Father of all, you strengthen us by the mystery of the cross and with the sacrament of your Son’s resurrection. We pray for MAUREEN, grant her peace. Welcome her to the eternal joy of the kingdom and give us all new hope in our sorrow that one day we shall all be with you and with each other in your home where every tear will be wiped away. Grant, this through Christ our Lord. Amen.






We gather on this feast of St. Joseph as a family to commend Maureen to the gentle mercy of our loving God and we gather to comfort and console each other in our sorrow.

When Christ sat on the mountainside and shared with his disciples his vision of Christian living he could have had Maureen in mind: poor in spirit, a popular lady, gentle by nature, she tried to live the Christian life by ticking the boxes of the eight beatitudes. Christ never promised that life would be easy for those who base their lives on the charter of the Beatitudes. For Christ says “If you want to be a follower of mine, renounce yourself and take up your cross and follow me.”

The hard lesson of being a Christian today is that suffering always walks side by side with peace and the cross is always linked with the promise of the Resurrection. No matter how much we try to, we cannot separate these. Christ leaves us with words of hope:

“Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven “. (Personal)

Maureen was born on the 15th September 1937 the feast of Our Lady of Sorrows. She was engaged to Tony on the 12th December 1962 the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe and married on 11th February 1963 the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes. Maureen always had a great devotion to Our Lady the Mother of God. She travelled many times to Knock, Lourdes, Medjugorje and the Windy Gap. As a child she was caught riding around the inside of the chapel on her bike.

Maureen was the eldest of a family of 12. She helped her Mother Agnes look after her sisters and brothers, working very hard in the house and on the land. She was a fanatic cleaner, one day she washed the wee dirty ducklings and dried them in the oven.

Maureen and a few friends mitched school one day to play at the river Bann and finished off by putting stones on the railway line to watch the train crunching them. The driver stopped and the passengers got off the train and the police chased after the children, as it almost derailed the train. All the children were arrested and Maureen was the last to be caught because she was a great hider.

Maureen loved singing - She sang through all of her emotions.

As a child she could be heard singing and Yodelling in the fields and roads near her home often after being chastised. Tony remarks that when she worked as a stitcher in the shoe factory that if the girls had to redo a job they would be upset but Maureen would start the whole thing again and sing as she did it.

Maureen lived in London between 1958 & 1961 and loved living there. Her sister Alicia was showing a photo of her wedding to Tony at the shoe factory and he said who's the bridesmaid? Alicia said that's my sister Maureen and she lives in England. Tony said the next time she is home I will take her out. When Maureen returned for a holiday she was at a dance with Una (Tony’s sister) and she asked Una, who is that? Una replied that's my brother and Maureen replied, "let's get in there" ...The beginning.

Maureen made a lovely home for her and Tony in Barrack Hill. the rent was 10 bob a week which is 50p. She loved that wee house and was a marvel at painting and decorating which she always did in her own home and for her brothers and sisters whilst saying "I'm only here to keep you company"

They were blessed with 4 Daughters otherwise known to Maureen as her four wee birds. Tracey, Lisa, Kiera and Laura. She always wanted a boy, and finally got her wee son when Kiera had Sonni. He is a wee ray of sunlight and was very lucky to inherit his grannies big blue eyes and mischievous streak.

She cycled for miles on her bike and on occasion, in the dark of night with no lights, when returning from the dances, she would use her foot in the front wheel as a break going down Rathfriland hill often with her brother Sean on behind.

Maureen loved flowers and gardening, she brought slips from Capernaum, the banks of the river Jordan, the sea of Galilee, Hampton ct palace the home of Henry VII and grew them in her own garden. Her garden was absolutely blooming all year round and she broke Tony's heart going to garden centres. She made him carry a spade, secateurs and gardening gloves in the boot of the car. She would often dig out daffodils, snow drops, primroses and whins from derelict houses and hedgerows. She loved the bright colours. She taught us all how to ‘prog’ an orchard once, resulting in an altercation with the police in Israel when she convinced Lisa that taking one or two oranges wouldn't do any harm. She really loved gardening. If any of the neighbours were working in their garden she would soon lend a hand and end up doing all the work while the neighbour looked on.

Maureen was part of the Laurencetown choir for years. She had a very special voice, a beautiful voice and a parishioner once said she had a voice like a violin. Maureen was renowned for singing Silent Night and Amazing Grace.

When Maureen made a friend they were a Friend for life and she loved being with people. Tony’s father often said Maureen was a lovely, kind, innocent girl. She had an infectious laugh and a very quick wit that everyone loved her for.

It's been a real comfort to the family to know that so many people loved Maureen.

Maureen braved Alzheimer's for 15 years and although it was tough at times it meant that she got to spend so much more time with her girls and her husband Tony. She rewrote the rules and defied experts opinion every time, most recently in the last 8 weeks when Maureen's strength, spirit and love for her whole family continued to carried her through.

The family are very grateful for all the love and support of the entire family, friends and neighbours past and present because they have kept them going through a very difficult time.

Although Maureen could not heal her own condition she has brought so much healing and hope to so many people.Maureen passed away gracefully on St. Patrick’s Day being held by her adoring family.

The family would like to extend a special thank you to all those who have taken time off work at short notice and travelled from all over Ireland, England and as far as Las Vegas to be with them today.

Today as we gather in sorrow to remember Maureen burden of pain, a burden of loss, a burden of grief weighs heavily on us all. We gather as a community - our presence here today is our way of reaching out to those whose burden is heaviest and whose loss is greatest.

Today we shed tears for Maureen but our tears have a healing effect. Today we no longer cling on but let her go to be with the Lord forever.

I know it’s hard to understand why Maureen had to suffer and die. As with the life of Our Lord there will always be the feeling that there was so much more Maureen could have done, so much more that life had to offer her, so much more that she would have liked to do, if only circumstances had been kinder. It was not to be.

But if we are sad today, there is also much to be thankful for. We are grateful for the life she did have, grateful for all the joy she brought into our lives and we acknowledge her service to the parish and her many interests and involvement. For you Tony and her loving family there’s the comfort of knowing that you were able to show Maureen how much you all cared for her throughout her illness and appreciated her.
It is only to God we can turn at this time to try to find some meaning, some consolation; some hope in the situation we find ourselves in. Prayer will bring us through this time. It’s not going to be easy. Nobody said so. But with God’s help, we will meet this cross.

You can remember her and only that she’s gone or you can cherish her memory and let it live on. You can try and close your mind, be empty and turn your back, or you can do what Maureen would want; smile, open your eyes, love and move on. May her noble soul be at God’s right hand.

In our sadness and grief, in the midst of things we cannot understand or explain, let us commit Maureen and ourselves to God's never failing love and care, knowing that he will give us strength and courage to face the days ahead, just as he gives Maureen new life in his heavenly kingdom. Amen

Today we are praying for Tony, Tracy, Lisa, Ciara, Laura and grandson Sonni. Brothers Sean, Dominic, Eamon, Seamus, Leo and Enda; sisters Alicia, Pauline and Anne, son in law Alfie, brothers and sisters in law, nephews, nieces and the entire family circle.


Prayer of the Faithful 

Fr. Powell: As we stand before the mystery of death, Christ stands among us and says to us, ‘Courage! Do not be afraid.” With confidence let us place our prayers before him knowing that he will hear our plea.

Response:                       Lord, graciously hear us.

1.We pray in thanksgiving for Maureen, who was such a loving wife, mother and grandmother. For the beautiful singing voice and her nature that touched the hearts of everyone who met her.   Lord, hear us.

2.For the loving family Maureen has left behind: her husband Tony, daughters Tracey, Lisa, Kiera and Laura, in laws Alfie and Gaea, grandson Sonni, her sisters and brothers, nieces, nephews and family circle. Lord, hear us.

3.We thank God for all the carers who have looked after Maureen for so long in such a loving caring and gentle way. For all the nurses and doctors who have looked after Maureen in the recent months and particularly for Dr Logan for his continued dedication and kindness.   Lord, hear us.

4.We give thanks for Father Powell for the sense of peace he gave to Maureen and her family in his frequent prayerful visits that provided great comfort. Lord, hear us.

5.We would like to thank God for Tony. His love, patience, kindness and unconditional devotion to Maureen has been a true example of honouring the marriage vows they took 51 years ago.   Lord, hear us.

6.For Maureen's mother Agnes and father John, her aunty Mary & uncle John, wee Matthew and all her relatives and friends who will be waiting for her at the gates of heaven

7. We now pray for our own special needs and intentions……. pause.   Lord, hear us.

Fr. Powell: Lord, may you support us all day long, till the shadows lengthen and evening falls, and the busy world is hushed, and the fever of life is over, and our work is done; then in your mercy, Lord, grant us a safe lodging, a holy rest, and peace at last.  We ask this through Christ, our Lord. Amen


Hail Queen of Heaven

Be not afraid

Offertory Hymn:    
How great Thou art

Sign of Peace:
Let there be love

Communion Hymns:    
I Watch the Sunrise, Only a Shadow

Communion Reflection:
Amazing Grace (Maureen)

 Final Hymn:             
Going Home




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