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In Memory of Annie McCartan

Funeral Annie McCartan Large Web view

Funeral Mass celebrated by Canon Liam Stevenson, P.P. Seapatrick

We gather together this afternoon to pray the Sacrifice of the Mass for the repose of the soul of Annie McCartan.

Our first readings tells us:

"There's a time to be born and a time to die"

The time for Annie McAlinden to be born was 3rd July 1924 to parents Peter and Annie McAlinden into  family of 4 girls and 1 boy, Annie being the second oldest. Her time for dying was Saturday morning past - the 2nd of January. Annie had fallen at home on Christmas Eve. On Boxing Day it was decided she required hospital care. She was very frail and she died on Saturday morning in Craigavon Area Hospital.

That same first reading tells us:
" a time to weep and a time to laugh
   a time to mourn and a time to dance".
The days of Annie's illness and her wake and now, the day of her funeral are times to weep and mourn, but there were so many joyful and happy occasions in Annie's life.

There were, as the Readings says: "times for laughing and dancing". Annie loved all music, but country and western was a favourite. Her favourite singers were Jim Reeves and Joseph Locke. She loved to sing herself and was delighted when Greg played the mouth organ for their many visitors. She was always very welcoming to visitors to her home.  She and Greg loved to dance every Saturday night in Banbridge Hockey Club.

I have just talked about Annie and Greg enjoying life - their friendship goes back a long time. Annie knew Greg from school days in Ballyvarley school and they starting 'going out together'  when she was 16. She married Greg in Lisnagade Chapel when she was 22 on 12th June 1946 - nearly 70 years ago. They began their married life in the McCartan home and this became their home. Annie became the housewife and homemaker for all those years. After leaving  school, as was the custom then, at 14 years of age. she worked in the spinning mill in Tandragee followed by work in Brookfield Mill and then as a housekeeper for a local family in Scarva.

Our Second Reading from the second letter from St. Paul to Timothy says:
"I have fought the good fight; I have finished the race; I have kept the faith"

Annie certainly kept the faith and has left behind a great example for her family and for all of us. Her life was plain and simple, based around her family, her home and of course, the practice of her faith. Annie loved all her family and had a special place in her heart for the great granddaughter Jade. So many neighbours and family members saw in her a great matriarchal lady and loved her.

Annie had a great devotion to Mary, the Mother of God. Greg and she had travelled through every county in the country and always their itinerary took in a visit to Knock in County Mayo. The singing of the hymn - Lady of Knock - will be especially poignant at Holy Communion time in this Mass.

Yesterday at Mass we reflected much on the opening words of St. John's Gospel focusing on the words "The Word was made flesh and lived among us". This is, of course, the message of the Christmas season. Jesus took on the frailty of human nature to help each of us respond to a very strong role model for our lives in the person of Jesus Christ. Today's Gospel sees the adult Jesus Christ visiting his cousins Martha and Mary to sympathise with them following the death of their brother Lazarus. Jesus outlines for them the doctrine of the Resurrection and the afterlife.

"I am the Resurrection and the Life,
If anyone believes in me, even though he dies, he will live,
ad whoever lives and believes in me
will never die.
Do you believe this?"

Annie certainly believed in an afterlife Our belief in an afterlife softens the sense of loss of a mother, a grandmother and a great grandmother, a sister, an aunt, a cousin. This belief softens somewhat the reality of death; the reality of a coffin; the reality of a grave. Our prayer today is that Annie and Greg are reunited in God's Heavenly Kingdom and that their long lives together on this earth will pale into insignificance when we contemplate eternity.

May I offer my sincere sympathy , on behalf of Fr. Powell, your parish priest and my own behalf to Annie's daughter Anne, son Kevin, grandsons Paul and Gareth great granddaughter Jade, sister Brigid McDermott, her nieces and nephews, cousins and family circle.

May Annie rest in peace. 





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