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In memory of Molly Toal


Funeral Molly Toal Large Web view

Celebrant: Very Reverend Gerry Powell P.P.
Concelebrant: Very Reverend Colum Wright P.P. Loughbrickland


With Fr. Colum Wright I welcome you to this funeral liturgy for Molly

We all come here to remember Molly, to give thanks, even in our grief, for his life, to offer each other, and especially 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 Molly; 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 Molly.

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 Molly 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.

A sad occasion like this today is an occasion to reminisce and to allow the mind to linger on moments from the past. Memories flood back of childhood experiences of being cared for, encouraged and loved. For Jack, Gerard and the late Stephen the first school they ever attended was on your mother’s lap. This is a time when gratitude for a loving mother wells up in your hearts for a “job well done”. It is a time of awakening to an appreciation of the gifts and blessings received. It is only in hindsight that the gift becomes clear. Life is lived going forwards but understood looking backwards.

The death of our mother brings a new kind of experience into our lives. To be without a mother is to be in a strange and lonely place. And that’s understandable. For our mother is really one’s first friend. One’s longest first friend! No friend we will ever meet on life’s journey will have been so interested or committed to us. No other friend will have known our first step or our first smile or our first tear. No other friend will know us through and through in such an intimate manner as to be called by our name – a name given in Baptism. Molly made you and shaped you. She lived for you.

She is a part of you and will always remain so.

Molly was born on 18th July 1922 to Mary Ann and John Toman, one of a family of three – Stephen, Gretta and herself. Her father passed away when she was only 12 years old and her mother had to return to work as a weaver to rear and support the family. Molly often spoke of how hard life was in those days.

She was baptised, received her First Communion and Confirmation and celebrated her marriage here in this church.

She met her late husband Gerry at a dance in the INH hall in Hallsmill and they were married in April 1943. They had three sons - Jackie, the late Stephen and Gerard. She sadly lost Gerry 37 years ago and her son, Stephen, died 10 years ago. She had a great faith and this sustained her though these sad times. She lived all her life – and indeed her married life - in her beloved Chapel Row until moving to Miller Park, then to School Terrace where she lived for the past 35 years but her heart was always on the hill beside the church.

Chapel Row houses were up the hill from this church. A row of terrace houses, built primarily for the linen workers in Hazelbank Factory where Molly was employed. It was a happy community where the front doors were opened first thing in the morning and stayed that way until bedtime. Everyone helped each other when they had troubles and Molly carried this through all her life.

The house in Chapel Row was always busy as Gerry was a motor mechanic and when anyone wanted to buy a car, the first visit was usually to Toal’s to have Gerry inspect and service their purchase. Molly loved this as it meant there were always people coming to her home for a bit of craic.

When Broad Oaks was built on the side of Chapel Row, she was delighted, especially as Jack was moving to Number 9. She would visit regularly, but would say “Ah, the houses are nice, but the front doors are always closed!”

Like the majority of girls in those days, Molly left Bann Primary School at 14 and worked as a weaver in Hazelbank until its closure in 1963. She worked in various other linen factories until her retirement in 1986.

Not content sitting at home, Molly agreed to act as the school crossing patrol person as she lived just opposite the school. She knew the name of every child attending and if some parents didn't turn up in time, Molly looked after their children until they came. Molly was a very important figure in the lives of all the children who attended St. Colman's Bann Primary.

When retirement was eventually forced on her at the age of 75, she kept Mass cards for the Dromantine Missions. Then, thinking of something else to keep her busy, she started knitting Teddy Bears for the T.L.C. group who then sent them to the Third World countries. She was delighted to received photos of the children in Africa, each holding one of her teddies. Supporting the Missions was very important to Molly and she was thrilled when her great friend Sr. Bernadette invited her to carry an offertory gift at hr Silver Jubilee Mass. This friendship began when, as a young girl, Bernadette would call with Molly to go to the Sunday devotions and sing on the choir. She and her husband Gerry were founder members of Laurencetown choir.

Molly's faith was very important to her and she had a tremendous devotion to our Lady. She was delighted when Canon Treanor asked her to say the rosary before Mass for peace during the years of the troubles. A daily Mass-goer, she was delighted with her 'Mass radio'' when she could no longer attend in person and looked forward to seeing Tony Byrne who brought her communion every day. The parish bulletin kept her up-to-date and she loved the jokes - memorising them so she could repeat them to her friends at the community centre and her grandchildren.

The Community Centre was like a second home to her - she was thrilled when the old primary school was turned into the centre and she went to it several times a week for the soup and dinner days. A photo hangs there of the old school in the 1930s with a very young Molly in the front row. She loved sharing her jokes and telling yarns. Her favourite poem to recite was written by John Paxton and was entitled “Sentimental Journey”. It is about Laurencetown and Molly loved to recite it - indeed, she recited it in the hospital now long before her death, so it is fitting that it will be recited by her grandchildren today after Communion. (You can read 'Sentimental Jounrey' on www.tullylish.com - Reflective Thoughts.)http://www.tullylish.com/reflective-thoughts/2685-sentimental-journey-by-john-paxton

Molly's home was never quiet - she loved the neighbours and friends calling in for a yarn or two and the catch up on the local craic. She had a marvellous memory and was invaluable helping the parish office with family searches from abroad. Molly knew and remembered everyone.

When we would all be sitting in slippers enjoying our twilight years, Molly became a TV star! In 2008, when Joe Mahon from Lesser Spotted Ulster came to Tullylish, Molly was the star of the show, recalling her young days in Hazelbank Factory. She also appeared in a DVD about the war years.

Above all, Molly was a family woman - she loved her children, her 9 grandchildren and her 16 great grandchildren. She always looked forward to the Christmas and Easter festivities when she would go to her granddaughter's homes in Loughbrickland to enjoy the festivities and spend time with her great grandchildren, where she was affectionately known a Granny Molly. They thought it was great having two grannies from Laurencetown - Granny Molly and Granny Lorraine. Her annual visit to the Toal barbeque in her grandson’s home in Enniskillen was also a great treat for her.

After leaving Jack and Lorraine’s home on Sunday after dinner, she would say she was going to visit all her old friends in the graveyard and would spend an hour or so praying and taking to them.

So we give thanks to God for her life and it is with confidence that we pray to the same God to give her eternal rest.

To her family Molly was a rock – a model mother and grandmother.

We remember a lovely person, a lady who was a treasure to you all. Letting go of her today is not going to be easy for Molly was a great lover of family, people and life itself. Today then we bid farewell to Molly. Despite your sense of loss, you will face the future with courage and hope, knowing that that is what your mummy would want you to do. We comfort one another in the sure confidence that for Molly life has changed, not ended. We also derive comfort from the conviction that she is at peace with God after all her suffering.

All of us gathered here today we just want to say how sorry we are for your great loss - May her gentle soul rest in peace.                 


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