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In memory of Mary McCartan

Funeral Mary McCartan Large Web view

Celebrant: Canon Liam Stevenson

Entrance Hymn: Hail Queen of Heaven
Responsorial Psalm: Be not Afraid
Offertory Hymn: With joy and love
Communion Hymns: I watch the sunrise, Mary Most Holy
Communion Reflection: The Old Rugged Cross (sung by Sean McCartan)
Recessional: Nearer my God to Thee



On Saturday, early in the morning, one of the elder citizens of this parish of Tullylish finally succumbed to illness and died. This sudden end to Mary McCartan’s life was somewhat of a shock to her family as only two weeks ago, on the 6th February, she attended the Daniel O’Donnell concert in the Parish Centre, Banbridge. She seemed to be in the best of health and enjoyed the concert.

One of the opening lines of our First Reading is: “There is a time to be born and a time to die”. Mary’s time to die was last Saturday morning. Her time to be born was the 25th October 1924 into a Campbell family of parents James and Roseanne from this parish. She was the eldest of the family of five, predeceased by her brother John and two sisters, Rose Tighe and Kathleen Campbell. I mentioned earlier that her brother Paddy is still alive in Australia.

Mary, in her married life, knew much about giving birth and the joy of bringing new life into this world. She had a family of 12 with her late husband Terry. So Mary, in her life, knew that there was a time for each of her family to be born. She had to live through each pregnancy waiting for the time of delivery. She had to wait; she had to have patience; in the latter pregnancies, she had to care for the older children. She really, in her own life, knew and understood this line from the book of Ecclesiastes “there’s a time to be born”.

Two other lines from that First Reading are applicable to us this afternoon.
“a time to mourn; a time to dance”
“a time to weep; a time to laugh” .

Now is the time to weep and mourn for the loss of Mary. She had her own sorrows in this life with the death of Terry, now nearly 26 years ago and, of course, the deaths of her parents and her siblings. She also knew the time for dancing and laughing at each of her family’s weddings – her children and their children.

Another link with that beautiful First Reading is “a time to tear and a time to sew”. Mary worked as a stitcher in Gilford and Brookfield Mills for many years after leaving Gilford Primary School.. Mary met Terry McCartan in Ballyvarley Hall and they were married in 1949 in this church. They established a home in Lisnafiffy and then bought a farm eventually on Reid’s Hill – their present home.

Our Second Reading today quotes St. Paul’s words to Timothy: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” Mary was always faithful to her faith in God, often walking to Mass from her home. Indeed, the family carried her body today from that home. She taught the Rosary to her family and so it was most appropriate that the family and I prayed the Rosary in her home before her family began carrying her coffin to this church for her funeral Mass.

Mary was a soft-spoken, quiet, gently lady, content in her home cooking, cleaning and caring for her family. She enjoyed Sunday dinners with her family. They really had to pre-book in advance as she had a busy diary of appointment for Sunday dinner!

Mary was blessed with good health throughout her long life – in touch with all her family and living with Felix, Pauline and their children Frank, Marie-Louise and Roseanne on Reid’s Hill. Our Gospel today describes the huge love and respect that Jesus had for his mother. The McCartan family had huge love for their mother, as she had for each of them. I was in the home house waiting for the return of her body oin Saturday afternoon and the grandchildren were all in the family room, waiting. Once the funeral undertaker arrived, they stood up, ceased talking and waited in silence for her body to be brought in. I detected a huge bond of respect, love and faithfulness from this young generation of McCartans.

Mary would have so proud of them all.

Mary, as the Matriarch of this large McCartan family, will be sorely missed and her love will live long through her 12 children, the 47 grandchildren and the 38 great grandchildren.

May I, on behalf of Canon Powell and Canon Frank Kearney offer my sincere sympathy to her daughters Mary, Frances and Eileen and to her sons, Terence, Eamonn, Sean, Brendan, Leo, Kieran, Patrick, Felix and Finbar and their spouses, to the grandchildren, the great grandchildren. Mayshe rest in peace.





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