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In memory of Brian McKiverigan

Brian McKiverigan leaflet cropped



To watch Brian's Funeral Mass, click on the link above.

In memory of Brian McKiverigan

1929 – 2022

As for me, I am already being poured out as a libation and the time of my departure has come. These words, my dear people, we heard just a few moments ago in our second reading, we believe were written by St. Paul towards the end of his life, by then a prisoner in Rome to his co-worker and helper, Timothy.

He simply now can write from his imprisonment, encouraging those who come after him to continue his work in the world. And as he expresses to Timothy, in this letter, life to be seems moving gradually away from him and the end, in earthly terms, is not too far away for him.

And as we get a sense from what we heard, as he looks back over his reflects on his life, Paul expresses a certain sense of satisfaction that he did what he could in terms of the work entrusted to him while in the world And so he says, I have fought the good fight……

As a cross country and long distance runner in his early years, and someone greatly interested in athletics all his life, Brian would have understood well the importance of ‘finishing the race’, as St. Paul puts it - keeping going until one reached the finishing line. I think he would have appreciated Paul’s talk of running a race, which is the image Paul uses here to explain the experience of life and the challenges of living faithfully and living as fully as possible right to the finishing line.

Having himself made it some distance into this 93rd year, we can truly say that Brian McKiverigan was someone who kept going, who didn’t give up easily. He manged to live what was both a very long life, even by today’s standards, and a very full and engaged life. Remaining independent and active and out and about tight up until the very moment of his death of Tuesday morning.

Vrian had very obviously been blessed with the health strength to be able to do this and to keep going right to the very end. And we are glad for him that this was the way. And now that the end has come for Brian we give thanks to God for the long and active life that was his – and in turn was a gift to his nearest and dearest , to the wider McKiverigan family and to this community and parish in which he lived out his many years.

Brian was a son of the late Barney and Annie McKiverigan and was raised in the townland of Kernan, not far from where this parish borders Aghaderg. He was born in October 1929 and we can calculate that it was, a whole decade before the outbreak of the 2nd World War so its probably hard for most us of present to realise how very different a world that would have been in comparison to the world we live in today And therefore to imagine the extent of the change that Brian McKiverigan must have lived through and the changes he must have seen in the course of his lifetime. He was the 3rd eldest of a family of 8, a younger sibling had died earl in childhood and Brian grew up alongside his four brothers and two sisters, of which as I mentioned at the beginning, Mona here remains the only surviving member of the original household in which Brian grew up.

Brian attended the former Castle Hill National School in Gilford beside the chapel and after his schooldays he trained as a roofer and roofing became his trade for the rest of his working life. His brothers worked alongside Brian roofing in earlier years and later on both his sons Michael and Paul would learn the trade from their father.

By in the 1950’s Brian met and fell in love with Patsy Wallace from the Annaclone area and they were married in Annaclone chapel in 1958. Brian and Patsy eventually settled in the McKiverigan homestead where Brian had been born and there, they would go on to rear their two sons and three daughters. In that house where Brian grew up, he would spend the rest of his long life.

Beyond his family responsibilities and his work, Brian had a lifelong association with athletics and with running in particular. From a young age his brother Jack rand himself were involved especially in cross-country and long distance running. And both had represented County Down in National competitions in the course of the 1950’s. Having won an array of medals and trophies in his own time, Brian would go on to mentor and train younger athletes in the decades afterwards. He coached runners and organised events at Bally Varley Football Field in former years and he played a big part in the Bann Valley Club which promoted athletics within Aghaderg and Tullylish parishes over several years. He was a driving force in Community Games and in mentoring both individual runners and teams which represented the Iveagh area as it was known in those games.

Brian was very glad to be able to bring several athletes, including his daughter Collette, to compete in All Ireland Community Games finals at the former Butlins Holiday Centre in County Meath.

Another perhaps less well-known pastime of Brian’s was attending auctions and visiting house sales throughout the country, often in the company of his brother-in-law, Paul. Both had a great interest in antiques and furniture and collectibles and Brian built up a wide knowledge in this whole area and became a good judge of items at a sale or at an auction.

Eleven years ago now, Brian lost his dear wife Patsy, in death. He continued to be supported at home by Marie, whose company he greatly valued, and he was happy to see his son Michael build a new home and to rear his family just across the road from him in later years. And Brian was deeply loved by all his grandchildren. He kept going from year to year and continued, as I mentioned earlier, to be fairly fit and healthy for his years and to out and about regularly. He was able to drive his car up until about a year ago and keep in regular touch with neighbours and families and friends, driving into Gilford every morning to buy his paper there for as long as he was able.

Following Patsy’s death a decade ago, Brian also experience the sad loss of his believed daughter Frances in more recent years which must have been a hard blow for him. And, of course, as we know, just a few days ago, the passing of his elder son Michael as well. While Brian would not have been a man to express his emotions outwardly to any great extent, to have lived to see the death of both a daughter and a son must have been inwardly very painful and trying for him. I could not but think that as I saw Brian sitting quietly by Michael’s beside last Sunday afternoon just a short time before Michael breathed his last. And now, so very soon afterwards, the time has come for Brian himself to surrender his spirit and to go from us and from his loved ones in death. We pray for the McKiverigan family as we come this afternoon to the close of a week we can well understand has been especially painful for them all. We continue to pray for the peace and repose of Michael and with the whole family and his neighbours and friends, we commend Brian to the Lord this day, now that he has taken his leave of us and of this world. St. Paul, in those words to Timothy, goes on to speak towards the end of our Second Reading about a crown of righteousness, as he describes it which he trusts and believes the Lord whom he has served will, in time, bestow upon him. May it be our prayer for Brian on this day of his funeral, that with the race now finished and his life’s work well and truly done, that he too might come to share in that crown of righteousness of which Saint Paul speaks and that freed from the limitations of the body and this mortal life in which we share that he would come to know now the fullness of life eternal in the kingdom of our heavenly Father. Amen.




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