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In memory of Pól Cairns - Page 2
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Opening Address and Homily
delivered by Fr. Gerry Powell P.P.
at the Funeral Mass of

Pól Cairns

Opening Address

With Fr. Martin Mc Alinden, Fr. Desmond Loughran and Fr. Martin Mc Donagh, I welcome you to this funeral liturgy for Pól. We are praying today for Pól’s loving parents Mick and Máire, brother Michael Óg, sisters Ciarín and Márie, Pól’s loving granny and the extended family.

Death is always a shock; even more so when it’s the death of someone close to us who has died long before his time. Today I have many words and I have few words to say the real caring things we would like to say to one another.

We all come here to remember a young boy, to give thanks, even in our grief, for his life, to offer each other, and especially those who will most miss him, 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 Pól; our sadness is that he has gone from us at a young age. Our sure Christian hope is that the Lord our God will welcome him 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 Pól.

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 Pól, grant him peace. Welcome him 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.

Homily

We gather here today in sadness with the family of Pól. Our thoughts are for you. We ask God to send his Consoler to bring his peace to your hearts and to your homes. We give thanks to God for the life that he gave Pól and we pray in faith that he now welcomes Pól to everlasting happiness in heaven.

We look at the world around us and see two extremes. On the one hand we find people devoting every moment of their lives to caring for the sick, injured or handicapped. There are those who have given up all self interest to care for helpless relatives, hospital patients or children with a handicap.

On the other hand we witness the destruction of life in so many forms, war, famine, abortion, earthquake, hurricane, and floods.

Today we are part of what is probably most painful of all for those who are left behind, the sudden death of someone so young. No human thoughts can understand it, not even the words of Jesus can give it meaning. In our prayers we look for the grace of acceptance of what we will never understand among our questions and doubts.

There is as the Scriptures remind us, a time for every season under heaven. As we gather in the Clare today we reflect on the mystery of time and that we are in God’s hands: there is indeed a time to die, a time to weep, a time to mourn, a time to keep silence, a time to speak, a time to love.

Since the sudden passing of Pól, we his family and friends have shared memories of who he was and what he meant to us. We are heartbroken at his passing, we cherish his life and the memories we have. Pól was an exceptional student at school. At St. Colman’s Bann Primary School Pól is remembered as an outstanding past pupil, very thoughtful and considerate. In Lismore Comprehensive School as a happy, well-mannered, pleasant and well thought of by the principal, staff and fellow pupils. In his summer school report the word “Excellent” appears 10 times. Always interested in Gaelic sports and culture Pol was a role model as a juvenile player with Tullylish Football Club and Ballyvarley Hurling Club and a member of the Down Under 15 football development squad.

He played an active role in the life of the parish as an altar server in this church and was always willing to assist.

Above all we are remembering a loving son, brother, grandchild, nephew, team-mate, fellow pupil and friend – a champion of the underdog. Today as we gather in deep sorrow to remember Pól, a heavy burden of pain, a burden of loss, a burden of grief weighs heavily on us all. We gather as a parish community, a community of faith – a people of searching hope and our presence here this afternoon is our simple way of reaching out to you Pól’s family whose burden is heaviest and whose loss is greatest.

We can look on this sudden death in many ways:

A dark cloud, such shock, a nightmare, a moment of intense loneliness, an experience we resist and don’t wish to speak about. We will all deal with Pól’s death in our own individual way but can we see it as part of the outstretched hand of God’s support in all our confusion dealing with life or the light beyond the cloud that is dark; or the companionship of Christ in this fearful moment of questioning and loneliness? Our faith tells us that it is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness. Like St. Paul we carry our faith in earthen vessels; we are all fragile, none of us here today are perfect, none of us have the answers to life’s deepest questions and death can either shatter or deepen our faith.

To be a Christian is to be a searching pilgrim on a spiritual journey. To be a pilgrim is to go along the way of faith, hope and love. The goal is certain –eternal life in Christ Jesus. But the way is often uncertain because life is made up of ups and downs, joys and sorrows, sickness and depression can obscure our direction and vision. I do not think for a moment that Pól wanted to die; my heart tells me it was just in a moment of uncertainty, he forgot how to live.

This afternoon we miss you Pól. We have, we are and we will shed tears for you, but I hope our tears have a healing effect. Today, yes Pól we want to cling on to you. But we have to let go of you to allow you to be with the Lord forever. We pray that on this August afternoon – we pray that our sadness and heartbreak may not make us less human or loving but more Christian. May Mary, the mother of God, who buried her own son, be with you Pól’s family to see the mind and the plan of God in your lives at this time.

Today on behalf of Fr. Mc Donagh, Fr. Mc Alinden and Fr. Loughran, we pray for all who have been saddened by Pól’s death. Our hearts, thoughts and prayers go out to you loving parents Michael and Maire, Sisters Cairin and Maire, brother Michael, granny Kathleen, uncles and aunts, cousins and all the family circle and Pól’s friends. We pray that in the desert of your sorrow and our sorrow, a deeper love and hope may flower and give us hope. And so we pray for Pól. Eternal rest ….

 

Donations (if desired) in lieu of flowers to
PIPS SOCIETY
C/o Jack McLearnon and Son, Funeral Directors
75 North Street, Lurgan

Opening Hymn: Be Not Afraid

 

Offertory Hymn: The Weaver

 

Communion: The Shepherd Song / An t-Aiseiri

O God, you search me

 

Communion Reflection: The Hurler's Prayer

 

Recessional: Song of the Angels

Forever Young

OTHER TRIBUTES

 

R.I.P POL....G.B.N.F

miss this fella soo much,always in my thoughts and prayers..love you.xxxxx



 

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