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In memory of Maureen O'Dowd

Maureen O’Dowd

1948 – 2011

 maureen

Died 25th December 2011

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Celebrated by Fr. Gerry Powell P.P.

I welcome you to this funeral liturgy for Maureen O’Dowd. Especially Seamus, Orla, Patricia, Joseph, Fionnuala and Breige and all the family circle. Thank you to everyone who have travelled from far and near to be with us today.

We all come here to remember a good person, to give thanks, even in our grief, for Maureen’s life, to offer each other, and especially all 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 Maureen; 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 Maureen.

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 Maureen 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.

HOMILY

There is we know a time for mourning and a time for joy. These two emotions will surely find a place together in our hearts today. At the end of Maureen’s life it maybe that the need to praise God is uppermost in our minds because it is so clear how rich God’s blessings have been to her:

“My soul gives thanks to the Lord and never forget all his blessings”.

We are happy today because we know deep down that Maureen’s life was complete and she was ready for God. We have received much from her – always generous and thoughtful – a lady. 

Thank you to all who cared for her in her illness, Doctors, nurses and all who cared so diligently for her.

The lesson of illness is that of endurance and faith. In all our lives there are the valleys and the hills, the good times and the bad times, the successes and the failures, the joys and the sorrows. We are all given a certain number of years and those who live the longest become deeply aware that this time is not given so much for our enjoyment, but rather to work out our salvation.

We thank her for all her care and understanding and her complete generosity as a loving person, a loving wife to Seamus and mother to her five children and seven gorgeous grandchildren. Holding a vigil for Maureen you have shared memories of who she was and what she meant to you. We mourn her passing, we cherish her memory. Above all you have remembered the humanity of a good person. Today as we gather in sorrow to remember Maureen, a burden of pain, a burden of loss, a burden of grief weighs heavily on you all. We gather as a community in the Clare today - our presence here today is our way of reaching out to you her loving family.

Maureen was totally devoted to you all – she was a rock;

The eldest daughter of Alice and Pat McCorry, Maureen grew up in Francis Street Lurgan. Growing up and being part of her father’s grocers shop, Maureen knew everyone and everyone knew her.

Maureen married Seamus in 1970 (a marriage that lasted just shy of 41 years ) in St. Paul’s Lurgan, and moved to Knocknamuckley. Soon after, in 1976, they moved to the family home in Ballynagarrick.  She made this corner of the parish her home with her family. She was involved in the choirs and fulfilled the role of Eucharistic Minister until recent years. 

Maureen enjoyed life to the full. Her great sense of humour and her laugh and smiling eyes were known to many. Personally and professionally, she was proud to be a midwife and part of the midwifery tradition, with her mother Alice and daughter Breige preceding and following her career choice.

She looked forward to her retirement after nearly 40 years of nursing. Her daughter Patricia’s move to Dubai introduced both Maureen and Seamus to the joys and frustrations of golf and for Maureen, a new group of great friends in which to enjoy her ‘work free’ days.

The support she received from extended family and friends – visiting, texting and keeping in touch was a testament to know how Maureen was received in all her friendship circles.

Maureen dealt with her illness in the same way she lived her life – with dignity and good humour.

God knows the reality of deep pain – the pain Maureen endured in the past number of years of illness. 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 Maureen was a great lover of family, people and life itself. It surely seems so cruel that she was struck down and faced so much difficulty.

Thank you to all who cared for her and loved her in life. Now her suffering is over. As Maureen has died now a part of you dies as well. You are filled with sorrow because her death leaves a gap that no-one else can fill adequately. When we remember her today we cannot help recalling the things she said and the way she said them, the things she did and her way of doing them but sadness is tinged with hope and expectation. We pray that she is with the Lord and we look forward to the day when we will be reunited with her.

The holy season of Advent is about waiting in hope and as people of hope we believe in the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come. Maureen’s period of waiting is now over. No one can say she got life easy in recent times - a journey from birth to death and the reason she could see purpose in the pain or sense in the suffering was because Jesus Christ came on this earth to conquer death and save us from our sins.

Today we shed tears for Maureen but our tears have a healing effect. Today we no longer cling on but let her go to be with the Lord forever.

She brought love, care and friendship to those who knew her. Always faithful to her Church, prayer and fidelity to the mass and the sacraments were second nature to her. She died on Christmas Day - a new dawn, a new day, a new birth and she knew all about births - her strength could no longer meet the challenge of life.

Now we have to let Maureen go. Her life gave glory to God. And now she has stretched out her tired hands for the last time and God has taken her to himself. Let us pray with hope and gratitude for the eternal rest of this valiant lady and join again in prayer: “My soul give thanks to the Lord and never forget all his blessings”.

Let us celebrate her homecoming, with thanks to God for her life, for the example her faith gives us; for the lessons that we learned from her about living well and dying well.

With Fr Stephen Crossan and the parish community I offer our sympathy to her loving husband Seamus, loving family Orla, Patricia, Joseph, Fionnuala and Breige; grandchildren, sons in law, daughter in law, sister, brothers and the entire family circle.


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