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In memory of Winnie Conlon

Funeral_Winnie_ConlonCelebrant: Very Reverend Canon Liam Stevenson P.P. Banbridge

Opening Hymn: Here I am, Lord.

Offertory Hymn: In bread we bring you, Lord.

Communion Hymn: I watch the sunrise

Recessional:Lady of Knock.

 

Homily

We gather in the middle of April to bid farewell to Winnie Conlon, born, reared and lived 60 years of her life in this parish of Tullylish. When her brother Paddy, with whom she lived in Miller Park, became more feeble and was unable to care for Winnie, she moved into Dromore Street in the town to be close to her sister Eileen. She soon moved into Riversley Fold and the two sisters were now very close together and they became close companions. Eileen was very good to her.

Currently we are in the middle of Spring. Our gardens are beginning to show much colour. Winter wheat and barley are beginning to sprout. The fields are full of grass. There is hope in the air that the winter is over. Flowers are adorning our altar helping us to celebrate the Resurrection of the Lord at Easter tide. There are very colourful flowers on Winnie's coffin. She loved bright colours. Winnie's coffin rests before this beautiful display reminding us of new birth with the lambs and the flowers. Currently we are in the First week of Easter tide when we are celebrating Christ's victory over sin and death. This great central truth of our faith gives the relatives and friends of Winnie such hope and consolation in the face of death.

Where Christ has gone, Winnie will follow into eternal life with God our Father.

Winnie, at the young age of 4 contracted scarlet fever and was hospitalised in Banbridge. After some time she was sent home as it was thought she wouldn't survive. Winnie confounded the experts and lived to the great age of 85.

One line in our first Reading was:

"There 's a time to be born; and a time to die". Winnie's time to die wasn't 80 years ago but her time to die was Saturday morning in Aughnacloy House, Lurgan. She had been in failing health for about a year and wasn't able to maintain her flat in Riversley, thus necessitating round the clock attention in Aughnacloy House.

Winnie had a carer, Sylvia, for many years who was extremely devoted to her. Winnie's family appreciate her generosity of spirit, kindness and courtesy. Winnie also loved her day trips over to Crozier House where she was able to interact with many people. She loved the annual Christmas St. Vincent de Paul dinner and looked forward to her dance with Fr. Corr in the Parish Centre.

Our second reading tells us:

"The time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith."

Winnie has finished a long race on this earth and now she is beginning another race - one which has no ending - eternal life. She, like St. Paul in the reading, has kept the faith throughout her long life.

I chose one of Christ's post Resurrection appearances as our Gospel at this Requiem Mass. These appearances of Christ really convinced the apostles and disciples - even Thomas the great sceptic - and the women of Jerusalem that Christ has really risen from the dead. They were utterly convinced that Christ has conquered sin and death through His Father raising Him from the dead. He convinced the apostles that he was truly risen, asking them for some grilled fish. A human body requires nourishment.

The Resurrection is the basis on which our faith is built. Winnie was a resurrection believer. We pray that her faith will inspire all of us on our faith journey with Jesus Christ and God our Father in eternal glory in heaven.

May I, on behalf of Fr. Corr and Fr. Powell, Parish Priest of Tullylish, offer my sincere sympathy to her two sisters Eileen and Margaret, her brother-in-law Michael, nieces and nephews, cousins and friends.

May she rest in peace.


Prayer of the Faithful         

Priest:  God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that everyone who believes in him may not perish, but have eternal life. Therefore, let us pray to him in confidence.

Response: Lord, graciously hear us.

1. Dear Lord, welcome Winnie into the kingdom of heaven, forgive her sins and grant her eternal happiness and rest. Console us in our loss and make us truly grateful for all she was to us in life.  Lord, hear us.

2. May God comfort and console all those who mourn Winnie, especially her sisters Eileen and Margaret and all her nephews and nieces. Give them strength and healing in the days ahead. Lord, hear us.

3. For the faithful departed, especially Winnie’s parents Henry and Nellie and her brother Paddy.  May they and all the faithful departed enjoy eternal life. Lord, hear us.

4.  We ask you to comfort all those who suffer in body, mind and spirit. Reach out your healing hand and give them courage and hope. Lord, hear us.

5. We thank you for the dedicated people who care for life at its weakest moments. In  particular we pray for the doctors and staff of Aughnacloy House, Lurgan.  Lord, hear us.

6. We now have an opportunity to make our own prayer. (Pause) Lord, hear us.

Priest: O God, you made us for yourself, and our hearts will never rest until they rest in you. Grant that amidst the uncertainties of this changing world, our hearts may be set on our eternal home where true joys are to be found. We ask this through Christ, our Lord. Amen

 

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