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In memory of Brendan Gaffney

 Funeral_Brendan_Gaffney_b

Celebrant Very Reverend Gerry Powell P.P.

On behalf of Anita, Mary and Harry and family I welcome you to this funeral Mass for Brendan Gaffney.

We all come here to remember a good man, to give thanks, even in our grief, for his life, to offer each other, and especially all 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 Brendan; our sadness is that he has gone from us.

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 Brendan.

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 BRENDAN, 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

When such a man as Brendan dies, our community is all the poorer. We no longer have his good example; we no longer experience his charity, his gentleness, his dignity. The basic value of this life is that the life and death of each one of us has its influence on others. In his leaving there is a lesson. Perhaps we can all see more clearly how much more he meant to us.

Brendan was born in Armagh on 3rd July 1926 and he spent his early years in Armagh before moving to Gilford

He studied at the Old Belfast tech to become a dispensing chemist - he was always very quick to point out that he was an old style chemist who prepared his own medicines .he first met Anita when he was working in Barney McConvilles chemist in Lurgan.

He opened his shop in Gilford in 1953 and for many years attended to the people of the area 7 days a week without fail, closing for one rare day in 1976 for his son Harry's wedding to Yvonne

He loved going for a drive when the children were young, but that was before satellite navigation was even thought off, and relied on guesswork or maybe tracking the sun but he many many times ended up in someone's backyard.

He seldom took holidays during his working life but in the latter years he enjoyed immensely the chance for a few days away with Mary, Harry Yvonne & Hugh & had visted Scotland, Jersey, Yorkshire & the south coast of England. Dun Laoghaire was a particular favourite

He also loved the garden & grew many of his own vegetables

He was a founder member of Tullylish Credit Union & spent many years serving the local community as treasurer of the organisation.

Last Friday he & Anita celebrated 59years of marriage, enjoyed a day out & a meal in Warrenpoint.

He was devoted to his family , children grand children & great grand children - but couldn't get to grips with angry birds on an iPad when demonstrated by Charlie aged 5. He loved the visits of all the children, grandchildren & great grandchildren & his gentle nature with everyone endeared him to all. 

Above all we are remembering a good man with a wide circle of friends from all sections of the community. Today as we gather in sorrow to remember Brendan, a burden of pain, a burden of loss, a burden of grief weighs heavily on us all. We gather as a community - our presence here today is our way of reaching out to those whose burden is heaviest and whose loss is greatest.

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

But if we are sad today, there is also much to be thankful for. We are grateful for the life he did have, grateful for all the joy he brought into your lives and we acknowledge his service to the parish and his many interests and involvement. For you Anita and his loving family there’s the comfort of knowing that you were able to show Brendan how much you all loved him and appreciated him.

In our sadness and grief, in the midst of things we cannot understand or explain, let us commit Brendan and ourselves to God's never failing love and care, knowing that he will give us strength and courage to face the days ahead, just as he gives Brendan new life in his heavenly kingdom.

Death has been conquered! In this holy season of Lent we are a people in waiting in hope of the resurrection of the dead and the life to come.

In our parish community Brendan as a chemist supported all who carry the cross of illness. Young and old alike at one time or another are been diagnosed with an illness which has a profound shock to all our lives and how we cope with that is very individual – a very lonely experience to say the least. Like Pope Benedict, Brendan bore the effects of old age and experienced many medical problems and received treatment.

Throughout his illness, he knew that God knew him, he knew his fears. In the world we live in, suffering is seen as the ultimate evil but as Christians we must continue to seek new and effective ways to alleviate suffering and to offer our sufferings with the suffering of Jesus on the cross. Let all of us who suffer pray for one another.

                                    I would like to address a word of encouragement to all of you who are caregivers to the sick like Brendan who are present here this today. Your responsibility is not an easy one. You like Our Lady stand with the sick and the ones you love through their suffering. Ask her for help in this task, so that you can be as supportive and patient with your loved ones as she was with her only son.

None of us choose to be sick or to suffer, it is a cross which is given to us and it sneaks up on us like a thief in the night. There are many stages to accepting that cross - as you move through them at your own pace, ask the Lord to help you and unite your sufferings with those of Jesus.

Brendan did not allow his illness to get him down. As a man of faith he lifted himself up above it all with dignity and serenity and retained so much hope in the midst of despair ably supported by his family, Dr. Logan and all the doctors, nurses and carers at home and in hospital.

Together, as the People of God, the Church, as pilgrims we journey towards our homeland where every tear will be wiped away and there will be no more mourning, no more tears, no more suffering – only life in all its fullness forever!

Today we bid farewell to Brendan for a job well done, he has fought the good fight, he has won the race and I extend our sympathy to Anita, Mary and Harry, son in law Hugh, daughter in law Yvonne, grandchildren and great grandchildren, and the entire family circle.

 

ENTRANCE HYMN:               Amazing Grace

INTRODUCTORY RITES

 First Reading                   (Ruarí Gaffney)


Second Reading                  (Claire Coyle)

Prayer of the Faithful

Priest:  As we stand before the mystery of death, Christ stands among us and says to us, ‘Courage! Do not be afraid.” With confidence let us place our prayers before him knowing that he will hear our plea.

Response: Lord, graciously hear us.

 1.       We thank you, Lord, for Brendan - a loving husband, devoted father and grandfather. May he, who showed such love for others, now experience the  loving mercy of God.           Lord, hear us.

2.           As a chemist, Brendan was always there to help and advise. We pray for all those who are sick at this time and we give thanks for those in the caring profession, especially the doctors, staff and carers of Gilford Health Centre and Craigavon Area Hospital.   Lord, hear us.

3.           We pray that God will comfort all who mourn for Brendan, especially his loving wife, Anita, his children Mary and Harry, his grandchildren and great grandchildren.    Lord, hear us.

4. We pray that Brendan may be re-united in heaven with his parents Mary-Kate and Michael, his brothers Ciaran and Desmond and all his deceased relatives and friends. May they all find peace and happiness with God in the company of the saints. Lord, hear us.

5. We now pray for our own special needs and intentions. …. pause..

Lord, hear us.           

Priest: Lord, may you support us all day long, till the shadows lengthen and evening falls, and the busy world is hushed, and the fever of life is over, and our work is done; then in your mercy, Lord, grant us a safe lodging, a holy rest, and  peace at last.   We ask this through Christ, our Lord. Amen

Offertory Procession:   The gifts are now brought to the altar

Offertory Hymn:        With joy and love

Communion Hymns: I watch the sunrise

Communion Reflection: The Lord’s Prayer

FINAL COMMENDATION

Final Hymn: Sweet Heart of Jesus

 

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