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In memory of Pat MacFlynn

Pat MacFlynn

Pat MacFlynn

Funeral Mass celebrated by Fr. Gerry Powell P.P. on Friday 27th September 2013

I welcome you to this funeral liturgy for Pat Mac Flynn. Thank you to everyone who have travelled from far and near to be with us today. A warm welcome to Commendant James Galvin representing President Higgins; Commendant Gerard O’Brian, representing the Taoiseach Enda Kenny; Senator Martin Mc Aleese and Mary Mc Aleese; Martin Mc Guinness, Deputy First Minister; Pat’s friends from G.A.A. present and past officials who join us today to pray for Pat led by Liam O’Neill, president.
Father Brian Brown, PP Magheralin.
We all come here to remember a good person, to give thanks, even in our grief, for Pat’s 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 Pat; 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 Pat.
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 PAT 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
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 Pat’s long life of 95 years 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 him:
“My soul gives thanks to the Lord and never forget all his blessings”.
We are happy today because we know deep down that Pat’s life was complete and he was ready for God. We have received much from him – always generous and thoughtful – a gentleman.
Thank you to all who cared for him in his old age. He gave me sound advice one time for a long life – Flahavan’s porridge and red wine. He even quipped with the Queen at Croke Park how much he was looking forward to receiving her cheque on the occasion of his one hundredth birthday.
Pat was born in Magherafelt. He chose teaching as his career, trained at Strawberry Hill and taught in Crossmaglen and Ballynahinch where he met Kathleen Laverty. She married Pat on 19th July 1949 in Ballymena. They were married for 56 years.
He was principal of St. John’s Primary School, Gilford from 1953 to 1979.
His long life included 80 years of service to the GAA. At the age of 16 he was a founding member of the O’Donovan Rossa club in Magherafelt. He represented both his native Derry and later County Down with distinction in a wide range of official positions. When he moved to Down his club was Tullylish of which he was later to become president. It was however for his term as president of the Association between 1979 and 1982 that he will always be best known during those dark days in our history. His recent autobiography “Leading through the Troubles – a life in the GAA” speaks clearly of those difficult times.
When we retire in life we do not retire to a place but to people. The lesson of old age 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.
As a member of a very caring profession Pat is a great proof that Jesus the teacher is still alive and working among us, among the poor, the lame, the terminally ill, the overlooked and the forgotten – always a faithful servant with an attentive heart – the constant pilgrim companion of the young.
Pat set the example for other younger teachers to follow as someone who was very hospitable and performed quiet acts of charity without any fuss for those less fortunate.
We thank him for all his care and understanding and his complete generosity as a loving person and dedicated teacher. Holding a vigil for Pat you have shared memories of who he was and what he meant to you as a great supporter of our Gaelic games and language. We mourn his passing, we cherish his memory. Above all you have remembered the humanity of a good person. Today as we gather in sorrow to remember Pat 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 the family.
Pat was totally devoted to you all – he was a rock;
God knows the reality of deep pain – the pain Pat endured in recent years of illness. We remember a lovely person who was a treasure to you all. Letting go of him today is not going to be easy for Pat was a great lover of parish, the G.A.A family, people and life itself.
Thank you to all who cared for him and loved him in life. Now his suffering is over. As Pat has died now a part of you dies as well. You are filled with sorrow because his death leaves a gap that no-one else can fill adequately. When we remember him today we cannot help recalling the things he said and the way he said them, the things he did and his way of doing them but sadness is tinged with hope and expectation. We pray that he is with the Lord and we look forward to the day when we will be reunited with his.
Easter follows Good Friday. Christ’s resurrection assures us that if we follow him we will rise again. It is only with death that life really makes sense, it’s our leap into eternity, it is God calling us home to be with him forever. At a time like this we come face to face with our own mortality.
Living a truly Christian life 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. Pat’s period of waiting is now over. No one can say he got life easy in recent times - a journey from birth to death and the reason he 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.
I’m sure his mind must have strayed back all those years ago to the classrooms where he taught to the faces of the children who sat in the desks, and listened to Master Mac Flynn. No more worry about the uncompleted curriculum, just a little concern did everything turn out alright for them? Where are they now? Upon hearing of his death many will value their education under him and will look back on it and value it as a wonderful experience in living, in forming friendships, in learning to get on with other people.
Today we shed tears for Pat but our tears have a healing effect. Today we no longer cling on but let him go to be with the Lord forever.
He brought love, care and friendship to those who knew him. Always faithful to him Church, prayer and fidelity to the mass and the sacraments were second nature to him. He died at home on Tuesday night at the eleventh hour - his strength could no longer meet the challenge of life.
Every human story is the story of a journey, the journey of life. Christ is with us on this journey, even though at times we do not recognise him. He is so close to us that our stories merge with his. He shares with us his victory over sin and death.
When all is said and done it is only Christ’s story that makes sense of ours – glory achieved through suffering and death. The resurrection of Christ opens all our stories to the prospect, not of a good ending but of a glorious ending. The last word in each of our stories belongs to God.
Now we have to let Pat go. As the poet said the parish is down a good man. His life gave glory to God. And now he has stretched out his tired old hands for the last time and God has taken his to himself. Let us pray with hope and gratitude for the eternal rest of this valiant man and join again in prayer: “My soul give thanks to the Lord and never forget all his blessings”.
Let us celebrate his homecoming, with thanks to God for his long life, for the example his faith gives us; for the lessons that we learned from him about living well and dying well.
On behalf of our parish community I offer our sympathy to Pat’s nephews, nieces, grand nephews and nieces, brothers in law and sister in law, Denny and Margaret and the entire family circle.

 

 

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