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In memory of Patsy McStay

Funeral Pat McStay

 

I welcome you to this funeral Mass for Patsy.

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 Patsy; 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 Patsy.

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 Patsy, 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

Dear friends, we are united with you today in sorrow at the death of Patsy Mc Stay. The reality of death, with all its pain and sense of loss, confronts us at this moment. But as we are united in sorrow, we are also united by something else... our Faith. Confronted with the reality of death, we must allow ourselves to be confronted with the reality of our Faith. Our Faith opens our minds to the whole picture about life, death, and what happens after death. Only in the light of our Faith can we begin to understand what has happened to Patsy and how we are to keep going from here.

When in our Faith we speak about heaven, and resurrection, and the next life, we do not speak about these things primarily because they give us consolation and strength. They certainly do that, but the primary reason we speak of these things is because they are true. God has spoken His Word to us; we hear it in the Scriptures and in the teachings of our Church, and we respond to it by saying, "Yes, I believe; it is true!" God has broken the silence about death, and told us that He has conquered it! Death was not part of God's original plan; it came into the world because of sin. Death is not from God; death is from turning away from God. Yet God did not leave us in death's power. He sent Christ, who died and rose again and conquered death! God has spoken to the world through Christ, and told us that He wants to give us victory over death in and through Jesus Christ!

Therefore, a Christian does not merely die. A Christian dies in Christ. Those two words, "in Christ," make all the difference in the world! We belong to Him by baptism, and we live in Him by a life of prayer, obedience to His teachings, and faithfulness to the sacraments of the Church. If we live in Christ and die in Christ, we will rise in Christ!

Patsy was born in Gilford in 1935, the second child of Patrick and Mary. He attended St. John’s Primary School before going to work in the Mill. Due to a shortage of work, he then moved to England where he worked on the buses and eventually returned to Ireland where he gained employment with Ulster Brick Company. His final place of work was with Hutchinson’s in Tandragee.

In his spare time, Patsy was always lending a helping hand: fixing slates, cutting hedges etc for neighbours and friends and every week, he brought the neighbour’s bins in and out – even up to last Friday.

Patsy loved animals, especially horses. He shared his love of horses with his great friend Gerald Finnegan and he missed Gerald terribly after his death. He also liked the craic and enjoyed a drink.

Two years ago, Patsy was very ill after a bad fall in Gilford, but thanks to the loving care of his family, he recovered and was able to attend Mass again and go down to the village for a walk.

Patsy was a very religious man and a very charitable man, giving to all the charities around Christmas time.

He took his last walk into the village on Saturday and didn’t go out to Mass on Sunday because of the bad weather

In the midst of all this, should we grieve? Yes, my friends it is OK to grieve; it is natural, because even Christ wept when His friend Lazarus died... and He wept even though He was about to bring Him back to life! Yes, we as Christians grieve. But we grieve with hope. It is OK to be sad today that we do not see Patsy anymore, but it would be wrong to think we will never see him again. It is OK to grieve, but it is wrong to despair. Christ is alive! We pray today for Patsy that he may complete the journey to heaven. Pray for him every day, and for yourselves. Look at him today and say with faith: “Patsy you do not belong to death. You belong to Christ, and so do we!"

On behalf of the parish community I extend our sympathy to Patsy’s brothers Hugh and Eddie, Sisters Agnes, Eileen and Patricia, brothers in law, sisters in law, nephews, nieces and the entire family circle.

 

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