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In memory of Greg McCartan

 

Funeral Greg McCartan Large Web view

 

Celebrant: Very Reverend Gerry Powell P.P.

 

Greg McCartan

On behalf of Annie, Kevin and Anne I welcome you to this funeral Mass for Greg. Thank you to all of you who have travelled from near and far to be with us today.

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 Greg; 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 Greg.

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 Greg, 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 Greg.

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.

Death is not from God; death is 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!

The end of the story is Resurrection and life that has no end! The farewell that we give to Greg today is a temporary farewell; the burial we give Greg is a temporary burial. He will live! He will rise!

Greg was born on 2nd May 1920 in Drumhorc, the youngest of seven children of Willie John and Sarah Ann. (Then, during the war, the family number increased to eight when Gerry Nolan, from England, was sent to live with them. Gerry was like a brother to Greg and he and his wife Louise continued to visit annually until their recent deaths).

He went to Bann Primary School in Laurencetown before starting work in Waringstown. The bicycle was the mode of transport in those days, and after leaving his job in the factory in Waringstown, he cycled to Tullyraine Quarries where his new job was ‘breaking stones’. A farmer at heart, Greg’s next job was on Sinton’s’ Farm where he was able to pursue his love of the land. He also worked at Lockart’s farm.

Greg met Annie at a dance in Ballyvarley and they married in Aghaderg 68 years ago on 12th June 1946. They began their married life in the McCartan home, where they have resided for the past 68 years.

In 1944, Greg was one of the founder members of Tullylish G.A.A. and over the years he was club manager and chairman. Many a story could be told about his time as manager, including the time when he had almost finished picking the team but was uncertain about his choice of goalkeeper as there were two in the ‘running’ for the job. When one of the hopefuls asked Greg to hurry up and make his choice he replied: “the two of you rolled into one wouldn’t make a goalkeeper”!

He was also a keen member of the Laurencetown Amateur Dramatic Society in his younger days.

Music was a favourite of Greg’s, especially Country and Western and he and Annie loved to dance on a Saturday night at Banbridge Hockey Club. He played the mouth organ and didn’t have to be persuaded to give visitors a tune or two. He was a member of a band that included his good friends John-Joe Monaghan, Jackie McEvoy and Eddie Geoghegan.  I’m sure they have now reformed!

Greg also loved playing bowls – for both Laurencetown and outdoor bowls for Dunbarton in Gilford. It was the bowls that gave him the drive to ‘get up and go’ after he suffered a stroke 21 years ago.

After retiring from farming, Greg needed a new focus, so he started up a new business, selling oil and farming apparel around the country. He loved that as it kept him in touch with the farming community and, of course, the craic.

Suffering from arthritis for many years, Greg became a member of the Arthritis Research committee and was one of their best fundraisers.

Yes, we as Christians grieve. But we grieve with hope. It is OK to be sad today that we do not see Greg 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 Greg that he may complete the journey to heaven. We believe that our prayer here can help Greg where he is now.  We know that prayer is powerful and we believe that we can help the departed by praying for them.  The best gift you can now give to Greg is to pray for him.  When we lay a wreath in someone’s honour the flowers will wither but the prayers we offer for someone will never wither.  If you say just one “Hail Mary” for Greg it will last into eternity. 

On behalf of the parish community I extend our heartfelt sympathy to Greg’s loving wife Annie, son Kevin, daughter Anne, daughter in law Marie, grandsons Paul and Gareth, great granddaughter Jade and the extended family. 

 

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