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In memory of Laurence Connolly

Funeral Laurence Connolly Medium Web view

Celebrant: Very Reverend Gerry Powell P.P.

I welcome you to this funeral liturgy for Larry

Death is always a shock; even more so when it’s the death of someone close to us who has died long before his time

We all come here to remember Laurence Connolly, to give thanks, even in our grief, for his life, to offer each other, and especially 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 Larry; 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 Larry.

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 Larry,  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.

Dear friends, we are united with you today in sorrow at the death of Larry Connolly. 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 Larry 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!

Laurence was born 3rd February 1950, to parents Michael and Catherine Connolly. He was the 6th of nine boys.

Although he was born in Gilford, and attended St. John’s Primary School, he spent a lot of his youth in Derby, England where the family moved because of his father’s work.

It was while he was in England that he was accidently shot - an injury that was to permanently affect the rest of his life. The bullet was never removed from his skull and Laurence was paralysed down one side.

Laurence was very close to his mother, and proudly displayed her photo on his mantelpiece.

He returned to Gilford in the 1980’s and was a popular figure among friends and neighbours – also loved the craic and was a witty man,

A single man, he kept to himself. His companion was his much loved cat! His only hobby was music and he had an exceptional memory for detail about every song, singer etc.

Because of his disability, Laurence was housebound – he hadn’t been out of the house for 6 or 7 years –and depended on others for help, which he got in abundance from his neighbour Martin Savage. Martin brought him his dinner and anything else he needed. His friends Eithne and Kathleen also looked out for him and they enjoyed his company – he was a character.

His faith was a simple faith in God but was always sure to send someone a Mass bouquet for certain occasions

Laurence suffered from epilepsy and on Christmas Day when his neighbour Martin noticed the closed curtains, he alerted the police. After breaking into the home, the police found that he had suffered a seizure and he was transferred to Craigavon Hospital where he died on Monday evening.

We extend our sympathy to his brothers Michael, Dom, Walter, Trevor, Bill, and Steve; his nephews, nieces and his great friends who cared for him – Martin, Eithne, Kathleen and Danielle.

 

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