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In memory of Laurence Breen

Laurence Breen Large Web view

 

Dear friends, we are united with you today in sorrow at the death of Laurence Breen. 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 Laurence and how we are to keep going from here  Laurence was born in 1945, the fourth in a family of 2 boys and 3 girls of Kevin and Mary Breen. Born in Laurelvale, Laurence attended St. Columba’s primary school in Portadown. As a young teenager, Laurence moved to Manchester to help his sister Patsy with her young family and he attended St. Ambrose’s College while living there.

At home, it was through his friendship with Helena and Geraldine Mooney that he met their sister Peggy and, as Peggy says, ‘it was love at first sight’. They married in Laurencetown 5 years later and set up home in Tullylish before moving a couple of years later to their present home 32 years ago.

Laurence had many jobs but his principle employment was as a ‘roofer’. He worked for Thompsons and travelled near and far in a job that he loved. After retiring as as ‘roofer’, Laurence worked locally at McEvoy’s Mushroom Plant.

His hobbies included shooting and fishing and, of course, his beloved Labradors.

Laurence was by nature a very quiet man and kept his thoughts to himself.

It was over the last year that Laurence became unwell but when he was admitted to hospital 11 weeks ago, neither he nor Peggy knew it was to be his final journey. 

Now after all these years he has passed on to eternal life.

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!

Because of this, a Christian is not silent in the face of death! Many people, on coming to a wake or funeral, do not know what to say! Death seems to have the last word. But we who believe are not silent. We speak! Christ is risen! Death has been conquered!

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

The ceremony today contains many reminders of this, and it points us to the fact that Laurence was baptized. We sprinkled the coffin with holy water at the beginning of the ceremony... This recalls the waters of baptism that were once poured on Laurence - a sign of the new life of Christ given to the Christian. This large candle is the Easter Paschal candle; it is present at every baptism, and symbolizes the Risen Christ. When Laurence was baptized, the life of the Risen Christ was poured into his soul! He began to share, here on earth, the life of heaven! Christ said to Laurence on that day, "You do not belong to death! You belong to me!"

Yes, we as Christians grieve. But we grieve with hope. It is OK to be sad today that we do not see Laurence anymore in this life, 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 Laurence that he may complete the journey to heaven. We have gathered here not so much to talk about Laurence but to pray for him.  We believe that our prayer here can help him where he is now.  We know that prayer is powerful and we believe that we can help the departed by praying for them.

On behalf of parish community and all of gathered here today to pray for Laurence I would like to extend our sympathy to Laurence’s loving wife Peggy, brothers Donald and Desmond, sisters Rosemary and Jean and sisters in law, brothers in law, nephews and nieces and the entire family.

 

 

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