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In memory of Patsy McGrath

 

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Charles Dickens wrote many great classics, among them Oliver Twist and David Copperfield. He also wrote a Tale of Two Cities, the opening lines of which read:

“It was the best of times; it was the worst of times.

It was the age of wisdom; it was the age of foolishness,

It was the season of light, it was the the season of darkness,

it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair”.

The prophet Isaiah wrote something similar:

“The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light, upon those who dwelt in a land of gloom, a great light has shone. You Have brought them abundant joy – for a child is born to us, a son is given to us –

There is, as the scriptures remind us today, a time for every season under heaven. As we gather in Laurencetown church, we reflect on the mystery of time and providence that are in God’s hands: there is indeed a time to die, a time to keep silence, a time to speak, a time to love.

Since the passing of Patsy shortly before his 91st birthday you have all shared memories of him in many respects – his talents, achievements and interests.

Patsy was born in McClelland’s Row on 22nd December 1925, the middle child of Patrick and Mary Anne McGrath. With his sister Lily and brother Bobby, Patsy attended Bann Primary School in Laurencetown. He lived in McClelland’s Row until he married Rita Teggart on 24th November 1970 and they moved to the present home in Hillside Crescent. Patsy and Rita adored their nieces and nephews and spoiled them rotten! Amongst other jobs, Patsy worked with Frazers for 16 years and then in latter years was a roofer.

It was in the late 1970’s that Patsy discovered golfer and then became a keen golfer with many trophies for his trouble, Patsy loved the craic and the outings ‘with the boys’. He started playing golf with a young ‘Rusty’ Russell and they remained life-long friends.

He also loved the greyhounds and always kept pigeons with Jack Nummy.

After the death of Rita in 2003, Patsy felt the days long and when his great nephew Damien attended St. Patrick’s College, he faithfully collected him every day in the car even though he only lived round the corner.

When his eyesight failed it was extremely difficult for him to give up the driving licence but with a little nudge from Elise, he did. Hearing was also difficult for him but his nephews, nieces, great nephews and nieces were so good to him, life was a little easier. He was always ready for the road and especially loved going ‘for a bite of lunch’!

Patsy was sharp but had a heart of gold. Photos of his great great niece and nephew Ryan and Charlotte had pride of place in his living room and were not allowed to be moved.

It was lovely to that Patsy was at home when he passed away. He had enjoyed good health until the end of October when he was admitted to hospital. He wasn’t keen on it and it was his wish to stay at home. So it was with a gre

We gather today as a Christian community and our presence here today is our way of reaching out to all of you who loved him and will miss him and to you we extend our sympathy.

We can look on this death in the mouth of Christmas in many ways:

A dark cloud, a moment of intense loneliness, and an experience we resist and don’t wish to speak about. You will all deal with it in your own individual way but can you see it as part of the outstretched hand of God’s support or the light beyond the cloud that is dark; or the companionship of Christ in this fearful moment of loneliness? Our faith tells us that it is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.

 Like St. Paul we carry our faith in earthen vessels and death can either shatter or deepen our faith.

To be a Christian is to be a pilgrim on a spiritual journey. To be a pilgrim is to go along the way of faith, hope and love. The goal is certain – eternal life in Christ Jesus. But the way is often uncertain and at times we can lose our sense of direction and we forget how to live.

This is a time of sadness. We are sad today because we are gathered to mourn PATSY and say our final farewell. We are here today to console you in your sadness by our presence, our prayers and our words of consolation.

This is a time for asking forgiveness.

It is right to ask God, our loving and forgiving Father to extend to Patsy his forgiveness. We are assured by our faith that God forgives always, totally and immediately.

And finally it is a time of hope.

Our faith tells us that at death life is changed, not ended. We are then filled with hope that Patsy is now at peace. We are confident in this hope that God has taken him to himself.

I offer our sincere sympathy today to his sorrowing brother Bobby, nephew Patsy and Anna, Donna, Elise, Damien and family circle.

May Mary the mother of God who buried her own son be with us to see the mind and the plan of God in our lives at this time.

May he rest in peace. Amen.

 

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