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In memory of Bernard O'Hare

Funeral of Bernard O’Hare (1988 - 2018)

Celebrant: Very Reverend Canon Gerry Powell

I welcome you to this funeral liturgy for Bernard O’Hare. We are praying today for all of you in your loss. 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 Bernard, 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 Bernard; our sadness is that he has gone from us at a young age. 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 Bernard.

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 Bernard 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

Most of us don't travel by boat nowadays. But I think of my trust in cars when I drive one. I trust the car, the mechanic, the manufacturer. If it breaks down, I'm annoyed. Can't life be like that? We cruise along in life and then suddenly some shattering experience. Maybe a marriage goes wrong, or a son or daughter has gone astray, or if young you fail an exam, or today we have a death in the family. We lose confidence in ourselves. Then we find that the more we have loved, the more terrible is the loss.

You remember the story of the day Jesus and the apostles went fishing. Christ was asleep in the back of the boat and a storm came. The apostles were like that, they didn't need Christ help. They rowed away, confident they could do without him. "Just let him sleep there!" When the storm comes they turn to Jesus, their confidence in themselves vanishes but their confidence in him remains. They call on him for help. "Master do you not care? " They still had to learn that while Jesus slept, his heart was awake. Just when they lost heart he gave them heart.

It's just like us, isn't it? We voyage through calm waters, and then we are hit by a sudden storm. Perhaps it comes as a wavering of faith or a kind of spiritual blackout which shuts off our awareness of God. We tend to panic. We cry out in our need: "O Sacred Heart of Jesus, have you no mercy"? And the Lord stills the storm to a whisper and life goes on. And we thank God for his love. For his heart was pierced by our sins and he shed his blood out of love of us.

Today as we gather in sorrow to remember Bernard, a burden of pain, a burden of loss, a burden of grief weighs heavily on you. We gather as a community - our presence here today is our way of reaching out to those whose burden is heaviest and whose loss is greatest.

“If only”…. Words we often use, but especially when we experience tragedy or great loss … like the sadness all of us experienced at the shocking news of this tragic passing of Bernard. And we find the same sentiment expressed by Mary in the Gospel today. She says to Jesus:

“If only you were here this would not have happened”.

It’s a natural reaction. In life when we meet a situation of extreme frustration, as all tragedies are, we will find 2 very strong emotions – blame and guilt. Both are natural but neither is helpful. They are just expressions of the anger of frustration.

We can look on this sudden death in different 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 Bernard 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. We are remembering a young man, just 30 years old who loved music, composing Rave with a great love of family who supported him through ill health. In Darren’s house in Silver Leaves there is a saying on the wall which reads :

“Family – where life begins and love never ends”.

Today we leave all judgement to Almighty God. With whom there is mercy and fullness of redemption. In the funeral prayers we pray that he will “forgive any sin we committed through human frailty”. We also recall that God remembers the good that we have done and forgives our sins. In that spirit we pray today for Bernard, remembering the words of Jesus from the cross:

“Father, forgive them for they know not what they do”.

In this sad world of ours, sorrow comes to all and it comes with bitter agony. Perfect relief is not possible, except with time.

With the priests of Lurgan parish I would like to express our sincere sympathy to Bernard’s loving parents John and Arlene, brothers Darren, Michael, Patrick and Sean, sisters in law Natalia and Caroline nephews, nieces and the entire 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

 

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