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In memory of Joe McConville

 

7th May 2008

Funeral Mass of Joe McConville, Oakdene Park, Bleary

Celebrant: Very Reverend Gerald Powell P.P.

Entrance Hymn: Be not Afraid

FIRST READING
A reading from the book of the Apocalypse
Happy are those who die in the Lord.
I, John, heard a voice from heaven say to me,
“Write down: Happy are those who die in the Lord!
Happy indeed, the Spirit says; now they can rest for ever after their work,
since their good deeds go with them.”
This is the word of the Lord. Thanks be to God

Psalm “Eagle’sWings”

SECOND READING
A reading from the letter of St Paul to the Romans
Alive or dead, we belong to the Lord.
The life and death of each of us has its influence on others; if we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord, so that alive or dead we belong to the Lord. This explains why Christ both died and came to life; it was so that he might be Lord both of the dead and of the living. We shall all have to stand before the judgement seat of God; as scripture says: by my life – it is the Lord who speaks- every knee shall bend before me, and every tongue shall praise God. It is to God, therefore, that each of us must give an account of himself.
This is the word of the Lord. Thanks be to God

Gospel Acclamation

Homily
Today as we gather in sorrow to remember Joe, 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.
Today we shed tears for Joe but our tears have a healing effect. Today we no longer cling on but let him go to be with the Lord forever.
I know it’s hard to understand why Joe had to die. As with the life of Our Lord there will always be the feeling that there was so much more Joe could have done, so much more that life had to offer him, so much more that he would have liked to do, if only circumstances had been kinder. It was not to be.
God has given Joe a short number of years. He used these years to bring life into the world. The basic value of this life is that the life and death of each one of us has its influence on others as St. Paul tells us in our Second Reading. In his leaving there is a lesson. Perhaps we can all see more clearly how much more he meant to you.
But if we are sad today, there is also much to be thankful for. We are grateful for the life he did have, grateful for all the joy he brought into your lives and his many interests and involvement. For you Geraldine and his loving family there’s the comfort of knowing that you were able to show Joe how much you all loved him and appreciated him. (Personal)
It is only to God we can turn at this time to try to find some meaning, some consolation; some hope in the situation we find ourselves in. Prayer will bring you through this time. It’s not going to be easy. Nobody said so. But with God’s help, you will meet this cross.
Joe was born in Lisavague, near Mulavilly, Tandragee on 17th June 1954. He was the fourth child of Michael and Maureen McConville. Joe, as we all know him, has three brothers – Sean, Malachy and Gerard and one sister, Winfred. Joe married Geraldine Gorman in St. Patrick’s Church, Portadown on 3rd September 1977 and they have two children Ciaran and Cathy. They first set up home in Gilford where they lived for 8 years and afterwards moved to their present home in Oakdene Park where they have lived for the past 23 years.
He was a very committed and faithful husband and father who used any free time he had to spend with his family. He was very good with his hands, liked to be busy and was constantly making improvements around the house. As well as this,, he enjoyed the outdoors and in his early days liked to take part in Formula VW car racing at Kirkiston. Then, as the children got bigger his greatest joy was when they all went caravanning to Fermanagh where they went fishing and boating. When the shooting season began he would have been up at 4.00am to go hunting with his dog Kim. In later years, when the children had grown up Joe and Geraldine spend most weekends touring in their camper van which Joe had built himself. Being an Armagh supporter some of his time was spent travelling to the matches. Deep down Joe was a private, no nonsense man who liked to escape the pressures and stresses of work by being close to nature, but his family came first so he used every opportunity to share his time with them.
After leaving school, Joe went to serve his apprenticeship as a joiner. He became self-employed and worked with his father and two brothers before becoming a foreman for McLaughlin and Harvey with whom he worked for 17and a half years. For the past 11 years he was a foreman for Gilbert Ash where he was responsible for many major projects including the renovations to the Grand Opera House. Joe was a very hard worker who was talented, dedicated and conscientious.
Joe was diagnosed with throat cancer in July last year and spent much of his time in and out of hospital for various treatments. Joe suffered great pain physically over the past months and it was very difficult for a hard-working, outdoor man to be confined to the house but he never complained.
Joe was lovingly and tenderly cared for by Geraldine, Cathy and Ciaran. Nothing was any bother for them. They were constantly at his side doing all they could to support him and trying to make him comfortable. Joe lost his battle with cancer early last Saturday morning. He is at peace now.
You can remember him and only that he’s gone or you can cherish his memory and let it live on. You can try and close your mind, be empty and turn your back, or you can do what Joe would want; smile, open your eyes, love and move on.
In our sadness and grief, in the midst of things we cannot understand or explain, let us commit Joe and ourselves to God's never failing love and care, knowing that he will give us strength and courage to face the days ahead, just as he gives Joe new life in his heavenly kingdom. Amen.
On behalf of Fr. McDonagh I would like to extend our heartfelt sympathy to Joe’s loving wife Geraldine, daughter Cathy, son Ciaran, brothers Sean, Malachy and Gerard, sister Winifred, brother in law and sisters in law, and the entire family circle.

Prayer of the Faithful

Fr. Powell: God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that everyone who believes in him may
not perish but have eternal life. Therefore, let us pray to him with confidence.


Response: Lord, graciously hear us.
1. Now that Joe’s labours and sufferings are over, may God bring him to a place of light, happiness and peace Lord, hear us

2. We pray for our departed relatives and friends and all who have died in the peace of Christ. May they enjoy eternal life. Lord, hear us

3. That God may reward those who cared for Joe in his sickness – the doctors, nurses and all who care for life at its weakest moments. Lord, hear us

4. May God comfort and console all those who mourn Joe and give them strength and healing in the days ahead. Lord, hear us

5. We now pray for our own special intentions. Lord, hear us

Fr. Powell: Lord, may you support us all day long, till the shadows lengthen and evening falls, and the busy world is hushed, and the fever of life is over, and our work is done; then in your mercy, Lord, grant us a safe lodging, a holy rest, and peace at last. We ask this through Christ, our Lord. Amen

Offertory Procession
Offertory Hymn: In bread we bring you, Lord
Communion Hymns : Here I am, Lord As I kneel before you
Final Hymn: Abide with me.


Miss me - but let me go.

When I come to the end of the road
And the sun has set for me,
I want no tears in a gloom-filled room.
Why cry for a soul set free?

Miss me a little - but not too long
And not with your head bowed low,
Remember the love that
once we shared,
Miss me - but let me go.

For this is a journey that we all must take
And each must go alone.
It’s all a part of the Master's plan,
A step on the road to home

When you are lonely and sick at heart,
Go to the friends we know
And bury your sorrow in doing good deeds,
Miss me - but let me go.

 

 

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