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In memory of Margaret Hanna

 

FUNERAL MASS FOR

Margaret Hanna

celebrated by Very Reverend Gerry Powell P.P.


I welcome you to this funeral liturgy for Margaret. Especially today we are praying for her loving husband Gerry, daughter Marta, son Paul, son in law Ronan, grandchildren Tierna and Sasha, brothers Andy, Jackie and Kenny and the extended family.

Death is always a shock; even more so when it’s the death of someone close to us who has died after a long illness. Today I have many words and I have few words to say the real caring things we would like to say to one another.

We all come here to remember a remarkable lady, to give thanks, even in our grief, for her short life of 56 years, to offer each other, and especially all those who will most miss her, 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 MARGARET; our sadness is that she has gone from us.

Our sure Christian hope is that the Lord our God will welcome her 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 MARGARET.

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 MARGARET, grant her peace. Welcome her 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.

SERMON

 

There is we know a time for mourning and a time for joy. These two emotions will surely find a place together in our hearts today. At the end of Margaret’s illness of two years it maybe that the need to praise God is uppermost in our minds because it is so clear how rich God’s blessings have been to her:

“My soul, give thanks to the Lord and never forget all his blessings”.

Margaret Crossan was born in her granny’s house in Gilford on 20th January 1953, the daughter of Billy Crossan and Minnie  Woods. Following her education In Gilford she started her working career in Julian’s hairdressers in Gilford before she started her nurses training at the Lagan Valley Hospital. She met her husband Gerry from Belfast through boxing circle in Gilford mainly through her father and Albert Uprichard. They married in Gilford 36 years ago at the age of 19. They took up residence in Knocknagore and had two children Marta and Paul. Qualifying in Nursing she worked for 25 years in the Bannvale Special Care Home in Gilford until she took early retirement because of a back injury. She loved her house pets and walking her dogs. She loved shopping, keeping a tidy home and was totally dedicated to Gerry, her children and grandchildren whom she adored.

Always someone who took a great pride in her appearance – very stylish. She was a true lady.  Sadly on 29th March 2007 she was diagognosed with Acute Myloid Leukaemia. She was very brave and a real fighter, never complained and took all the treatments. She went into remission and was content to get on with her life and all her interests. Sadly it all returned on 6th May 2008 but she put up a great fight and remained positive. She kept her family strong through it all.

Thank you to all who cared for her in her illness, and all who took the time to visit her in hospital and at home and all the staff who cared so diligently for her and who supported a fellow carer and nurse

In all our lives there are the valleys and the hills, the good times and the bad times, the successes and the failures, the joys and the sorrows. We are all given a certain number of years and those who live the longest become deeply aware that this time is not given so much for our enjoyment, but rather to work out our salvation.

As a member of a very caring profession Margaret is a great proof that Jesus of Nazareth is still alive and working among us, among the poor, the lame, the terminally ill, the overlooked and the forgotten – always a faithful servant with an attentive heart and healing hands – the constant pilgrim companion of the suffering.


Margaret worked as a nurse in Gilford where she bound up the wounds of the afflicted; she forgot her own pains in the face of another’s agony Now that she has gone from us, in the words of the Gospel:

“Will the blind see, the deaf hear, the cripple walk and the poor know the good news of loving care?”

Margaret set the example for others to follow and her work goes on every hour of every day and night in quiet hospital wards, in residential care and nursing homes, in hospices, in special care centres. That work goes on whenever we stumble on our pilgrim path through life and the hand of the nurse like that of Margaret goes out to help us.

Margaret wiped the fevered brow of our sick world – she felt the weak pulse and willed the patient back to recovery. We thank her for all her care and understanding and her complete generosity as a loving person.

Every human story is the story of a journey, the journey of life. Christ is with us on this journey, even though at times we do not recognise him. He is so close to us that our stories merge with his. He shares with us his victory over sin and death.

When all is said and done it is only Christ’s story that makes sense of ours – glory achieved through suffering and death. The resurrection of Christ opens all our stories to the prospect, not of a good ending but of a glorious ending. The last word in each of our stories belongs to God.


Now we have to let Margaret go. Her life gave glory to God. And now she has stretched out her tired hands for the last time and God has taken her to himself. Let us pray with hope and gratitude for the eternal rest of this valiant lady and join again in prayer: “My soul give thanks to the Lord and never forget all his blessings”.

Let us celebrate her homecoming, with thanks to God for her life, for the example her faith gives us; for the lessons that we learned from her about living well and dying well.


With Fr Mc Donagh I extend the heartfelt sympathy of our parish community to Gerry, Marta and Paul, son in law Ronan, grandchildren Tierna and Sasha, brothers Andy, Jackie and Kenny and the family circle. May  her gentle soul rest in peace.

 

 


 

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