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In memory of Conor O'Brien

Funeral  Conor OBrien

Funeral Mass celebrated by Reverend Gerry Powell, P.P. Tullylish

On behalf of Patricia I welcome you to this funeral liturgy for Conor.

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 Conor, 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 you have of Conor; our sadness is that he has gone from us. 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 Conor

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 CONOR 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.





Thank you to everyone who has come to pay their respects to Conor today.

Thanks to everybody who visited the house and got in touch to offer their support and condolences.

Thanks also to the all the Nursing Staff in Craigavon Area Hospital, especially the teams on Ward 4 South and the Intensive Care Unit.

Conor was born in Glasnevin, Dublin 57 years ago. He moved to Gilford in October 1985 when he married Patricia. He was a well like and respected member of the village and his passing has caused huge upset to his many friends and neighbours.

Conor always had a keen interest in ornithology and bird keeping from a young age. As a teenager, Conor would spend months rearing and training birds of prey before releasing them back to the wild. Over the last number of years, he kept an aviary at his home and bred many varieties of birds. He worked as a bar man in the Castle Bar, Silverwood Hotel in Lurgan and Westland Gardening Company in Tyrone. He was never happier than when out walking or fishing.

His main loves in his life were his wife and his home, his niece Kate and his nephews Matthew and Andrew and, of course, his beloved Dublin team. He will be laid to rest in his Dublin football jersey.

He took great pleasure in seeing Dublin land the All Ireland football title just a few short weeks ago. He will be missed in Croke Park during the summer but NOT by the referees, umpires and linesmen. Sometimes his language in Croke Park was a little colourful and when this was noticed by his then 5 year old nephew on what was his first trip to a big match, Conor said the first rule of Gaelic football was "what went on in Croke Park, stayed in Croke Park".

Conor's health had declined over the last few months but he retained his sense of humour to the last. When people remember Conor, they will inevitably think of that witty and often irreverent sense of humour.

One example of Conor's sense of humour was seen on a night out with his family in Dublin when they went to a cabaret. Red Hurley moved from table to table inviting guests to tell him where they came from. One lady said she was from Wales and the singer sang a verse of "The Green Green Grass of Home", The next guest was an American tourist and Red Hurley provided a chorus of "New York, New York". He then asked Conor where he came from so that he could sing an appropriate verse. Conor immediatelry replied "Papua New Guinea". Needless to say, Red Hurely didn't have a song from that part of the world in his repertoire!

Conor took particular delight in ringing his nephews Matthew and Andrew after his beloved Chelsea had beaten Man Utd. Sometimes you would wonder who the child was! In 1979, when the Pope visited Ireland, Conor's mother Patty and his aunt Mona were leaving his house to go to hear Mass at about 6.30am. His mother invited  Pat and Conor to come along. However, as they had arrived home from a nightclub at 6.00am they declined the offer. His mother and aunt went to the Park and saw the Pope in the distance. That evening, the Pope's motorcar passed the end of Conor's street and Conor took great pleasure in telling his mother that the Pope slowed down to wave at him!

Conor had terrific neighbours in Ann Street. He would go out of his way to help anyone who needed it.

It was very moving to see these neighbours who rallied round to help Patricia when Conor was in hospital. His old friend and neighbour, Dilsie, deserves a special mention for driving Patricia to and from Craigavon Hospital on a regular basis.

Dilsie recently mentioned to Conor that he sometimes wondered whether he made the right decision to return home from Australia many decades ago. Conor pointed out that if he had stayed in Australia, they would never had met and fallen in love.

Conor was not an outwardly religious man but he was passionate about the natural world and those who are close to nature are surely close to God. If the man is gone, then there is no doubt that the spirit remains.

Conor will never be forgotten. He will be remembered by those who knew and loved him every time they hear the Dawn Chorus; every time they see a salmon rise or see a kestrel hovering in the twilight sky.

Above all we are remembering a good man with a wide circle of friends. Today as we gather in sorrow to remember Conor, a burden of pain, a burden of loss, a burden of grief weighs heavily on us all. 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.

I know it’s hard to understand why Conor had to die. As with the life of Our Lord there will always be the feeling that there was so much more Conor 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.

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 our lives. For you Patricia and his loving family from Glasnevin there’s the comfort of knowing that you were able to show Conor how much you all loved him and appreciated him.
It was Conor’s personality, his warm-hearted character that drew such a deep and open response from those who knew him.

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 Conor would want;
smile, open your eyes, love and move on.

May his noble soul be at God’s right hand.

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 us through this time. It’s not going to be easy. Nobody said so. But with God’s help, you will meet this cross. He will be sadly missed.

Eternal rest ….

I would like to extend our heartfelt sympathy to Conor’s loving wife Patricia, bothers Gerard and Damian, sister Sophie and the extended family circle.




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