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In memory of Gabriel Savage

In Memory of Gabriel



Opening Address and Homily delivered by
Fr. Gerry Powell P.P.

Opening Address

We come here today with prayer and hope to share and support a great loss. We will part with the body of one whom we have loved, with whom we have shared joys and sorrows and the full weight of our loss comes to test our faith. God is with us in our journey through life – he is with us in good times and in bad. If we trust him, we have nothing to fear:

Lord Jesus, you comfort us in our sorrows. Lord, have mercy.

Lord Jesus, you strengthen us in our weakness. Christ, have mercy.

Lord Jesus, you are the hope of God’s people. Lord, have mercy.




When such a man as Gabriel dies, our community is all the poorer. We no longer have his good example, we no longer experience his charity, his gentleness, his concern – his good humour – his great affection and loyalty to Celtic and Tullylish. Personal

Gabriel was as man of faith, always making time for prayer. A loving husband of 25 years, Gabriel was a wonderful husband, father, son, brother and friend. He lived a good life as a respected and honest worker as a plasterer. He loved his work, worked hard, and passed his gift onto his son John.

Sadly just a few months ago Gabriel’s life was to take a different direction. God has given Gabriel 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. In his leaving, there is a lesson. Perhaps we can all see more clearly how much more he meant to us.

Above all we are remembering a good man with a wide circle of friends from all sections of the community. Today as we gather in sorrow to remember Gabriel, 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.

Today we shed tears for Gabriel 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 Gabriel had to die. As with the life of Our Lord there will always be the feeling that there was so much more Gabriel 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 and we acknowledge his service to the parish and his many interests and involvement. For you Mary and his loving family there’s the comfort of knowing that you were able to show Gabriel how much you all loved him and appreciated him.

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, we will meet this cross.

It was Gabriel’s personality, his warm-hearted character that drew such a deep and open response from those who knew him. Gabriel was loved by all. He was a generous and caring person; he was a loving husband and father, so attentive to you all. He will be sadly missed by all of us.

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 Gabriel would want; smile, open your eyes, love and move on. May his noble soul be at God’s right hand.

In our sadness and grief, in the midst of things we cannot understand or explain, let us commit Gabriel 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 Gabriel new life in his heavenly kingdom. Amen.

On behalf of Fr. Mc Donagh I would like to extend our heartfelt sympathy to Gabriel’s loving wife Mary, daughters Laura, Margaret, Claire, and Catherine, son John, mother Jennie, brothers Sean, Eugene, Brendan & Eamon, sisters Bernadette & Ann, brothers and sisters in law, nephews and nieces and the entire family circle.

“Gibby” - Family Memories

Gibby was an enthusiastic sportsman – he travelled to Parkhead as a keen Celtic supporter and held a season ticket as a member of the Banbridge Celtic Supporters’ Club. In his younger days, he was a great soccer and Gaelic player.

1973 was a fantastic year for football in St. Patrick’s Banbridge – Gibby played ‘back’ and his motto whilst playing was “If in doubt, kick it out”

Gibby went through his own tartan and denim years, dancing to the Bay City Rollers. He loved family gatherings and enjoyed a bit of craic. In his house, the door was always open; he made everyone feel welcome and most important to him was making sure everyone felt at home. All the children’s friends came up on Friday and Saturday nights for a bit of craic with him before heading to “The Coach” for a night out.

No party was complete without his fine wine – a bottle of Buckfast – accompanied by the comedy double act of Ann and Damien!

Gibby didn’t like the sun, book took the family away each year for a family holiday, where he would change colour daily, from white to red and then back to white again! Those were great memories.

Christmas was a very special time in the Savage household, with the children putting on their annual Christmas show of “Goldilocks and the 3 Bears”. Gibby was producer with his video camera – his pride and joy – capturing all his precious memories.

Gibby was a real ‘Mummy’s Boy’ and there wasn’t a day went past where he hadn’t visited or spoken to his mum. Always a home bird, at the age of 6 he went to stay in his sister Bernie’s house in Newry. He came with guitar and bag packed, but after 2 minutes, he cried, “I want to go home!”

Gibby took pride in his cars – however, when Mary started driving there was many a scratch and dent that would mysteriously appear. When Gibby and Mary were courting, you would always have seen the blue Chevette flying up to the Gaelic field, which was their favourite spot. It was a good job that his sister Bernie was handy with the needle and thread, as on the morning of their wedding, his trousers burst before he even got to the chapel!

Gibby was a loving husband, son, brother and more importantly a devoted father and best friend. He lived life to the full and enjoyed every second of every day.

Every person who met him was touched in a special way – he is very much loved and will be dearly missed.

Gibby, we love you!

From your family






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