21 July 2005
Funeral of Tara Whelan in Ballyduff, Co Waterford
The requiem Mass for Tara Whelan, so tragically killed in a bomb
blast last weekend in Turkey, was celebrated in St. Nicholas’ Church,
Ballyduff, Co. Waterford at 12.00 noon today. Tara’s parents, Tony
and Frances Whelan, and her brothers and sisters, Frank, Anton,
Marianne and Lisa were joined by hundreds of other mourners from
the parish and elsewhere to bid a final farewell to Tara and to
commend her to the love and mercy of the Lord.
President Mary McAleese was represented by her aide de camp Colonel
Ray King. Commandant Michael Murphy, aide de camp of Taoiseach
Bertie Ahern and Minister for Transport, Martin Cullen TD, represented
the government. Mr. Korhan Kungeru was present on behalf of the
Turkish embassy. The mayors from Waterford City and County were also
present as were a number of other public representatives.
Fr. Michael O’Byrne, Parish Priest in Ballyduff/Portlaw, was the
principal celebrant at the Mass, assisted by the curate, Fr. Gerry
O’Connor. Bishop of Waterford and Lismore Dr. William Lee, who is
currently out of the country, was represented by Mgr. Michael Olden,
the Vicar General for the Diocese. The retired Bishop of Waterford
and Lismore Dr. Michael Russell presided at the Mass.
Pupils from the Mercy Convent Secondary School formed a guard of
honour as the remains were received at the Church and at the
recessional procession to the grave at the end of Mass. Ballyduff
Choir was responsible for the music and led the congregational
singing at the Mass. Tara had been a very popular member of this choir.
Symbols, representing Tara’s life, were brought forward by class
mates from the Mercy Convent Secondary School, at the beginning of
the funeral liturgy. A family photograph was the first item to be
presented as family was the centre of Tara’s life. A school jumper
signified the affection and esteem in which Tara was held by her
classmates. A tin whistle symbolising Tara’s great musical talent
was presented togetherwith a script of the play ‘Shaughran’, in
memory of Tara’s great contribution to the staging of this play
by the local drama group. Tara supplied the mood music for the
production. A single flower was carried by a neighbour and
friend, Tanza O’Dea.
Passages from scripture were read by Tara’s brother Frank and her
aunt Anna Whelan.
In his homily, Fr. O’Byrne observed how the Gospel values of
compassion and self-giving were mirrored in the life of Tara.
He said that Tara was known for her compassion and generosity,
values that were passed on from her parents – values that are
the hall marks of a good Christian.
Fr. O’Byrne said: “Tara Whelan knew what it was to give. She
gave her smile, her time, her patience, her talents to everyone
she met. When her young life was so ruthlessly ended, she was on
her way to buy gifts for her family and friends at home – more
giving.” Reminding us of Jesus’ saying in the Gospel of St.
Luke, that “the amount you measure out is the amount you will
be given back”, Fr. O’Byrne said: “for all her generous giving,
Tara is now enjoying the generosity of God who will reward her
with eternal life.”
The gifts for the Eucharistic offering were brought forward by
members of Tara’s immediate family. After the concluding prayer
a reflection on Tara’s life was read by Tanza O’Dea.
A message of sympathy from Bishop William Lee was read by Mgr.
Olden. In this message, Bishop Lee said that he wished to convey
his deepest sympathy to the parents and family of Tara Whelan
on the occasion of her tragic death. Together with the priests and
people of the diocese of Waterford and Lismore he is deeply
shocked by the tragedy. He assures the family of prayers and
support not just at the present time but in the weeks and months
ahead as they try to come to terms with this great loss in their
21 July 2005
Fr Liam Power, Diocesan Communications Officer (087 2899843)
Martin Long Director of Communications (086 172 7678)
Brenda Drumm Communications Officer (087 233 7797)