Homily at funeral Mass for Declan Green RIP

27 Nov 2008

27 November 2008

Homily Notes of Celebrant Father Peter O’Hare at the funeral Mass for Declan Greene RIP

St Colman’s Church, Massforth, Kilkeel, Co Down

Last Sunday morning this community in Mourne was waking up into what appeared to be just another Sunday and then the news began to break that four police officers had died in a vehicle accident close to Warrenpoint, earlier that morning.  Soon we were to learn that two of the occupants were from the Kilkeel area and that the names were shared.

We all felt the shock, the disbelief, we felt that such a tragedy couldn’t have happened, shouldn’t have happened. So young, with young families.  Our first reactions were:

– How could it have happened?
– Sure we know them?
– What happened?
– No other vehicle involved?…Why?….How?

Bombarding ourselves with lots and lots of questions, questions which still apply today, and the answers?  Well they are for another day! And answers there must be for the families of Kevin Gorman, James Magee, Kenny Irvine and Declan Greene.

“If you had been here, my brother would not have died, but I know that even now, whatever you ask of God, he will grant you”…..and Jesus said to Martha, “your brother will rise again! I know he will rise again….”

We all know Declan will rise again…..that is our shared Christian faith.  For us, death is not the end.

Declan cared for Roisin and his family Rory, Darren, Cormac and Sophie.  They were his pride and joy.  He lived for them, wanting the best for them.  Giving them the best.  Declan was the practical joker, the one who lit up the room when he came in.  He was a person with a wonderful sense of humour, a happy person, an optimistic person.  Declan brought joy to every company in which he found himself.  He had that wonderful gift to be able to relate to anyone and everyone he met.  He could be at their level no matter the age. 

Declan was full of fun, jovial, dedicated and committed, with a passion for football shown in his involvement for many years with Ballymartin GAC.  He rejoiced in the gifts and talents of his children whether they were shown at home, on the field or at school.  Declan wished the very best for his children.  His father Thomas, sister Teresita and brother Kieran and indeed the wider family circle will be remembering today, someone who lived life to the full with a caring heart; reaching out to anyone who was in need, much of this good work done very quietly. 

Declan was a man of faith and the celebrating of that faith nourished by his prayer and the celebration of the sacraments was so important to him.  It was a family shared faith; giving meaning and direction to all that he did.

Hard working and dedicated in everything that he did, it was Declan’s caring heart that he wanted to share beyond his immediate family circle …..and so it was to the wider community that Declan directed his gifts and talents in one of service.  After his days work in BE Aerospace it was to a “ministry” of service as a part-time police officer that he gave of himself in the evening.

That word “service” was a key to his work within the community – serving the work of reconciliation and peace among the people of Mourne, gifted in particular in his work with young people within the area.  Declan was highly respected by all sides of the community as a police officer, a gift to us all.

It is now important that this community in which Declan worked and worked for, will now direct itself towards giving support to Roisin and to their family in the days, weeks and month’s that lie ahead.  I am quite sure that support will be given and will be experienced just as it was – over six years ago, when three generations of Declan’s family – his uncle, cousin and second cousin – lost their lives in a fishing tragedy.

Notes to Editors

Details for Declan Greene’s funeral Mass are as follows:

Choir: St. Louis’ Grammar School, Kilkeel

Gathering Hymn: Be not afraid

1st Reading: Wisdom 4:7-15
Read by: Honor Smyth (Cousin)

Psalm: ‘Sē an tiarna m’aoire
Cantor: Patrick Smyth

2nd Reading: Thess 4:13-18
Read by: Teresita Higgins (Sister)

Gospel: John 11:17-21

Prayers of Intercession:
Lauren Greene (Niece)
Ariana Higgins (Niece)
Natasha Kane (Cousin)
Alan McVeigh (PSNI)

Presentation of Gifts:
Stefan Higgins & Thomas McCann (Nephews)

Instrumental: Ag chríost an síol

Communion Hymns:
Turn to me, Bread of Life          

Post Communion Reflection:  Instrumental on flute
Instrumentalist on flute: Rory Dornan

Recessional Hymn: Amazing grace

Further information:

Martin Long, Director of Communications (086 172 7678)
Brenda Drumm, Communications Officer (087 233 7797)