Homily of Father Eoin McCrystal PP Holy Trinity Parish, Donaghmede
for the Funeral Mass of Dean Fitzpatrick RIP
“The gospel we have just listened to is one of the most harrowing pieces of scripture you can read, yet at the same time, it is also one of the most hope-filled passages there is. It is harrowing because we hear about the death of Jesus on the cross. It was a tragedy for His followers, the apostles and disciples. They had given up their regular lives in order to follow Jesus and now it had come to this; His death on a cross. What is more, they were terrified that a similar fate was waiting for them, so they abandoned Jesus and went to hide in the Upper Room. The Hope-filled part of the passage is the women going to the tomb on that first Easter morning. It is important to point out that the women were not making their way there as part of some plan to witness the resurrection. They were going there because they wanted to finish the burial process for Jesus that had to be cut short once the Jewish Sabbath began. The women were the only ones brave enough to venture out in public and wanted to do this service for Jesus; the men were still afraid in the upper room. When the women did arrive at the tomb they were horrified to see it empty, thinking that Jesus was being subjected to further indignity even in death. But the women were reassured by the two men in brilliant clothes when they said, “Why look among the dead for someone who is alive, he is not here; he has risen.”
The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the great hope of all Christian believers because that rising to a new life is not something reserved for Jesus alone, but offered to each one of us by virtue of our Baptism into the church.
Dean Fitzpatrick was also baptised into that same faith and we share that same hope that he too, has risen with the Lord to New Life. Having that hope does not, of course, protect us from the devastation we feel at his tragic death. He was a young man with so much of life ahead of him. Speaking with his loved ones they have told me of the fact that Dean was a proud father of Leon and doted on him. We see his passions represented in the mementos brought forward at the beginning of our Mass. His love of the gym and keeping fit. His love of cycling; even heading out to Lusk on a regular basis from the city was no bother to him. Dean was a young man with plenty of life in him so it is only natural that there are so many broken hearts in this church this morning
Dean also experienced tragedy in his young life when his young sister Amy went missing over 5 years ago. That must be the worst nightmare for any family, and Amy is very much in our prayers this day as well.
To Deans’ friends who are in our church this morning I would like to say a word. It is a very difficult experience in life when one of our friends dies at any age but especially someone in their twenties and especially in such tragic circumstances. This is a time for each one of you to look out for one another and support each other emotionally through the grieving process. Do not be afraid to look for support.
I began the Reception Service yesterday evening by acknowledging that all of us are conscious at how inadequate words are at a time like this. They fail to console your deep grief and they fail to lift the burden you are experiencing intensely at this time. But be assured that the prayers of this community of faith will be with you and we commend you to the Lord for healing and strength at this difficult time.
May Dean’s soul, and the souls of all the Faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen”