Statement by Father Francis Bradley, Diocesan Administrator of the Diocese of Derry on the death of Seamus Heaney RIP
Whilst all of us are only coming to terms with the sad news of the death of Seamus Heaney and the entire world mourns the loss of one of its most gifted poets, scholars and thinkers, it is the Heaney family who, most of all, will know the loss of a husband, father and friend.
In a style typical of the part of the country from which he came, he was an understated man. The international aplomb with which he was feted in being awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature, the honours which were so frequently given him by many institutions of learning, the reverence with which he was greeted by people great and small from across the world – all of these were carried lightly by this quietly spoken, yet immensely charismatic man.
As his funeral cortège moves northward, our country knows what it gained through his life and what it loses by his death. In his own words, “out of side-streets and bye-roads purring family cars nose into line, the whole country tunes to the muffled drumming of ten thousand engines.”
His squat pen now rests snugly, for with it he dug down and down into the good turf of the human soul. He will rest in the soil of Bellaghy, not far from Toner’s bog where his people cut their turf. May he rest too, snugly, in the gentle embrace of God as he moves the short distance from the world of Letters into the peace of God’s Word made flesh.
On behalf of the priests and people of the Diocese of Derry, I express my condolences to his wife, Marie, to his children Catherine Anne, Christopher and Michael and to his entire family and many friends.
As a people of hope, we pray that he rest now in peace with the saints.
Notes to Editors
- Very Rev Francis Bradley is Diocesan Administrator of the Diocese of Derry, while the diocese awaits the appointment of a new bishop.
For media contact: Father Michael Canny, Diocesan Communications Officer for the Diocese of Derry 028 (NI) or 048 (RoI) 712 62302; Catholic Communications Office, Maynooth: Martin Long 00353 (0) 86 172 7678 and Brenda Drumm 00353 (0) 87 310 4444