Dear Brothers and Sisters,
We come together today as a community to mourn the unexpected loss of one of our own in this Christmas season, a time which we normally associate with new life, family, festivity and celebration.
For us the season has changed, and we turn today to the God whose presence amongst us we celebrate at Christmas, to provide meaning, support and light to scatter the darkness that now hangs over our town. We turn to the God of the Beatitudes to guide us towards his transformation of the hardships and sufferings of this life into His comforting mercy and healing love through His continued presence with us throughout all the seasons of our life.
Valerie had many interests in life and loved to celebrate. She was heavily involved in rowing and in many other groups, she loved going to bingo or the movies and had travelled much in her younger days. She had many changing hairstyles to reflect her outgoing character; she would often be one of the last to leave a party and had built up a wide circle of friends, of all ages. Her love of dancing and singing carried over into her daily life, and she could be found dancing at home even as she was making the dinner – even if there was a dispute as to whether she needed dancing lessons or not. Valerie worked hard, especially for her family, without complaint. She was a very caring person, and she cared for her mother and father at home for a long time. She was always dedicated to her family life, and they did everything together. Board games, movies and holidays were all special shared times, and Valerie dedicated herself completely to every moment with her family. Valerie was known in her extended family as someone who was always quick to forgive. She would often just walk away from an argument, moving on quickly from the argued point. You would have to go far to find anyone who would have a bad word to say about her and she herself would have very few bad words to say about anyone. Her strength of character still stands now as a powerful inspiration to her family. However, we are at a stage now where we are left with many questions where there are no answers, and many where we will never have an answer and to explore them would not give us much in return. Quick answers which seem to fit will not help here.
All we can do is to trust our future lives together to God in prayer. To start this I will now pray for all of us here present, so as to give us a handle to lift up all the unanswerable questions of the lives of all here present so that we can hand them over to God, to leave them with Him so that He can take the loose treads of the tapestry of our shared lives, and weave them into His higher purpose and plan for our world which always remains in need of His help.
We can also trust that the great and small acts of love that Valerie performed in this life will be greatly rewarded by God in the next. Together we pray: God, grant us the serenity to accept the things we cannot change; courage to change the things we can; and wisdom to know the difference. Living one day at a time; enjoying one moment at a time; accepting hardships as the pathway to peace; taking, as Jesus did, this world much in need of healing as it is, not as we would have it; trusting that he will make all things right if we entrust our lives to him; that we may find real and sustaining purpose and happiness in this life and that we will be supremely happy, forever reunited with all of our loved ones in the presence of God, in the next.
- Father Patrick O’Donoghue CC, Cobh, will preach this homily and will be the chief celebrant at the 11.00am Requiem Mass for the late Mrs Valerie Greaney RIP. This Mass will be celebrated in Saint Colman’s Cathedral, Cobh, in the Diocese of Cloyne.
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