Homily of Father Turlough Baxter for Funeral Mass of Barney McGinley RIP, Saint Mary’s Church, Athlone

16 Feb 2015

 “Violence can never be the answer, because all that it does is foster more hurt and violence and delays the day of Justice.” – Father Turlough Baxter

 ‘Do not be sad people

A Christian can never be sad

Our joy springs from our having encountered Jesus Christ

Trust in him, because he never disappoints

He is a good friend that is always at our side, he is a patient father’

These lines form part of a quote from Pope Francis that hangs in Barney’s home.  It was a recent gift from Rome.  It calls us to trust in the Lord even when the circumstances of our life might make us feel not like that.  But it seems to capture as well some of how you have described Barney to me as well over these last few days.  A patient father, a good friend, always at your side, someone you could trust in.  A gentleman is also how some of you have described Barney to me.

As we think of Barney today, we also think of you Bridget, his wife, as we support you at this most difficult time.  So much of your life was shared with Barney. 41 years married last month, and as you said yourself:  ‘He was the love of your life’. You made a home together and with him travelled to various places and set up many homes, but it was in the end, Athlone where you were most at home.

Indeed home means so much to us.  The home that Bridget and Barney made was a special place for each of their nine children.  Even to walk into your home over these last few days, gives you that sense, a place set up by people who are proud of where they live.

Barney was always proud of how he would dress and how he would be turned out.  The best of what he could get, is what he would want to have, for himself and family, because it spoke of his outlook on life, making the most of each day, enjoying his horses and proud of his tool shed and being able to turn his hand to many jobs and roles.

For each of us our lives are made up of so many parts.  The wonder of our lives is so great; we can so often only see it in parts.

A part of that story now, for all of your lives, is what has taken place in this last week.  On a day that was to be a joyful family occasion, others chose to end the goodness of Barney’s life and leave a family in such grief and loss. It takes such a short time to open wounds in others that can take a life time to heal.  Violence can never be the answer, because all that it does is foster more hurt and violence and delays the day of Justice.

We come here today because the story and life of Jesus calls us to live by a different way.  He said; ‘love your enemies, and do good to those who hurt you.’  These words may seem hard to live by when we feel such pain and anger.  But they are the only way to truly find a new way of life.

Our life is such a precious gift, so often it is only when someone is taken from us that we come to truly appreciate what they have meant to us.  Today all you who shared so much of life with Barney have come to see that.

Even though Barney has died, for all you who loved him he will live on in the good things he has done, because goodness is always in the end stronger than the evil that other may do to us.

This is what we find in our faith; this is what we find in the person of Jesus, for the story does not end for Jesus with the cross, but with his rising.  As we hear in the Gospel, Jesus tells us; ‘I am the resurrection and the life, if anyone believes in me, even though he died he will live, and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.  Barney believed in this promise of the Lord, he shared each week in the Celebration of the Eucharist, which continues to remind us of this faith, both here in Saint Mary’s and in the Friary Church.  The Eucharist: a foretaste of the life that the Lord has promised to us.

As we lay Barney to rest today, may he know that peace of the Lord for ever and may we help to bring that peace also to our troubled world.

Notes to Editors:

The following are the prayers of the faithful read at today’s Requiem Mass

Dear friends let us made our prayers known to the Lord

For Barney, that as we gather to pray for him today, may he be granted a place of peace and rest with the Lord.

Lord hear us

We think of all who mourn for Barney at this time.  His wife Bridget; his children; Noel, Marie, Barney, Patrick, Margaret, Michael, Denis, Pamela, Shelly, his grandchildren and great grandchildren and all his family and friends. May the Lord support each one of you at this difficult moment.

Lord hear us

We pray for all those who do us good.  We give thanks for the kindness of Johnny Wall and Patrick Ward who were of such great help in Barney’s last moments.

Lord hear us

We pray for peace in our world, peace in our homes and families and peace in our hearts.

Lord hear us.

We think of all who have died.  We think of Barney’s parents Denis and Julia McGinley.  May they share in the promise of life that is only found in the Lord.

Lord hear us


For media contact: Catholic Communications Office Maynooth: Martin Long 00353 (0) 86 172 7678 and Brenda Drumm 00353 (0) 87 310 4444