Information for the media on the funeral liturgy for Cathriona White RIP

10 Oct 2015

  • Media

At 11.30am today the funeral Mass for the late Cathriona White RIP, late of LA and Greenfields, Cappawhite, Co Tipperary, will be celebrated in Our Lady of Fatima Church, Cappawhite, Co Tipperary. Father Tadhg Furlong, Parish Priest of Cappawhite Parish, in the Archdiocese of Cashel & Emly, will be chief celebrant of the Mass which will be attended by Cathriona’s family, friends and by the local parish community. After Mass Cathriona’s remains will be interred in Cappawhite Cemetery.

As Our Lady of Fatima Church has a limited capacity of three hundred seats, attendance today inside the church is reserved for family, loved ones and parishioners only.  Out of respect for the solemnity of the Mass, and to provide privacy and space to the White family, media are asked not to use camera equipment within the church or on its grounds. An external loud speaker, and a small reserved area for media cameras, will be available.

  • Mass

Please see below information for media on the funeral liturgy of Cathriona White RIP.

Chief mourners: Sisters and brothers –  Lisa, James, Larina, Sarah and Tadhg, stepmother Bríd, mother Brigid, grandmother Lily, grandfather James, brothers-in-law John and Damien and James’ partner Orla, nieces, nephews, uncles, aunts, relatives and a wide circle of friends.


Music at the Mass will be performed by Eadaoin, cousin; Fidelma and Sarah, family friends;  Jemma, cousin; and Bríd, step-mother

Entrance: Amazing Grace
Presentation of Symbols: Instrumental
Responsorial Psalm: On Eagle’s Wings
Offertory: Ag Críost an Síol
Sign of Peace: Instrumental
As I Kneel Before You
Make me feel your love
You Raise Me Up
No Frontiers
Recessional: Feels Like Home

Presentation of Symbols at the beginning of Mass:

Tadhg, brother: commentary
Aoibhínn, niece: jersey
Ciaran, nephew: football
Rosemaree, aunt: camera
Joe, friend: family photos
Gavin, cousin: make-up brushes

First Reading (read by Margaret, aunt)

A Reading from the book of Ecclesiastes:  (3: 1 – 2.  4 – 11).

There is a season for everything, a time for every occupation under heaven:
A time for giving birth, a time for dying;~
a time for planting, a time for uprooting what has been planted.
A time for tears, a time for laughter;
a time for mourning, a time for dancing.
A time for throwing stones away, a time for gathering them up;
a time for embracing, a time to refrain from embracing.
A time for searching, a time for losing;
a time for keeping, a time for throwing away.
A time for tearing, a time for sewing;
a time for keeping silent, a time for speaking.
A time for loving, a time for hating;
a time for war, a time for peace.

God has made everything suitable for its time.

The word of the Lord.

Second Reading (Read by John, brother-in-law)

A reading from the first letter of St. John (3:1-2)

Think of the love that the Father has lavished on us,
By letting us be called God’s children
And that is what we are.
Because the world refused to acknowledge him,
Therefore it does not acknowledge us.
My dear people, we are already the children of God
But what we are to be in the future has not yet been revealed;
All we know is, that when it is revealed we shall be like him
Because we shall see him as he really is.

The word of the Lord


A Reading from the Gospel according to John (14: 1-6)

Jesus said to his disciples:
‘Do not let your hearts be troubled.
Trust in God still and trust in me.
There are many rooms in my Father’s house;
If there were not, I should have told you.
I am going now to prepare a place for you
And after I have gone and prepared you a place,
I shall return to take you with me;
So that where I am
You may be too.
You know the way to the place where I am going.’
Thomas said: ‘Lord, we do not know where you are going,
So how can we know the way?’
Jesus said ‘I am the way, the truth and the life.
Anyone who comes to the father comes through me.’

The Gospel of the Lord


We gather around Cathriona’s body in our parish church; all too soon, too early. Her family, relations and friends are here. The members of Cappawhite community are here to show their support and concern.

In 1985 Cathriona was baptised with joy into this Christian community. We assemble now in a very different atmosphere to welcome her home. We gather in silent, sad, grief-stricken fáilte. The first reading spoke about ‘a time for …’ At this time we welcome home one of our own.

The circumstances of our being here today cause us great sadness and remind us how vulnerable we are. We need God’s blessing and the support of each other.

The news of Cathrioina’s death has prompted everyone to remember something of her life’s journey. It’s good to count the blessings God gives. For Cathriona: Cappawhite: school, Junior Legion of Mary, games, altar server, visits to friends. Clonmel: the games again, the hair stylist, the beautician. Then to England for some years; later to California: the photography, the back-stage work. Cathriona’s approach to life was to take on, to challenge the county, the country, the world. You remember the outgoing personality; the strong-willed, determined character.

Cathriona was a light to so many. Something of the light has gone out. Yet much remains. The light continues to shine. The light of love lives on; the love you had for Cathriona; the love she had for you.

Our people were familiar with the ‘Meitheal’- working together as a team especially in a time of tragedy. Since Cathriona’s death, the offers of help from so many to her family demonstrates that the same spirit of working together as a team is very much alive. ‘Ní neart go cur le céile’- there isn’t strength until we unite, pull together.

The Word of God will often prompt us to reflect on God’s vision for his people, the creator’s vision for his creation. God’s vision for us is not changed by our brokenness, our weakness.  Life is God’s gift. Our reading encouraged us to ‘think of the love God has for us.’ We speak of God’s unconditional love and of how nobody can judge the thoughts, the motives of another. We are a people who believe Jesus Christ when he tells us he came that we may have life, life to the full. This is the big vision.

What vision did Cathriona’s family and friends have for her? What vision or dream did she have for herself? Now we are faced with a life cut short; a vision not fulfilled; a dream not realised.

Life today presents us with many challenges and new questions. It’s easy to ask the questions but difficult to find answers. In our sadness, sorrow, grief we find a warning that some of our young people are under pressure. We are acutely aware of the vulnerability. We acknowledge that our young members have first call on our support.

We are a people of hope, Christian hope. Christ’s words, his whole life and works bring the message of hope. This is a hope that sustains us. It does not remove the void or fill the gap. It helps us cope now and in the days to come. Our Gospel reading offered the life-giving words ‘Let not your hearts be troubled.’

The Lord’s words are words of life, of love, of belonging: ‘Come to me all you who labour and are overburdened and I’ll give you rest.’

Our fervent prayer is that Cathriona be brought to a permanent home in Heaven where she will be eternally happy.

We commend Cathriona to our loving Lord.

The light of heaven, eternal light to Cathriona –

Solas na bhFlaitheas, solas síoraí, go raibh ag Cathriona.

Prayer of the Faithful 

  1. Read by Deirdre, cousin

We pray for Cathriona’s many friends both at home and abroad who have enriched her.
Lord, hear us.

  1. Read by Sheelagh, friend

We pray for the deceased members of Cathriona’s family – her grandparents Liam and Julia, her cousin Séamus, her niece Aimee and her beloved father Pat. May the light of Christ shine on them.
Lord, hear us.

  1. Read by Teresa, cousin

For the family of Cathriona who loved her so dearly. May they find comfort and peace in knowing that she is finally home.
Lord, hear us.

  1. Read by Aoibhínn, niece

For those who mourn here today and for all those who suffer in silence; may God give them the courage to reach out.
Lord, hear us.

  1. Read by Martin, uncle

Let us pray for those who cannot be here today. We present to the Lord their grieving, their mourning and their desire to be here.
Lord, hear us.

  1. Read by Áine, cousin

Let us pray in thanksgiving for the life of Cathriona, for all the love she gave and for all the many good ways through which she touched the lives of others. May she be found worthy of eternal life.
Lord, hear us

Offertory Procession of the Bread and Wine

Presentation of the offertory gifts by Cathriona’s aunts Regina and Sheila, who will bring the bread and wine to the altar.

Communion Reflection (read by Niamh, cousin)

If tomorrow starts without me
And I’m not there to see,
If the sun should rise and find your eyes
All filled with tears for me:
I wish so much you wouldn’t cry
The way you did today
While thinking of the many things
We didn’t get to say.
But when tomorrow starts without me,
Please try to understand
That an angel came and called my name
And took me by the hand
But when I walked through heaven’s gate,
I felt so much at home
When God looked down and smiled on me
He said: this is eternity and all I have promised you.’
Today your life on earth is past.
But here life starts anew.
So when tomorrow starts without me
Don’t think we’re for apart
For every time you think of me,
I’m right here in your heart.

A word of thanks from a family member (Sarah)

For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Sarah and I am Cathriona’s step-sister. On behalf of our family I would like to thank you all for coming today as we remember our granddaughter, daughter, sister, niece, cousin, aunt and friend.

When I started writing this I didn’t know where to begin. How do you summarise such an amazing life in just a few words?

But the more I thought about it the more I came to realise that I just needed one word – love. Cathriona had such an amazing capacity to love and to be loved. From growing up in Cappawhite, through to moving to Clonmel and finally settling in LA, love remained a constant in her life from beginning to end.

We have already spoken about some of Cathriona’s passions during the bringing of the symbols at the start so I will not dwell on them for too long. Anyone who has ever sat beside

Cathriona during a hurling match will know her grá for GAA. She was a very vocal supporter. Anyone who saw her lurking around LA with a camera trying to capture the poor conditions in which the homeless were forced to live will know not just her love and talent for photography but also the desire that she had for the world to be a better place because she was in it, and it was.

Her family meant so much to her. From following Lisa and James around as a toddler right through to doting on Tadhg, Aoibhínn, Ciaran, Darragh, Cara, Kayla and Leah and all of the highs and lows in between – family was so important to her.

Cathriona was more of a Daddy’s girl that anyone else I’ve ever met and although losing them both in such a short time is unimaginably difficult for us we can take some comfort in the knowledge that Cathriona and Pat are together again. She is at peace. We need to find comfort for each other. There is no easy fix for grief. Particularly when we have lost somebody so young with so much left to give. But to paraphrase the song ‘Oh, the sharp knife of a short life, send me away with the words of a lovesong.’

Cathriona – it is so hard to imagine life without you because there is no ‘without you.’ Thankfully, love is not as fickle and unpredictable as life is. As long as you are loved, you are here. You are so loved. In the words of E.E. Cummings and on behalf of all those who love you: ‘I carry your heart with me. I carry it in my heart.’

Thank you.

Final commendation

Mass will conclude with the final commendation. This will involve the incensing of the coffin, blessing with holy water and the final prayers. The recessional will be sung as Cathriona’s remains are carried from the church.

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