The chief celebrant and homilist at the 12.00pm Funeral Mass today for the State Funeral of Garda Anthony Golden RIP will be Father Pádraig Keenan, Parish Priest of Haggardstown and Blackrock, Co Louth, in the Archdiocese of Armagh. Out of respect for the solemnity of the Funeral Mass – and as Saint Oliver Plunkett Church has a limited capacity of three hundred seats – inside the church is fully reserved for family, loved ones, and dignitaries only. Outdoor screens will be made available on the church grounds, along with a small reserved area for media and cameras. Outdoor screens will also be available in the village of Blackrock. RTÉ will broadcast live coverage of the State Funeral on RTÉ News Now television channel, and online.
Music for the Mass
Music at the Mass will be performed by organist Brendan McCourt, soloist Sarah McCourt, who will be accompanied by the Garda Choir.
Here I am Lord
Introduction to the Mass by Father Keenan
In the presence of Dean Colum Curry, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Armagh, representing Archbishop Eamon Martin; Archdeacon Terry Scott, representing Archbishop Richard Clarke, Church of Ireland, Armagh; Bishop John Fleming, Bishop of Killala and Father Gerard O’Hora, Parish Priest of Ballina; Rev Lorna Dreaning from Newry, representing Rev Brian Anderson, President of the Methodist Church in Ireland and Dick McConnell representing District Superintendent Rev Ken Robinson; Rev Richard Moore, Church of Ireland, Dundalk and Heynestown Union; Father Joe Kennedy and Archdeacon David Pierpoint, both chaplains to An Garda Síochána; and, to all fellow concelebrants and presiders, we share this Liturgy trusting in God’s peace for all at this time.
President Higgins, Mrs Higgins, by your presence representing all people of our nation at home and abroad, I welcome you to the parish and community of Haggardstown and Blackrock in the presence of many dignitaries nationally and locally, family members and friends near and far on this sad occasion for one and all.
As one may have observed entering this church or wherever you are within the church grounds and within the village, may have noticed the silence of the water in Dundalk Bay. It reflects the silence and sadness that has unfolded for all of us in light of the taking of Garda Tony Golden’s life on Sunday evening last. One cannot imagine the pain and hurt that is experienced by the loss of those who loved Garda Tony. That pain is real for his heartbroken wife Nicola, the adored dad of Lucy, Alex and Andrew, parents Breege and David, brothers David, Kenneth, Patrick and Sean and his sister Mary. Nicola’s parents Tony and Iris, sisters in law Majella, Laura, Aisling and Tara, brother in law Jonathan. Aunts, uncles, nephews and nieces, relatives, family of An Garda Síochána, parish and community, friends and all people of our island. May the God of Comfort be with us. Tony quietly let his light shine in so many ways through his life in a very humble way. Amidst our sadness may we be thankful for the charisma of his beautiful but too short life. Respecting all our faiths, beliefs, and worship, may the Liturgy of this Eucharist bring to all of us a Spirit of Peace, as we pause in silent prayer.
Presentation of symbols at the beginning of Mass
- Ballina Stephanites GAA club jersey and hurley, presented by Keith Gutherie (Friend of Tony)
- Family photographs, presented by Jonathan and Tara Shirley (brother and sister-in-law of Nicola)
- Remote control, can of Coke, crisps, ‘Drifter’ bar of chocolate and Hunky Dorys, presented by Kevin Cleary (Garda and friend of Tony)
First Reading by Kenneth Golden (brother of Tony): A reading from the Book of Ecclesiastes
For everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die;
A time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
A time to destroy, and a time to heal;
A time to break down, and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh;
A time to mourn, and a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stone together;
A time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to seek, and a time to lose;
A time to keep, and a time to cast away;
A time to tear, and a time to sew;
A time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
A time to love;
A time for peace.
What does one gain for the efforts that they make?
I contemplate the task that God gives us to labour at. All that is done is apt for its time.
The Word of the Lord.
The Lord is my Shepherd
Second Reading by David Golden (brother of Tony): A reading from the First Letter of Saint Paul to the Corinthians
Be ambitious for the higher gifts.
And I am going to show you a way that is better than any of them.
Love is always patient and kind, it is never jealous;
Love is never boastful or conceited;
It is never rude or selfish;
It does not take offence, and it is not resentful.
Love takes no pleasure in other peoples sins but
delights in the truth;
It is always ready to excuse, to trust, to hope,
And to endure whatever comes.
In short there are three things that last;
Faith, hope and love;
And the greatest of these is love.
The Word of the Lord.
A reading from the Holy Gospel according to Matthew:
Jesus said, “You are like light for the whole world. A city built on a hill cannot be hidden.
No one lights a lamp and puts it under a bowl; Instead he puts it on a lamp stand where it gives light for everyone in the house.
In the same way your light must shine before people, so that they will see the good things you do and praise your Father in heaven.
The Gospel of the Lord.
Homily preached by Father Keenan
In the stillness of a beautiful Sunday evening, last Sunday, we shared as a nation in the joy of a momentous sporting moment on the playing field of the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff. That stillness was shattered in the picturesque village of Omeath as it became the centre of national and international coverage in light of the tragic events that unfolded.
The magnitude of what took place brings to mind all those who have been affected in so many ways. Tragically it resulted in the cold blooded murder of Garda Tony Golden in the line of duty. Murder is evil, murder has no place in our society. Murder must stop. All forms of violence must stop. We remember in our thoughts and prayers the young woman Siobhan who is seriously injured. Garda Tony is the 88th member of An Garda Síochána who has died protecting our country, our society and our community. It is eighty eight members too many. He like all the others is mourned by the entire nation. His murder brings to mind once again all the families and communities that have been affected on our island.
Garda Tony’s death once again reflects how North Louth and the Cooley Peninsula have been affected by the tragic history of the Troubles on the island of Ireland, and especially the murder of Detective Garda Adrian O’Donohoe, three years ago at Lordship Credit Union in Bellurgan.
Too many hearts have been broken, and lives shattered. I say on this day, from the depths of my heart – and I am sure I speak for all people of goodwill – when I say that there is no place for violence in our society, violence is wrong, always wrong.
As a Guardian of the Peace, Garda Tony was doing his duty on behalf of our State and all of society. In that spirit he was assisting a member of the public, giving her protection, guarding her peace. It portrays the unique nature of the role, profession, dedication and commitment, the men and women of An Garda Síochána give to the people of this island.
Garda Tony was very happy in the walk of life he had chosen, initially in Cabinteely in Dublin, and for the last six years in Omeath. Tony was so proud to serve the community of Omeath. As one person from Omeath put it to me in recent days, he was “our garda”, and to a person amongst his family and colleagues, all are immensely proud of Garda Tony and his selfless nature – proud of everything he lived for, worked for and stood for. Tony Golden was a much loved role model in our community.
That same sentiment – being proud – was echoed by Nicola, his heartbroken wife, when the body of her husband was brought to the family home on Tuesday afternoon. As a husband, father, son, brother family member and friend, each and every one of his family circle expressed such love and pride for Tony. Tony was one of life’s gentlemen. As Patrick his brother said to me, “A big gentle giant”, a lovely man. He had a charisma that was calm, gentle and polite, as reflected in our second reading. Tony showed us a way to love that is better than anything else in life. Tony with Nicola believed in life, a life that gave them hope in the spirit of love. Tony made his time on this earth beautiful in so many ways, and in one’s brokenness, they will be the memories to be always treasured and cherished forever.
There was still much to be fulfilled, especially watching and guiding Lucy, Alex and Andrew through their life’s story, but we trust that his spirit will be with each of you as you continue to walk this earth. Tony’s light shone on this earth in so many ways, may his heavenly light guide all of you that your light will continue to shine in the present and in the future. May I quote from the poem On the death of the beloved, by John O’Donohue, and conclude with the words of his final verse, Tony:
May you continue to inspire us:
to enter each day with a generous heart,
to serve the call of courage and love.
Until we see your beautiful face again,
in that land where there is no separation,
where all tears will be wiped from our mind,
and where we will never lose you again.
Prayers of Intercession:
Introduction by Father Keenan: God our Father, you have told us to trust in you always and so, in our grief and mourning, we come to you in prayer.
Reader, Sharon McGowan (cousin): We give thanks for Tony’s life among us as a loving husband, father, son, brother, family member, dedicated Garda and friend. May he now be at peace in heaven. Lord Hear us.
Reader, Gary Stewart (cousin and garda): We pray for his family, colleagues in Garda Síochána and friends who are heartbroken, comfort them in their grief and strengthen all to continue life with renewed hope. Lord Hear us.
Reader, Sinead Hannon (cousin): In this time of sadness for Nicola and the entire family circle, they are thankful for the immense help and kindness that has been expressed in so many ways to them from neighbours and friends, locally and nationally which is a source of comfort and strength. Lord Hear us.
Reader, Sarah Mooney (cousin): We pray that the gift of life will be protected within our society, the freedom to live, and that spirit of justice will be upheld, enabling our communities to be a safe environment for each of us. Lord Hear Us.
Reader, Niall Smyth (friend and garda): Let us remember the emergency services, especially the Garda Síochána and all for their support on Sunday evening to Nicola and the family during this time of need. Lord Hear Us.
Reader, Alan Lynch (friend): We pray that Tony is at peace, and for all that knew and loved him, may they know the consolation of God’s love. Lord Hear Us.
Conclusion by Father Keenan: Lord Jesus, we trust in your power to heal and to save, for you are Lord of life both now and forever.
Offertory Procession of the Bread and Wine
Presentation of the offertory gifts by Breege and David Golden (parents of Tony), and Tony and Iris O’Sullivan (parents of Nicola), who will bring the bread and wine to the altar.
How Great Thou Art
By Patrick Golden (brother of Tony).
Prayer after Communion and 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 and singing of the recessional music as Anthony’s remains are carried from the church.
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