Homily of Father Martin O’Connor PP for the Funeral Mass of Kitty and Tom Fitzgerald RIP

07 Nov 2016

  • Church of the Holy Family and Saint Oliver, Knockadoon, Irishtown, Co Mayo, Archdiocese of Tuam

My friends there are no words for the deepest things in life.  Words become feeble, they desert us when we are confronted with the mystery of life and the mystery of death and the mystery of what happened to Kitty and Tom.  We fall silent.

Indeed a silence fell across this parish on Tuesday last, the Feast of All Saints, when news spread of the tragic events in Fitzgerald’s home in Knockadoon.

On hearing the news everything changed, nothing I expect will ever be quite the same again.  Many felt a knot in their stomach including myself, as we try to digest the sad news our friends Kitty and Tom were dead and Paul critically injured.  It was one of those moments in life when we remember exactly where we were when we heard it.  So the news left us speechless and empty like orphans looking for a hand to hold or a voice to tell us all will be well.

The loss of Kitty and Tom who were so much part of the life and landscape of this Parish is a shattering experience for you their family, but also for us, their Parish community in which they lived and were treasured.  The circumstances and nature of their going seems to empty the future of happiness and meaning.

No wonder we fell silent and I think it is very appropriate today, prayer moves into that silence.  It is all we have left to do and say.

Down through the ages the believers have cried out to God: “Why do you allow this to happen?”

As we look through the Holy Scriptures and in particular the Psalms and Book of Job, they are full of cries like this: “Why?”

Today gathered as we are around the altar of the Lord we must not hesitate to speak of our real feelings of bewilderment, dismay, anger or whatever to our Lord and Saviour.

But then I remember on the night before He died in the loneliness of His suffering Jesus cried out, “My God My God, why have you forsaken me?”  It is the cry that echoes in our hearts and minds this day: “Why and how could this happen to a family like Kitty, Tom and Paul?”

The tragic nature of their deaths might lead us to forget the gift they were to you their family and to us their friends – the goodness of their lives and the contribution they made to our Parish community.

We all have special memories of Kitty and Tom, these memories are the bridge between earth and heaven, memories that will continue to connect us to them into the future.

Memories of their love, generosity and wholesomeness.  It is these memories we need to turn to so that you their family, and we their community, can pick up the shattered pieces of this past week and make something good and holy out of them.

Our tribute to them will be, with the help of God, to draw consolation and hope from the good we witnessed in their lives and reflect it in our own life.

In the meantime the Coughlan and Fitzgerald families must be allowed to grieve and mourn the death of their loved ones and support the recovery of Paul which we all so fervently wish and pray for.

We are a community of Faith but faith doesn’t insulate from the sorrowful mysteries of life.  Mary the Mother of God stood helpless as she watched her son die.  Jesus, as we have mentioned earlier, felt forsaken by His Father in heaven.

What faith gives us is the assurance that God stands with us in our desolation and in our hour of need.  He is with us today.

May He who created you Kitty and Tom take you to Himself and grant you peace and happiness.  May we meet you again where there will be no more tears, no more suffering, no more partings.

May your souls rest in peaceAmen.


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