Information for media on the funeral liturgy for the late Captain Mark Duffy RIP

30 Mar 2017

At 11.00am today the Funeral Mass for the late Captain Mark Duffy RIP was celebrated in Saint Oliver Plunkett Church, Blackrock, Co Louth, in the Archdiocese of Armagh, and will be followed by cremation in Dardistown Crematorium at 2.00pm.  Father Stephen Duffy was the chief celebrant and preached the homily at the Mass.  Father Pádraig Keenan PP of Haggardstown and Blackrock, concelebrated and Archbishop Eamon Martin, Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland presided at the Funeral Mass.

Please see below information for media on the funeral liturgy of Captain Mark Duffy RIP.

Introduction by Father Pádraig Keenan
On behalf of the parish and community of Haggardstown and Blackrock, I warmly welcome all of you, to those within and outside to the church of Saint Oliver Plunkett within the village of Blackrock.

In the early hours of Tuesday 14 March, a dark cloud descended over the island of Ireland following the tragic accident of R116.  None more so was that darkness felt than within the families and communities of the four crew members.

As we share this liturgy in remembering Captain Mark Duffy, we keep in our thoughts and prayers, the late Captain Dara Fitzpatrick, and those who are missing: Winchman Ciarán Smith and Paul Ormsby.  We bring to mind their family members who are present with us and their colleagues in the Irish Coast Guard.

By our presence together, we are in solidarity in prayer with you Hermione, Esmé, Fionn and your wider family circle at this time.  May God hold each of you in the palm of his hand.

By your presence with us today, President Higgins, I welcome you once again to this church, bringing to mind the Funeral of the late Garda Tony Golden on your last occasion.

To Lieutenant Colonel Kieran Carey, Aide-de-Camp to An Taoiseach;

To you Most Rev. Eamon Martin, Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland, your togetherness is a testimony of your support at this time.

Our chief celebrant, Father Stephen Duffy, uncle of Captain Mark, may God guide you in the spirit of our celebration.


Esmé and Fionn (Mark’s children)
Reading by Tia McCaughey (Mark’s friend)

Music: Humming Chorus Puccini

First reading read by Gavan Duffy (Mark’s brother)
A Reading from the Book of Wisdom

The Virtuous person, though they die before their time, will find rest. Length of days is not what makes age honourable, nor number of years the true measure of life; understanding this a person’s grey hairs, untarnished life, this is ripe old age. He has sought to please God, so God loved him, God has taken him up. Coming to perfection in so short a while, He achieved long life, his soul being pleasing to the Lord. Grace and mercy await the chosen of the Lord, and protection, his holy ones.

The Word of the Lord.

Responsorial Psalm
O Lord hear my prayer

Second reading read by Tia McCaughey (Mark’s friend)
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 is not resentful. Love takes no pleasure in other people’s 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.

Gospel Acclamation
Praise to you, O Christ

Gospel read by Very Rev Stephen Duffy PE, AP
A Reading from the Gospel according to Saint Matthew

When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain; and after he sat down, his disciples came to him. Then he began to speak, and taught them, saying: Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven .

The Gospel of the Lord.

Homily preached by Very Rev Stephen Duffy
My Dear Friends,

This is one of those occasions when words are not only inadequate but well-nigh useless.

When any death occurs our hearts go out to those who are left behind but when a tragedy such as this occurs, our hearts become paralysed in shared grief and shared loss.

That is how everyone here this morning feels, steeped in personal bereavement which renders words superfluous and useless.

What has happened is more than a family grief it is a community catastrophe.

The hearts of all of us are heavy today, heavy and sad because one of our finest and best people has been taken away from us.

When I learned nearly two weeks ago that Mark and all the crew of Search and Rescue Helicopter 116 were missing and feared dead, I understood perhaps for the first time, the cry of Jesus on that terrible night in the Garden of Gethsemane, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken us?”

It seemed so unfair that while the rest of us were left untouched a young man such as Mark – happy, generous to a fault, innocent of heart and soul, beloved of his wife and children and family and all of us, should have been so tragically removed from among us.

We are here this morning in sorrow to pray for someone special.  Mark was special because he was a father and like all good fathers his first thoughts were always for his children.

I am quite certain that Mark at this very moment is as usual not thinking of himself but only for his children Esmé and Fionn and his grieving wife, Hermione, and without a shadow of a doubt Mark is telling Jesus how He must look after his children and his wife from now on.

Mark was one of God’s finest creatures, my best friend, he was the personification of everything Our Lord spoke about in the Beatitudes; kindly, humble in spirit, pure of heart, peace – loving, good-natured, loving and lovable.

Indeed he had other attributes which singled him out – a vivacity, a tremendous sense of fun, a desire in all things to help and be of service.

In the course of life a priest is often queried about the reality of immortality.  To me the only answer always seemed to be that the human soul, the human personality is far too wonderful a thing to ever die.

I have never felt this so strongly as I did when confronted with Mark’s lifeless body after it was recovered from helicopter 116.

I remember Robert Kennedy, speaking of his brother the late President John F Kennedy, after his assassination using the following words of Shakespeare;

“When he shall die, take him and cut him out in little stars and he will make the face of Heaven so fine that all the world will be in love with night and pay no worship to the garish sun.”

On this terribly sad day what more can I say except that Mark will help us to carry this heavy cross of his loss, and that from his place in heaven he will pray for all of us.

Against the background of eternity the time that will elapse between Mark’s sad and tragic death and the death of those who loved him and were loved by him is smaller than the smallest drop.

We are all deeply and personally sad that Mark should have died so young and so unexpectedly.  May God comfort Hermione and her children Esmé and Fionn and Mark’s mother Sheila and his brothers Gavan and Donard.

It is easy to say that the dead are with God, and that is true, but God will have to work hard to make up for the loss which we have suffered.

Our only consolation is that Mark and his Dad, Jimmy, who died suddenly and unexpectedly in 1979 are with God.  But until we too are called there, there will be a great emptiness in our lives.

Today I pray not for him but to him that he will help his dear wife Hermione and his loving children Esmé and Fionn and his grieving mother Sheila, and his brothers Gavan and Donard to carry the heavy cross of his loss and that from his place among God’s angels and saints he will pray for all of us who loved him so much.

Prayer of the faithful
Read by Mel Rogers (cousin of Mark’s wife Hermione) and Eugene McEnteggart (Mark’s friend).

We pray for the crew of Rescue 116 who lost their lives so tragically alongside Mark; Dara, Paul and Ciaran and their families .
Lord hear us. Lord graciously hear us.

We pray for those involved in the recovery operations, may God bless them for their valiant efforts ongoing to retrieve all the crew in treacherous sea conditions.
Lord hear us. Lord graciously hear us.

We pray for the local organisations and people of Blacksod who have provided such outstanding compassion, hospitality, accommodation and support. May God reward them for their kindness and generosity.
Lord hear us. Lord graciously hear us.

We pray for the people of Blackrock and the local community here who have given Hermione such comfort and support.
Lord hear us. Lord graciously hear us.

That each of us may be inspired by Mark, Dara, Ciaran and Paul’s courageous, selfless example.
Lord hear us. Lord graciously hear us.

That those who grieve for Mark’s loss may be comforted by the knowledge that the lord will take care of him.
Lord hear us. Lord graciously hear us.

That Mark who was a gentle, sincere, kind and peace loving man may now come to possess the happiness of the kingdom of heaven.
Lord hear us. Lord graciously hear us.

Offertory hymn
Pie Jesu (Faure) Celine Byrne – Soprano

Offertory procession
Akash and Dylan Duffy (Mark’s nephews).

Sanctus (Holy Holy)
Gounod – Saint Peter’s Male Voice Choir

Memorial acclamation
Mortem tuam annuntiamus

Arrangement by Margaret Rizza

Sign of Peace
Agnus Dei (Lamb of God) Gounod – John Kirke & Saint Peter’s Male Voice Choir

Communion hymns
Panis Angelicus Celine Byrne & Saint Peter’s Male Voice Choir
Wild Horses Sean Tester

Communion reflection
O Mio Babbino Caro (Puccini) Celine Byrne

Ed Shivnen (member of the Irish Coast Guard)
Declan Whelan (Mark’s friend, member of An Garda Síochána)

The Mansions of the Lord

Recessional hymn
How Great Thou Art Cecil Whitty


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