Information for media on the Funeral Liturgy for the late Des Hanafin RIP

25 Jun 2017

Today at midday the Funeral Mass was celebrated in the Cathedral of the Assumption, Thurles, for the late Des Hanafin RIP. The chief mourners were the wife of the deceased, Mona, their daughter Mary, son John and grandchildren Mary Claire, Darragh and John. The chief celebrant for the Mass was Father Tomás O’Connell CC, Bóthar na Naomh, Thurles, and concelebrants included Archbishop Kieran O’Reilly, Archbishop of Cashel & Emly; Father Martin Hayes, Administrator of the Cathedral Presbytery, as well as priests from within and without the diocese. Please see below some content from today’s Funeral Liturgy.

Michael Molumby

Opening Hymn
Morning Has Broken

Symbols of Des’ life brought to the altar – commentator: Sinead Hanafin
– His Papal Award: Paddy Hanafin
– The Constitution of Ireland: Mary Delahanty
– A newspaper, book and CD: Ann Hannigan
– The unfinished transcript of his memoirs: Ann O’Grady

First Reading Jeremiah 20; 10-13 – Mary Hanafin

Psalm: Be Not Afraid – sung

Second Reading: Book of Revelation 13:13 – John Hanafin

Homily of Father O’Connell
“Jesus instructed the Twelve as follows; “Do not be afraid”. The opening words there from today’s gospel and they are also the words that Pope Saint John Paul II used many times, and even on his deathbed they were among his final words. They are comforting words for us and especially when it comes to ones leave-taking of this life. It is not something we like to talk too much about, our own death. A radio presenter, in a programme a few years ago, on how we Irish deal with death, said words to this effect, “In Ireland we do death well, we celebrate the life, we have ritual, the community gathers around the family and so on. However when it comes to how we deal with our own death, well that is the tricky bit.” It is in this scenario that our Christian faith wins out and the words “Do not be afraid” take on a much deeper meaning.

Today we gather as a community, here in Thurles, for our celebration of the Sunday Eucharist. We also come together on this day to support the Hanafin and extended family as we celebrate, and thank God for the long and full life of Des Hanafin in this Funeral Mass. He was a man with strong Christian principles and firmly believed that “sincerely held beliefs should be respected.” Accordingly, he was not shy about expressing his beliefs based on a firm Christian value system. He will be remembered for many things but I suppose his respect for life will be one of his most abiding legacies, and particularly that of the unborn. And because his life values were based on gospel values he was not afraid to air those views openly. The words of Jesus Christ from today’s gospel come to mind, “So if anyone declares himself for me in the presence of men, I will declare myself for him in the presence of my Father in heaven.” Certainly a man to overcome adversity, Des never allowed defeat to stand in his way, nor did his health issues dampen his spirit in any way. Des wasn’t a man to give up and right to the end he had an active mind, he had even begun writing his memoirs, and being a great conversationalist with a mischievous sense of humour, he was only too willing to engage in conversation with those he met. A familiar figure in the Anner Hotel here in Thurles, the hotel he helped set up some years ago. Only last Wednesday he was there and enjoyed time with his family, Mona his wife that he was married to for 59 years, their daughter Mary and son John, together in a happy setting with friends.

Little did anyone know that it was his final visit to the Anner. At heart he was a Thurles-man, this town and County Tipperary were very close to his heart. He was a founder member of Thurles Lions Club, and in the past he brought the Thurles Silver Band to march in the Saint Patrick’s Day parades in New York and Chicago. Also in 1957 he led a delegation to the USA to try to secure industry for Tipperary. It was in these ways that he gave to the community in which he lived. I am sure Mary and John will elaborate on his full life and all he gave to life and community when they address us at the end of today’s liturgy.

And so it is appropriate that we gather in this Cathedral church, in the place where his faith was nurtured, where he received the sacraments, and where he worshipped over so many years. And today we gather with him for the last time as we celebrate his Funeral Mass and commend him to the love and mercy of God. We mourn his loss but celebrate that he has lived a good life and that today, please God, marks a new beginning in eternity for him. He was blessed in that he died at home, with family members to help him in that great journey to eternity. Such was his relationship with God that he certainly took the words “Do not be afraid” very much on board last Friday morning, and embraced fully his leave-taking of his earthly life.

And as Des joins the faithful departed with all our loved ones gone before us in the faith, may he be among those, who are referred to in the words of today’s second reading from the Book of Revelation: “Happy are those who die in the Lord, Happy indeed, the Spirit says; now they can rest forever after their work, since their good deeds go with them.”

May Des Hanafin rest in peace. Amen.

Prayer of the Faithful
– We thank you Lord for the many gifts you gave Des in his long and happy life. Des had the gift of an unbreakable faith, deep love, and wonderful friendship. He was blessed with good humour, great intellect and sharp wit. Help us all to be as generous as Des in sharing our gifts with others. Lord hear us (read by John Hanafin jnr).
– Des devoted his life to representing the public. We pray for all those elected to political office and those in public life. May they always uphold the values of truth and integrity and may they always be courageous in standing up for their principles. Lord, grant them all your blessings. Lord hear us (read by Seamus Hanafin).
– Des appreciated the professional health care he received throughout his life. We remember the nurses in Ardkeen hospital following his car crash; Cardiologists Maurice Nelligan and Brian Maurer; Staff in the Blackrock Clinic and Hospital of the Assumption, Nicky Mockler, Dr James Moloney, Geraldine, Mary and all the people who made it possible for him to live and die at home. We ask you Lord to bless them. Lord hear us. . (read by Mary Claire Hanafin)
– Des valued all life including that of the unborn child and his family meant everything to him. We pray for his own family members who have gone before him – his parents, John and Christina; brothers, John, Paddy, Bernard and Seamus; his sisters, Dotie, Maureen, Joan and Binkie. We pray especially for Mary’s husband Eamon. We ask you Lord to console and support Mona, who was Des’ wife for 59 years, his children Mary and John and his beloved grandchildren Mary Claire, Darragh and John. Lord hear us (read by Joan Hanafin).
– Des showed great strength of character in overcoming his addiction to alcohol and was proud that he was off the drink for fifty years this year. Lord, we ask you to give strength and courage to those who are battling with addictions and to help them find a road to recovery. Lord hear us (read by Darragh Hanafin).

Presentation of the gifts
Kathryn Crowley, Natasha Merriman Offertory
Hymn: Ag Críost an Síol

Communion Hymn
Panis Angelicus, Ava Maria

Recessional Hymn
I’ll Walk With God

Father O’Connell
Thank you to everyone who supported Des through his long, colourful and successful life. Mona, Mary and John appreciate you being with us today. We value your friendship as Des did. Please join us in the Anner Hotel for lunch after the burial in Saint Patrick’s cemetery and for the oration by Deputy Eamon O’Cúiv.


For media contact: Catholic Communications Office Maynooth: Martin Long 00353 (0) 86 172 7678