Homily notes of Father James Sweeney PP for the Funeral Mass of Rachel Battles RIP

24 Jul 2017

Church of Saint Joseph and Saint Conal, Bruckless, Co Donegal, Diocese of Raphoe

Today we gather as a community to commend the soul of Rachel Battles to the care and mercy of God.  We also remember Rachel’s friends, Mairead Mundy and Margaret McGonagle, whose Funeral Mass was celebrated this morning in this Church.

We as a community, give prayerful thanks today for the gift of Rachel’s life.

Death is always difficult to deal with but tragic death leaves us all with a very acute pain.

This sense of loss can almost be overwhelming and indeed very difficult for the human heart and mind to comprehend.

Our parish community has rallied together over the last few days to support all the families involved.  Albeit in sad circumstances, this sense of community spirit has brought the parish together helping to provide all the support and assistance we can humanly give.

This tragedy has devastated the community and a sense of shock permeates our parish as well as the entire country.

This tragedy has reminded us of the goodness and kindness and generosity of this rural community here in south Donegal.

We are today united in prayer for the deceased and continue to remember those injured in the accident.

Rachel, wife to Martin and mother to Killian, Owen, Ellie and Danni, was also a well-known member of the community.

It is to our faith we turn for consolation and to the love and support of the community to help us at this difficult time.

We pray as one:

O Lord

Be my rock in this tumbling world

Be my strength

For I have none of my own

Let us reflect briefly on the spirit of generosity in the life of Rachel and how we are all the richer for having known her.

Firstly, as I have mentioned, Rachel’s husband Martin, children: Killian, Eoin, Ellie and Danni and also Rachel’s grandmother Ellen, mother Helena, brothers Mark and Darren, sister Nicole and extended family, would like to thank you all for being with them in the last few days and for all the help that everyone has provided.

Rachel grew up in nearby Ardara in her granny’s home alongside her uncles, aunts and brother Mark.

Just like Ellen took care of Rachel, Rachel and Martin took care of Ellen in their own home, alongside their children.

Rachel went to National School at Saint Mary’s in Ardara and later to Saint Columba’s Comprehensive School in Glenties.  In school Rachel was always full of life and energy and that’s the way she was throughout life.

From the first time you met Rachel, you knew you had a friend for life.

When Rachel was younger she worked as a barmaid in Killybegs, little did she know that while in that job she would meet the love of her life, Martin.  Rachel and Martin set up home in Killybegs where they raised four beautiful children.  As you know Rachel’s life was all about Martin and the children.

Rachel enjoyed her comforts: sleep, pyjamas and most importantly her snugglers!

Rachel’s caring nature led her into the caring profession where she began caring for those in need in the local community.

Rachel and Martin’s home was always a welcoming place – a hub of life – full of people, as she was always there for others to give advice and help and to make them smile and laugh again.

Rachel and Martin made the move from Killybegs to Bruckless three years ago.

Last year Rachel and Martin renewed their wedding vows in a quiet family gathering in Saint Mary’s Church, Killybegs after many years of married life together.

Rest in peace Rachel.



  • This Funeral Mass was celebrated today at 2.30pm in the Church of Saint Joseph and Saint Conal, Bruckless, Co Donegal, Diocese of Raphoe.                                                        

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