Information for media on the funeral liturgy of Mark O’Sullivan RIP

31 Oct 2020

At 3.30pm today the Funeral Mass for the late Mark O’Sullivan RIP will be celebrated in the Church of the Immaculate Conception, Kanturk, Co Cork, in the Diocese of Cloyne.  Father Toby Bluitt PP will be chief celebrant for this Mass which will be concelebrated by Father John Magner.

In accordance with current public health restrictions, Mark’s Funeral Mass shall take place privately involving family members only.

Introduction and Welcome
Good afternoon and welcome to the Church of the Immaculate Conception, Kanturk for the Funeral Mass of Mark O’ Sullivan.

My name is Toby Bluitt, I am the Parish Priest of Kanturk, Lismire and Castlemagner.

Grief is never an easy burden to bear – and never more so when it comes to us in what can only be described as an untimely, shocking and tragic way.

We gather in such grief today, carrying a burden that not only seems to be, but in fact is overwhelming.

We gather to comfort and support each other in our common loss.

We gather to make sense of the senseless.

We join with Bishop Crean in offering our deepest sympathies to Anne, relatives and extended family.  

We ask you to keep them in your prayers as they endeavour to navigate this path of unexpected loss and anguish.

We welcome friends, neighbours and all who due to the current restrictions are unable to be with us in person here today.

I would like to welcome and thank my colleague Father John Magner for his Ministry to the family during this difficult week and for joining me today in offering the Funeral Mass for Mark.

Entrance Antiphon
O Lord, support us all the day long,

until the shadows lengthen, and the evening comes

and the busy world is hushed

and the fever of life is over, and our work is done

then Lord, in thy mercy, grant us a safe lodging,

a holy rest and peace at the last

Lord God

whose days are without end

and whose mercies beyond counting

keep us mindful

that life is short and the hour of death unknown

Let your spirit guide our days on earth

sure in faith, strong in hope, perfect in love

And when our earthly journey is ended

lead us rejoicing into your kingdom

Through our Lord Jesus Christ your Son who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit

One God for ever and ever.

First Reading
A reading from the prophet Isaiah

The spirit of the Lord God is upon me

because the Lord has anointed me

he has sent me to bring good news to the oppressed

to bind up the broken hearted

to proclaim liberty to the captives

and release to the prisoners

to comfort all who mourn

to give them a garland instead of ashes

the oil of gladness instead of mourning

They will be called oaks of righteousness

The planting of the Lord, to display his glory

The Word of the Lord

Responsorial Psalm
Response: The Lord is my light and my help

The Lord is my light and my help

whom shall I fear?

The Lord is the stronghold of my life;

Of whom shall I be afraid       R


There is one thing I ask of the Lord

for this I long

to live in the house of the Lord

all the days of my life             R


Do not abandon or forsake me

O God my help

Hope in him, hold firm and take heart

Hope in the Lord                    R

Second Reading
A reading from the Second Letter of Saint Paul to the Corinthians

We do not proclaim ourselves; we proclaim Jesus Christ as Lord and ourselves as your slaves for Jesus’ sake

For it is the God who said ”Let light shine out of darkness”, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

But we have this treasure in clay jars so that it may be made clear that this extraordinary power belongs to God and does not come from us.

We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed

Perplexed, but not driven to despair

Persecuted but not forsaken

Struck down but not destroyed

Always carrying in the body the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be visible in our bodies.

The Word of the Lord

Gospel Acclamation
Alleluia Alleluia

God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son,
So that everyone who believes in him might have eternal life

Gospel proclaimed by Father John Magner
A reading from the Holy Gospel according to Luke

It was about noon and darkness came over the whole land
     until three in the afternoon
     because of an eclipse of the sun.
Then the veil of the temple was torn down the middle.
Jesus cried out in a loud voice,
     “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit”;
     and when he had said this he breathed his last.

Now there was a virtuous and righteous man named Joseph who,
     though he was a member of the council,
     went to Pilate and asked for the Body of Jesus.
After he had taken the Body down,
     he wrapped it in a linen cloth
     and laid him in a rock-hewn tomb
     in which no one had yet been buried.

The Gospel of the Lord

Homily preached by Father Toby Bluitt PP
I will reiterate the words of the homily from yesterday because the reality of this heart breaking loss has not changed.

The loss of three people created in God’s image.

Three men loved equally by God.

A God who knows that we are not perfect, a God who sees through our mistaken actions.

A God who is our creator, our Father, our forgiver.

Today’s Gospel from Luke which depicts the Passion of Christ speaks of a darkness coming over the whole world, indeed it seemed like that same darkness, the darkest hour of creation – enveloped the O’Sullivan family and the local community here and in Castlemagner over the past number of days.

The normally tranquil local area blanketed at this time of year with a myriad of colourful Autumn leaves became a hive of activity and the Autumn light was, for a time, a very distant memory.

The shock, the numbness, the devastation, was impossible to imagine and the unfolding news of the loss of three lives was incomprehensible.

At times like this, to quote from Jesuit Father John Reese, “a priest does not come down the mountain like Moses … with inspiration from God.”  Just like all of you, I too am struggling to make sense of this life changing tragedy.

Mark attended school in Ballyhass and Kanturk like his younger brother Diarmuid and also socialised in Castlemagner. He studied  law at the University of Limerick (UL), graduating in 2017. He was a trainee solicitor preparing to complete his final exams. UL paid tribute to him this week and underlined the shock felt within the UL community where Mark was highly thought of.

One would imagine that life was full of possibilities for him.

One could also say that Mark touched many people’s lives along the way as he journeyed through life.

His life and death have changed you all and you will never be the same again.

So today, gathered together in our grief, we do not minimise the loss of these three lives by trying to provide easy answers.

Because there are no answers.

But there are some things that we do know in the midst of our grief.

We know that this was not God’s will, that the Lord’s prayer teaches us “thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven”.  God’s will is not always done on earth as the tragedy of this week reminds us.

We know that this was not a “wake up call”, nor did it happen so that we can learn something

For God is moved by this tragedy too.

He sent his only son to alleviate our suffering.

Jesus saw tragedy – sickness, blindness, despair, hunger, and grief – and was moved over and over to end the suffering and relieve the pain of those whose lives he encountered.

Jesus cried in grief when his friend Lazarus died.  Even while knowing that he would bring Lazarus back from the tomb, Jesus was still moved to tears.

Jesus in his own suffering on the cross saw his mother’s pain and asked John to care for her.

Jesus is moved by our fear, our grief, our pain, our loss, our suffering because he, too, has suffered.

And he weeps with us when we weep.

Mercy is the first attribute of God. The name of God is mercy.

There are no situations that we cannot get out of.

We are not condemned to sink into quicksand.

So today, we come in our grief, our pain, our anger and our confusion.

Do we chose to allow the heart breaking turbulence of tragedy to hold us captive?

To rob us of our destination?

To cloud the glimmer of light that will guide us on our way?

Or do we chose to walk out from the shadows and actions of darkness?

To take small steps towards our destination.

Toward the light and brightness of a new day.

Prayer of the Faithful
Introduction: In the face of death, we ask God our Father to ease our sorrow, increase our hope and renew our confidence through the victory of Christ over death:

  1. For Mark: In baptism he was given the pledge of eternal life. May he know the glory of your kingdom where there is no more sorrow. Lord hear us.
  2. Lord when all is dark and we are being tossed about in the storms of life, grant us the faith to know that you are near and that you will direct us to safety and peace. Lord hear us.
  3. For our parish community. May we continue to be a neighbourhood of caring followers of Christ. Lord hear us.
  4. For our extended Christian family far and wide who have supported us in prayer and solidarity during this challenging time. Lord hear us
  5. For members of the Emergency services and all who assisted in any way during this tragic event. May the Lord continue to bless their work and keep them safe. Lord hear us.
  6. Mark touched many people’s lives during his earthly journey. May we remember him as being made in God’s image and loved by God. Lord hear us.

Father, we come to you at this time of great shock and grief. Into your hands we commend the souls of Mark, Tadg and Diarmuid, bring them home to your heavenly kingdom.

We ask this through your Risen Son, Jesus  Christ our Lord,  Amen.

Concluding Prayer
God of all consolation

In your unending love and mercy for us

You turn the darkness of death into the dawn of new life

Show compassion to your people in their sorrow

as we commend Mark to you

Strengthen the bonds of our family and our community

Be our refuge and our strength

To lift us from the darkness of our grief

To the peace and light of your presence

We ask this through Christ our Lord, Amen


For media contact: Catholic Communications Office Maynooth: Martin Long +353 (0) 86 172 7678