Information for media on the Funeral Liturgy for Ashling Murphy RIP

18 Jan 2022

At 11.00am today, the Funeral Mass for the late Ashling Murphy RIP will take place in in the parish Church of Saint Brigid, Mount Bolus, Co Offaly, in the Diocese of Meath.  Father Michael Meade, Parish Priest of Kilcormac & Killoughey, Mount Bolus, will be the chief celebrant at the Mass which will be attended by family and close friends.  Before the final Prayer of Commendation, Bishop Tom Deenihan, Bishop of Meath, will deliver a message on behalf of the people and priests of the Diocese of Meath.  The Mass will be live-streamed on

Singing performed by Ella Flaherty, Ruth Flaherty, Sarah Gunning and Caitríona Ní Oistín, accompanied by Regina McCarthy.

Music performed by members of Ballyboy Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann, teaching colleagues and friends of Ashling Murphy.

Entrance: Instrumental Piece Mountains of Pomeroy

First Reading, read by Emma Murphy (cousin)

A Reading from the prophet Isaiah  (25:6-9)

On this holy mountain, the Lord of hosts will prepare for all peoples, a banquet of rich food.  On this mountain he will remove the mourning veil covering all people and the shroud enwrapping all nations, he will destroy death forever.  The Lord will wipe away the tears from every cheek, he will wipe away his people’s shame everywhere on earth. For the Lord has said so, that day it will be said: See, this is our God in whom we hoped, we exult and we rejoice that he has saved us.

The word of the lord.

Responsorial PsalmYou are Mine

Sung by Ella Flaherty, Ruth Flaherty, Sarah Gunning and Caitríona Ní Oistín, accompanied by Regina McCarthy.

Second Reading, read by Lorraine Dunne (cousin)
A reading from the letter of St Paul to the Romans

Nothing can come between us and the love of Christ. Even if we are worried or troubled, or being persecuted, or lacking food or clothes, or being threatened. These are the trials through which we triumph by the power of him who loved us.

For I am certain of this, neither death nor life, no angel, no prince, nothing that exists, nothing still to come, not any power, or height, or depth, nor any created thing, can ever come between us and the love of God made visible in Christ Jesus our Lord.

The word of the lord.

Gospel Acclamation Alleluia sung by Ella Flaherty.

Road to Emmaus      Luke: 24: 13-16, 28-35

Homily preached by Father Michael Meade PP
I extend a warm welcome to all who join with the Murphy Family and with Ashling’s faith community. Together we grieve, we pray, we hurt – this is the heavy price we pay for love – we gather as a family of faith, to be with, to support by our prayer and our presence, those whose darkness is deep, whose pain is raw and fierce.  Kathleen and Ray, Cathal, Amy and her boyfriend, Ryan – you have been robbed of your most precious gift – a gift that gave only joy and love, fun and laughter to many beyond your family.

Many centuries ago, four very important words were delivered by angels first to Mary who said yes – then to lowly shepherds who came to see  –  we all need to hear those same words again ‘Do not be afraid’ –  these words are for all of us who have walked with, who have gathered in vigils, who gather today in wherever space we are – let us not be afraid to pray for one another, let us not be afraid to make change a reality in all our lives, change for what only is good.

The issues raised in many ways and by many voices since this horrible act of violence invaded all our lives will, we pray, continue to evolve and bring the change we need so much, to simply give and show respect.

Now we are here in another home where Ashling and her family joined in prayer with her larger family.  Here her journey in faith began with baptism, here and at home in Cully that faith blossomed into a life of love, a life of hope, a life of trust. That same love and joy was not kept on a shelf or wrapped up – it was freely given and shared through music, through sport, through her vocation as a teacher.  Today we give thanks for the privilege of sharing in this most wonderful gift of Ashling Murphy, today we share our love, our grief, our faith and our comfort with the Murphy and Leonard families.

We comfort each other also by our scripture: we pray that as Isaiah reminds us the Lord may wipe away our tears and Saint Paul calls to think on his words ‘nothing can come between us and the Love of Christ’.

Our Gospel story is our story, it is exactly what we all have been doing these last few days – the real challenge is to trust that God walks in our shoes too.

We complete this journey with heavy hearts, we go as far as we can to a graveside and just as Jesus made a promise to his followers, his words are now Ashling’s words for Kathleen and Ray, for Amy, for Cathal, for her boyfriend Ryan and for us, ‘know that I am with you always, yes to the end of time’

Ashling is not now welcomed by strangers, she is welcomed by ones she herself loved, I pray there is comfort for us as we hand her into the warm embrace of God and especially the warm embrace of her grandparents Sheila and Paddy, Lily and Joe.

Perhaps they may welcome with words like these from the Song of Songs:

‘Come then my love

My lovely one come.

Show me your face

Let me hear your voice

For your voice is sweet

And your face is beautiful’

May her gentle soul now rest happily in God’s arms and may Christ now enfold her in his eternal love.

Prayer of the Faithful

  1. Read by Siobháin Maher (cousin)

We pray for Ray, Kathleen, Cathal, Amy and Ashling’s partner Ryan, and all the extended Murphy and Leonard families.  May God grant them strength and comfort in one another.

Lord hear us.

  1. Read by Alisha Leonard (cousin)

We pray for all the faithfully departed, especially Ashling’s grandparent’s Paddy, Sheila, Joe and Lily.  May God reunite them all in his heavenly home.

Lord hear us.

  1. Read by Ciara Leonard (cousin)

Ashling epitomised the beauty of life, and shared her passion, gifts and talents with others so generously.  We pray for her friends, colleagues and students in Ballyboy Comhaltas, Kilcormac, Killoughey Camogie club and Scoil Naomh Colmcille, Durrow.  May Ashling’s legacy live on in the hearts of all she touched.

Lord hear us.

  1. Read by Aoife Leonard (cousin)

We pray in thanksgiving for the emergency services, all the staff at Tullamore hospital and an Garda Síochana, especially Alan and Lucy, who have been a special comfort to Ashling’s family during this difficult time.

Lord hear us.

  1. Read by Rachel O’Shea (cousin)

We pray that the many vigils that took place in memory of Ashling, mark the beginning of an end to violence against women.  May the candle light tributes bring an everlasting hope to all those who live in fear.

Lord hear us.

  1. Read by Caoimhe Dooley (cousin)

We pray that God will reward the kindness of our friends, neighbours and all those who paid tributes to Ashling, and bless their homes with happiness and peace.

Lord hear us.

Offertory:      Instrumental Piece Deoraíocht Cholmcille

Communion:  Instrumental Piece Planxty Dermot Grogan

Song I Watch the Sunrise performed by Ella Flaherty

Instrumental Piece Sí Beag Sí Mór

Song Mo Ghrá Thú performed by Ella Flaherty

Instrumental Piece Kusnacht

Instrumental Piece O’Sullivan’s Clan March

Reflection:      Air Saint Cecelia’s Lament
composed and performed by Attracta Brady.

Address by Bishop Tom Deenihan, Bishop of Meath, before the Prayers of Commendation at the Requiem Mass for Ashling Murphy
Before the Prayers of Commendation, I would like to offer a few words of sympathy and support, on behalf of the people and priests of the Diocese of Meath, to Ashling’s family and friends.

The past few days have been a nightmare.  A walk on a mild and sunny afternoon in January should be a happy event, promising the brighter and warmer days of spring and summer.  That, as we know, was not the case. A depraved act of violence which deprived a kind, talented, loved and admired young woman of her life has since united the country in grief and support.

The crime has also asked questions of ourselves and of society.  It has questioned our attitudes and, particularly, our attitudes towards women and it has questioned our values and our morality.  Whether those questions will be addressed or passed over remains to be seen but we cannot allow such violence and disregard for both human life and bodily integrity take root in our time and culture. Pope Francis in his homily for New Year’s Day just two weeks ago said that  violence against women was an insult to God.

We all know that no  individual should die like Ashling and no family should suffer like Ashling’s. Respect is an old-fashioned word but it is an important one.  Respect was missing last Wednesday but it has re-emerged here all the stronger.  Let us respect each other.

However, today is about Ashling and her family and friends.  I also think of Aisling’s pupils and the staff of Durrow National School who have lost a wonderful colleague and teacher.  Their grief and their loss must be acknowledged and supported.  As we return to our lives after today, their grief and loss remains. 

If there is a chink of light to last week’s darkness it must be the outpouring of support and sympathy that we have all seen.  It was manifested at the various vigils, it was manifested by those who assisted here, at the family home  and in Durrow school over the past few days by those who quietly and discreetly provided refreshments, stewarding and whatever help that they could. Community is important and community works.  Community is needed to overcome evils such as this and community will be needed  here in the weeks ahead.

Today, we bury Ashling as we must.  We bury a woman who lived the short years given to her to the full, who developed her talents, who reached out to others, who made a difference, who brought happiness and who was loved.

At moments like this, our faith in Jesus Christ and in His Resurrection come to our aid.  Death is not the end, the grave is not our final destiny. We must remember that.  We need to remember that.

The Prayers of Commendation which we are about to begin talk of ‘dispersing in sorrow’ but with the hope of meeting again.  In the bitter reality of one let us not lose faith in the other.

Saint Paul talks of the ‘Communion of Saints’, that union of those who lived good and holy lives, lives of generosity, lives that brought happiness.  One day, the prayers say, we shall see Ashling again and enjoy her company.   Until then, we commend her to God, consoling ourselves and each other with that other line from the ritual. ‘Blessed are they who die in the Lord, let them rest from their labours for their good deeds go with them’.

May Ashling’s memory be a consolation and may she rise in glory.

Recessional:   Instrumental Piece Flatwater Fran
Instrumental Piece Saint Sinchill’s Well


For media contact: Catholic Communications Office Maynooth: Martin Long +353 (0) 86 172 7678 and Brenda Drumm +353 (0) 87 310 4444.