Homily by Bishop Larry Duffy at the Funeral Mass for the late Canon Pat McHugh

30 Apr 2022

St Mary’s Church, Pettigo, Co Donegal

Saturday, 30 April 2022

The Scripture readings chosen for today beautifully express the faith & hope of Canon Pat in Life & Resurrection.

The Gospel we have just listened to (John 14: 1-6) speaks of “many rooms in my father’s house”. It is a statement of the abundant and wonderful love and welcome of God. The risen Jesus goes to prepare a place for us – and a reception on our arrival.  It reminds us of the welcome the Father had for the Prodigal Son – the picture of the Father running to meet us, putting a ring on our finger, sandals on our feet and a robe on our back and saying “May I walk you home”

The new heaven and new earth is the destination of God’s faithful; the city where God lives among people in complete peace and harmony. Death and resurrection are our roadways to life eternal.

Canon Pat McHugh was a man of deep faith; a faith sowed in the home setting, nourished in school & college, and lived out in the community. His relationship with Christ influenced his actions/attitudes. This faith led him to give his life to priesthood of Jesus Christ.

Pat was ordained in June 1979 and served as a priest for 43 years: years of huge change for church and country. A student of Vatican II, Pat embraced change better than most and was always ready for a new challenge. Whether as teacher, vocation director, seminary formator, priest in a parish or through service to the GAA, Pat gave it his best shot.

A man of courage Pat spoke his truth regardless of how it was received. Pat was always visionary – ahead of his time in many ways. He was never fearful of rocking things and shaking them up; of moving people out of cosy comfort zones into pastures new. He invited people “to put out into the deep” and consider fresh possibilities. (see Luke 5:4)

In Lough Derg he continued a long family tradition of involvement and service. His time there brought blessings to many.

The renovation of St Mary’s Church in Castleblayney and his leadership role in this is praised and appreciated as one of the finest in the land. Today the parishioners are so proud of their beautiful house of God.

Last Autumn I was so grateful to Fr Pat for taking on Director of the Synodal Pathway. He had a vision and plans for Clogher going forward. God had other plans and now we pray for his guidance in heaven.

My prayer for Pat is beautifully expressed in St Paul’s letter to Timothy “I have fought the good fight to the end; I have run the race to the finish; I have kept the faith; all there is to come now is the crown of righteousness reserved for me, which the Lord, the righteous judge will give to me on that Day; and not only to me but to all those who have longed for his appearing” (2 Timothy 4:7-8).

Thank you, Pat, for your life and love.

May you rest in peace.

+ Larry Duffy

Notes for Editors

Bishop Larry Duffy is the Bishop of Clogher.

The Diocese of Clogher encompasses all of Co Monaghan, almost all of Co Fermanagh, together with portions of Counties Tyrone, Donegal, Louth and Cavan. The diocese has 37 parishes, 85 churches and is served by 50 priests and 2 deacons. It has a Catholic population of 83,882. The patron saint is St Macartan and the Cathedral church is in Monaghan town.

For further information:

Dr Gary Carville,

Director of Communications,
Diocese of Clogher,
Mobile +353 (0)87-1767226