Information for media on the Funeral Liturgy for Nicole Murphy RIP

31 Aug 2023

Today at 12.00pm the Funeral Mass for Nicole Murphy RIP will take place in Saint John the Baptist Church, Kilcash, Co Tipperary, in the Diocese of Waterford & Lismore.  The principal celebrant for the Mass will be Father Brian Power, PP of Kilsheelan / Kilcash, and concelebrants will include Bishop Alphonsus Cullinan, Bishop of Waterford & Lismore (see final words below).  Burial will take place afterwards in the adjoining cemetery. 
– Guard of honour by students of Loreto School
– Entrance music performed by Class mates from Loreto School
– Music sung by Andrea Houlihan
– Organist Ann-Marie Dwan
Introduction by Father Power
We gather today to pray for Nikki, and to support Declan and Serena her parents, 
Zoe and Ryan, her grandparents John and Margaret, aunts, uncles, cousins and friends.
And we are conscious of her grandmother Eileen who cannot be with us.
We come together to support you through our prayers and by our presence.  Indeed the prayers and thoughts of the people of Ireland’s are represented here today by our President Michael D Higgins, our Mayor Richie Molloy, the Taoiseach is represented by his Aide-de-Camp Commandant Claire Mortimer, Minister for Education, Norma Foley TD, and other elected public representatives.
I thank our Bishop Alphonsus, and all of the priests and religious, who have gathered here with us, and our parish faith community who have rallied round you this week.
Bereavement Candle SymbolsBefore the beginning of Mass, the following symbols are presented:
– Zach brings the Christmas tree, this represents Nikki love of Christmas, a family time;
– Leah brings the rosary beads, which represents Nikki strong belief in God;
– Lana brings the apron, this represents Nikki love of baking;
– Leon brings a pack of chewing gum, and I’m sure her friends can vouch for that
– Ryan brings Nikki’s concertina, which represents her love of music and performing music.
First Reading, read by Zoe Murphy 
Second Reading, read by Billy Murphy
Gospel proclaimed by Father John Treacy, Parish Priest of Saints Peter & Paul’s Church, Clonmel, and school chaplain of Loreto Secondary School. 
Homily preached by Father Power
Today we have gathered in prayer to offer this Requiem Mass for Nikki.
We are here also for her family, to offer our support by our presence and our prayers.
Serena, Declan, Zoe, Ryan, Eileen, Margaret and John, her aunt and uncles and cousins were blessed by the life of Nikki.
Just as Nikki was blessed by being born into a loving family, so her family were blessed by her life.  Nikki was a gift to you her family and you were a gift to her.
We are here in the church where so many of the joyful occasions of Nikki’s short life took place.  She was baptised here in Kilcash church, made her first Holy Communion here and was Confirmed here by Bishop Alphonsus.
The presence of the young people here: Nikki’s friends, her classmates and neighbours, is a testament and tribute to the wonderful person that she was, and the great love and esteem that so many had for her.
As we gather we are conscious of the McSweeney and Coffey families who mourn the loss of Grace and Luke, and Zoe, and our prayers are with them at this time of heartbreak.
We are also conscious of another family in Cashel who are facing the same grief and pain that you have endured these last few days.
The question we instinctively ask ourselves is: ‘Why did it happen?’  and we ask ourselves this over and over again.  We can never fully explain this and the reasons are never clear.  
Our faith doesn’t promise to stop bad things from happening, but, rather, that God will be with us, as we live through His love.
Our faith tells us that God loves each of us so much that He wants to be with us.  God became man to go through the good time and awful times with us.  Jesus died and rose again so that we might share in eternal life with Him.  
The first place that we learn about God’s love is from our families.  Nikki was a caring, kind, loving person.  This was something that she learned from her mum and dad, and this was reflected in the vocation of midwife that she wished to pursue, to help bring new life into the world and to care for the mom and baby.
Yesterday, Bishop Alphonsus prayed Psalm 23 with the family the final verse of it came home to me in a way that hadn’t struck me before:
‘Surely goodness and kindness shall follow me all the days of our life;
In the Lord’s own house shall I dwell for ever and ever.’
Our prayer and our belief is that Nikki is now in the Lord’s own house.
At a time like this a parish community becomes a family, as we put aside our own concerns to help Nikki’s family.  In this way we turn to the consoling embrace of our Heavenly Father.
Nikki was a young person of faith, whose faith was important to her.  A Loreto girl, a school that is imbued with the spirituality of Mary Ward and Mary Teresa Ball: two strong women of faith, conviction, love and concern for others.
Nikki had a great ability to make new friends.
Her final resting place is a special space not among strangers, but among friends.
At a time like this we believe God’s love surrounds us from the time we are born to the time we die.  But it doesn’t end there, because in death we are reborn to eternal life with God the Father.
Serena and Declan have experienced a great sense of peace since they brought Nikki home, this has been a great gift from Nikki, which we value and appreciate very much.
May you continue to feel Nikki’s love and her prayers as she watches over you in a special way.
Our prayer is that Nikki now rests in the warm loving embrace of our Heavenly Father.  Amen.Offertory
Sinead brings the bread and wine to the altar in preparation for the Liturgy of the Eucharist.
Final Commendation
At the end of the Funeral Mass, Bishop Cullinan will speak the following before leading the Final Prayers of Commendation:The whole country has been affected by this tragedy and by the loss of such wonderful young people whose lives have been cut short.  On behalf of the whole community and of the whole diocese, priests and people, I offer my sincere sympathies to Nikki’s parents Declan and Serena, to her sister Zoe, brother Ryan, grandparents Margaret and John Manning and Eileen Murphy, to her aunts, uncles, grand-aunts, grand-uncles, cousins, extended family and her wide circle of friends.

We commend Nikki to God and we ask for a greater faith in the Resurrection, that Jesus Christ who is stronger than death and has risen from the dead will gather Nikki to Himself, as we ask for strength and consolation for the whole family and indeed for us all.