Information for media on the Funeral Liturgy of Luke McSweeney RIP and Grace McSweeney RIP 

01 Sep 2023

The Funeral Mass for Luke McSweeney RIP and Grace McSweeney RIP took place today at 11.30am in Saints Peter & Paul’s Church, Clonmel, Co Tipperary, in the Diocese of Waterford & Lismore.  The principal celebrant was Father Billy Meehan, Parish Priest of Saint Mary’s Church Clonmel, and school chaplain in the Presentation Secondary School.  Bishop Alphonsus Cullinan, Bishop of Waterford and Lismore, concelebrated this Mass along with other clergy.  Also in attendance was the Church of Ireland Dean of Cashel, Rev James Mulhall.
Father Meehan had married Brigid and Paul – Luke and Grace’s parents – and had baptised Luke and Grace.  

The music for the Mass was provided by the choirs of Presentation Secondary School and CBS High School, Clonmel. 

Chief mourners
Parents – Paul and Bridget
Brothers – Mark and David
Boyfriend: Aaron
Girlfriend – Kelly
Zoey Coffey – Demerja and John
Nicole Murphy – Declan and Serena

Homily notes of Father Meehan
The following reflection For a Parent on the death of a child, was written by John O’Donoghue:
No one knows the wonder
Your child awoke in you,
Your heart a perfect cradle
To hold its presence,
As new waves of love
Kept surprising your soul.
Now you sit bereft
Inside a nightmare,
Your eyes numbed
By the sight of a grave
No parent should ever see.
You will wear this absence
Like a secret locket,
Always wondering why
Such a new soul
Was taken home so soon.
Let the silent tears flow
And when your eyes clear
Perhaps you will glimpse
How your eternal child
Has become the unseen angel
Who parents your heart
And persuades the moon
To send new gifts ashore.

John O’Donoghue’s reflection reflects the pathos, pain and sense of loss experienced by Paul, Bridget, Mark and David.

Our whole town, every individual across the country is, at this time, united in grief and solidarity with you.  Yes there is a dark cloud over the town – yet the light of support shines through and its presence is a testimony of solidarity.

Luke was:  

  • Exceptional young person.  
  • GAA involvement.
  • Sportsman – played hurling with Saint Mary’s
  • Recently played soccer with Old Bridge
  • Covid:  hitting ball with Martin
  • Member of Tipp 11 – 16
  • Advice to young brother: Keep going to gym; Eat proper food; Remain loyal to religion and God.
  • Spiritual person – who saw life as a challenge and put it in perspective.
  • Religious person.

Grace was:

  • Diligent student, gymnast, Kool school.
  • Saint Patrick’s Day Parade – routine in front of review stand – posed and graceful.
  • Taught gymnastics.
  • Wanted to remain forever young.
  • Grace by name, Grace by nature.
  • Timekeeper and scorekeeper at matches.

Luke and Grace: 

  • Angels of Peace
  • Young people encouraged by Luke & Grace.  
  • Crowds visiting family.  
  • Solidarity
  • Legacy  –  spiritual
  • Involvement:  Grace:  Joyful, community

In A Time Of Grief by Joyce Rupp
Even though I walk through the darkest valley,
I fear no evil; for you are with me;
your rod and your staff – they comfort me.
     –   Psalm 23:4

Loss clutches my joy and tosses it aside carelessly.
Emptiness follows like a stalker, draining my body of energy.
Confusion interrupts the static flow of my thoughts.
Heartache taunts with a false belief of endless happiness.
I turn to you, Friend of those who faced farewells,
for you know the pain of an uninvited goodbye,
you whose mother stood beneath your cross of death,
you who wept at the graveside of a precious friend,
you who gathered your loved ones for a last meal.
Yes, you surely know the hollow chamber of sorrow.
Remind me often that the grief I now experience
comes as the natural consequence of leave-taking.
Easy my impatience when I want to feel better quickly.
Soften any anger, bitterness, or disappointment.
Free me of fears and worries regarding the future.
Bind my heart to you through the kindness of people
whose caring presence remains steadfast while I mourn.
Assure me each day and night that I am not alone –
you are with me, a comforting presence in this dark valley.
After dusk.  Dawn comes.

Final Prayers of Commendation
To conclude the Funeral Mass, Bishop Cullinan led the Final Prayers of Commendation during which the coffin was sprinkled with Holy Water and incensed.  Burial took place afterwards in Saint Patrick’s Cemetery.