- We welcome Padraig to this Church with Holy water and with our prayers. Holy Water is a reminder of our Baptism, a time when in the presence of family and friends, Padraig became an official member of the Christian faith and Community.
- Today this same community is represented by us who gather to pray for her and for those who grieve for Padraig. In a special way our thoughts are with Margaret his mother, Marguerite his sister, Brendan and Michael his brothers. We also think of you his wider family and friends and his Salesian Family who grieve with you.
- On behalf of the Provincial, Fr Eunan Mcdonnell, who is currently in Ethiopia I extend his and our sympathies.
- We place the book of the Gospel on the coffin, a reminder of our faith, a faith that promises eternal life to all its peoples.
- We have the light of the Paschal Candle, a reminder of the empty tomb on Easter Sunday morning after the light of the Resurrection had penetrated the darkness of death forever.
- These symbols all remind us that God has a special place for each of us in his life. Now that Padraig is finding his eternal rest with his Father Paddy and other much loved relatives and friends, we want to remember and celebrate his life with us through the ritual and sacrament that is Eucharist, a word that means thanksgiving…. We do so with joy, because he asked us to, faith, with gratitude, but also with a sense of lost and with love.
All of us who knew Pádraig, I am sure, will say it is a privilege to have known her and shared in her sense of fun and joy.
They say that they can be no real presence without respect. Pádraig understood this maxim, showing respect to those who reached out to him for his help and those he saw that were in need of help.
Pádraig was a Pastoral Worker in the truest meaning of that word…
It comes from theLatin verb pascerewhich carries the understanding of journeying with, so as to nourish, and it is built on the Gospel image of the Good Shepherd, who seeks out, who calls, is known, who faces down danger, injustice and seeks to build solidarity, justices and inclusion.
Pádraig, like the rest of us did not always get it right, was not always perfect.
He understood woundedness and that is possibly what made him such a good pastoral guide, an empathetic person with a heart that continuously sought to welcome…
He too like us was wounded and carried his own wounds… so together we turn as we always do at the beginning of our Eucharist to our God to ask for his mercy, his understanding, his healing, his strength for Pádraig and for us.
We recognise our own struggles, our own woundedness and the wounds we too can inflict and confess.
Lord Have mercy, Christ, Lord…
Introduction: His Wishes
- Pádraig and I were very good friends having joined the Salesians at almost the same time
- Our friendship began when I as a very raw recruit went to work on a Salesian summer camp.
- Even by the age of 18, Pádraig was already immersed in the Salesian way of life and took it upon himself to look after this lost soul from the Limerick.
- Thus, it came as no surprise to me to read in his wishes for his funeral that it would be a joyful celebration of Salesian life and as such of Padriag’s own life. In typical Pádraig fashion very clear instructions were left re this day all signed with that flowing and open signature of his.
First Reading and Time
- Our first reading today speaks of time, and time was important to Pádraig.
- Time was for being with people, time was for sitting and listening, time was for healing, definitely not for rushing and getting too fussed about.
- Pádraig learned how to make time sacred, allowing God to work through it.
- In her book, ‘Now is the Time”, Sr Stanislaus Kennedy says that: “The real measure of life is not whether we have lived the length of our day, but whether we have lived the depth and breadth of them… whether, in other words we have lived them to the full”
- We may feel Pádraig has left this life too young, was there more that to do and could more have been done?
- However, I really do believe that this is not the way Pádraig would have seen it, not the way he would explain the event of his passing last Sunday if he was around to put his own words to it today.
- I took the time on Monday last to sit quietly in his room, it was early and the birds were singing outside the window. As I sat there I found myself drawn to his bedside locker and on it were three books all in the process of being read by him. The top one caught my eye.
- It is called “The Cow Book: A Story of the life of a Family Farm”by John Connell.
- Pádraig had marked it at a certain page and I would like to share with you the last paragraph of this page.
- Outside of recalling Pádraig’s love for animals and nature, his time in Warrenstown Salesian Agricultural College as Principal, his deep knowledge in particular of sheep, his commitment to Trim Show and so much more in this sector of life, I trust you will understand why I feel that it is appropriate today:
And I quote: I cast my eyes around the paddock as I reverse the tractor and head for the road once more. Please God let the weather hold. I hope we do not need to bring the flock in again… I will be tired this evening, but it will be a good tiredness. The rain holds off and I am warm in my work. A neighbour waves to me from his tractor and we salute one another, arms raised in greeting like the Celts we are”.
- It also so happens that one of Pádraig’s interest was Celtic Spirituality of life with its sense of circles, rhythms and relational unity.
- In the Celtic world, the human person is on a continuous journey from darkness to light: our lives stir within the darkness of our mother’s womb;
- Birth is a journey from this darkness to light… and for Pádraig this light began with his family here in Ballinakill and in this community he expressed a desire to return to today. Our thoughts and prayers are with you all but especially you Margaret, Marguerite, Brendan and Michael.
- In Celtic Spirituality, Life is seen as a journey in search of belonging, of a place to call home, a place or persons who offers shelter to the traveller.
- On this journey there are two internal driving forces: the human heart and the human soul. Each has its own story to tell…
- The heart is the home of our greatest emotions and intimacies…
- The human soul is the fountain that flows within us with echoes of our greatest home, the home which is divine love itself, a home without limitations or borders…an everlasting home not made by human hands, in the heavens as St Paul puts it in the Second reading chosen by Pádraig for us today
- While the human body is born complete in one moment, the human heart in the Celtic tradition is never completely born until it returns to it creator, something also echoing Pádraig’s choice of Gospel acclamation verse: I came from the Father and entered the world; now I am leaving the world and going back to the Father.”
Gospel and Pastor/Brotherhood
- One of the most important things for Pádraig was his Salesian Profession Cross which carries the image of the Good Shepherd.
- Pádraig was chosen by God for the Brother way of life in the Salesian Charism and he responded with all of his ability. He was a strong advocate of this calling and believed in it deeply.
- Those who study the thinking of Don Bosco, when he founded the Salesian Order, tell us that Don Bosco first priority was to find helpers who would share deeply his spirit and his mission.
- He did not distinguish in quality or importance between a brother vocation, priesthood or that of a fellow helper who felt called.
- Don Bosco was looking for someone who was ready to share not only the work but also the charism, someone who understood work the way he did, and not simply someone who would cooperate materially in the work.
- Don Bosco, at a General chapter of the still fledging congregation in 1886, spoke of thevast field that is open particularly to the Brothers to pursue their love of neighbour and their zeal for the glory of God
- Pádraig filled this role with great generosity, ability and belief. Fr Dan has spoken of some of the roles he held in his Salesian life.
- Probably the ones I knew him best at was his chaplaincy roles in our Schools in Celbridge and Pallaskenry and his work in the local community in South hill and that wider area.
Work of Chaplain/Pastoral/Gospel
- The work of a Chaplain is very varied but is above all a pastoral response to real people and real needs. The word pastoral is derived from pastor meaning shepherd.
- The Salesian spirit calls us to be shepherds of loving kindness. We are called to follow in the footsteps Jesus, as the good shepherd.
- In the Salesian spirit this call is heard in particular through the voices and equally if not more importantly, the silences of the young and in particular, those who are lost and scattered, the poor and the wounded, the vulnerable and most in need.
- Pádraig took this role with all his heart and there are many young people, families, colleagues and friends who hold a sincere and deeply held conviction of this in our world today.
- He lived it with the conviction of the scriptures and it is of importance that the Gospel he wanted read was that of the Beatitudes.
- We know this was a life changing moment for those that heard their scriptures interpreted by Jesus in such a new and refreshing way.
- Jesus in the Beatitudes is speaking with the heart and compassion of his heavenly Father, a heart that is responding to the needs and situation of his people, those that were poor, downtrodden, in need of hope.
A Discipleship Call
- This is a discipleship calling, a mission each of us is asked to live in our lives from our Baptism.
- Pádraig answered that calling daily, with his giftedness, with his failings, with his own sometimes unique view of life and above all we believe with the grace of a Heavenly Father, who is welcoming him home with Pádraig’s own father Paddy and many all his relatives into the heavenly kingdom…
- These few words are probably filled with inadequacies, but I suspect Pádraig has sat back and continues to smile at my efforts.
- Pádraig, we offer you our love, our memories, above all our prayers…we will not forget you and we ask you remember us from your new home and pray in particular for those who miss and wish you most: your mother, your sister and brothers, your wider families and your many good friends.
- Thanks for your friendship… May you rest in peace…
President: We are God’s Children. We have a divine dignity death cannot touch. In confidence we place our prayers before our God
Response: Lord Graciously Hear Us.
Reader: The Christ to Whom Brother Pádraig witnessed on earth, may now acknowledge him as one of his own in heaven. Lord hear Us.
Reader: For those who mourn the passing of Brother Pádraig, particularly his mother Margaret and the McDonald family, the Salesian Family and his many relatives and friends. Lord hear Us.
Reader: For the many young people and the areas that Brother Pádraig worked and ministered in, that the love of God may continue to protect and bless them. Lord Hear Us.
Reader: For all the Faithful Departed, in particular we remember Pádraig’s Father, Paddy, that they may see God face to face in the kingdom of Heaven. Lord Hear Us.
President: In the upper room, Mary the Mother of Jesus led the disciples in prayer as they moaned the loss of Jesus. May she accompany those who mourn this day and bring us to that moment when we are at peace with our memories and have consolation and strength in our daily lives.