Church full beyond capacity for funeral

Mon, May 23, 2011, 01:00

THE SACRED Heart Church in Donnybrook, Dublin, was full to overflowing with mourners during the funeral Mass of former taoiseach Dr Garret FitzGerald yesterday afternoon.

Many watched the proceedings outside on a large screen to the side of the church as it rained, although the sun emerged as Dr FitzGerald’s remains were carried out to respectful applause at the end of the ceremony.

Following the entrance hymn, Morning Has Broken, Dr FitzGerald’s lifelong friend Fr Enda McDonagh, former professor of moral theology at Maynooth, welcomed the mourners. Fr McDonagh’s co-celebrants were Fr Tom Layden SJ, Provincial of Jesuits, and Msgr Dermot Lane, parish priest of Balally and a long-time friend of the FitzGerald family.

Also there was Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin, Cardinal Seán Brady, Church of Ireland Archbishop of Dublin Michael Jackson, Methodist superintendent Rev Dr John Stephens, and Fr Martin Clarke, parish priest at Donnybrook.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny delivered the first reading, from the Acts of the Apostles.

Members of Dr FitzGerald’s friends and family, including his 10 grandchildren, played a key role in the service. Two of his grandchildren, Réachbha and Laoise FitzGerald, sang a psalm, Mo Ghrá Thú, a Thiarna(Blessed be the Lord), ahead of the second reading by another granddaughter, Iseult FitzGerald, who read from the First Letter of St Peter.

Various hymns sung throughout the service, including the A lleluiah, Holy, Holyand the Acclamation, were performed by a choir made up of 10 friends of Dr Fitz-Gerald’s grandchildren.

After a reading from the Gospel according to John and the homily were delivered by Fr McDonagh, Prayers of the Faithful were offered by former president Mary Robinson, who emphasised Dr FitzGerald’s deep love for his children, grandchildren and great-grandchild.

Former deputy Fine Gael leader Peter Barry offered another Prayer of the Faithful, saying he hoped others would have the tenacity and courage Dr Fitz-Gerald displayed in overcoming obstacles and ingeniously reaching out in new ways so people could live in peace on this island and throughout the world. Four of Dr FitzGerald’s grandchildren, Garret, Doireann, Aoife and Ciara FitzGerald, also offered Prayers of the Faithful.

Involved in the offertory procession were three grandchildren,Sorcha, Erinne and Meadhbh.

Dr FitzGerald’s son-in-law Vincent Deane, who is married to Mary, also carried a gift to the altar, as did the late taoiseach’s daughters-in-law, John’s wife Eithne and Mark’s wife Derval. Among the gifts were a book of Aer Lingus timetables, flowers from the gardens of Dr FitzGerald’s children and examples of his writing, including his book Just Garretand Studies,the quarterly review journal of the Jesuits to which Dr FitzGerald was a regular contributor.

Ag Críost an Síolwas sung by Réachbha and Laoise FitzGerald, before the rendition of Holy, Holyby the choir. The Lord’s Prayer was recited in Irish. The mourners were asked to take their time coming for Communion because the church was full. Hugh Tinney performed some of Dr FitzGerald’s favourite works on piano.

Dr FitzGerald’s three children, Mary, Mark and John then performed the Deo Gratias and took turns to thanked mourners from the altar towards the conclusion of the ceremony. The final hymn was Be Thou My Vision.