Mourners told no words can capture the 'grief and loss'
CROWDS OF people at the memorial Mass for murdered Irish woman Jill Meagher were last night told that the hopes and dreams she and her husband Tom had for their life in Australia were “cut short by a despicable act one Friday night that has left us all numb”.
Speaking to a congregation of close to 1,000, Jill’s aunt Catherine McKeon-Halpin also said: “To our friends and the people of Drogheda, Australia and especially Brunswick who marched in their thousands, you gave our families and me the courage to get through these past two weeks. May we offer you our sincere thanks.”
She spoke after the emotional Mass in St Peter’s church, Drogheda, where, 29 years ago, Jill was baptised.
The priest who married her and Tom in 2008, Fr Oliver Devine, gave the homily and told the congregation that “from Melbourne to Drogheda, from Dublin to Perth, from Boyle in Roscommon to Brisbane in Australia and around the world, all of us have been touched by Jillian Meagher’s tragic passing from us”.
He said: “She has touched the hearts of all of us, even if we only knew her for a short time or even if we didn’t know her at all apart from what we have learned from the media.”
He recalled that while working, in Brown Thomas in 2003, she had served Australian pop star Kylie Minogue. “She was shocked to realise that Kylie was actually shorter than herself!”
He said that in a love poem Jill wrote for Tom for their wedding day, she had said: “He taught me that listening to Jewel just wasn’t cool/Tried to convince me that Shakespeare was but a fool/After listening to all this waffle I just knew, So I wrote on the back of a Tesco receipt/‘I Love You’.”
Fr Devine said: “Bad things can happen to good people and, this side of the grave, we have no rational explanation why.”
In a special message to her family, Cardinal Seán Brady, Catholic Primate of All-Ireland, said: “There are no words which can begin to capture the overwhelming grief and loss which Jill’s family and friends must be feeling at this time.”
Afterwards, her uncle Michael McKeon said his message to Jill’s friends was: “Value your friendships here and now, look to the person beside you and give them a big hug. Don’t leave it.” The President was represented by his aide-de-camp Col Brendan McAndrew and the Taoiseach was represented by his aide-de-camp Comdt Michael Tracey. Also in attendance was the Australian charge d’affaires John Smith and his wife.