Hundreds gather to mourn murdered Castleknock man

Priest says O’Gorman ‘cared about ideas and issues and concepts because he cared about people’

Brother Paul and sister Catherine of the late Tom O’Gorman after his funeral Mass in Our Lady of the Church in Castleknock yesterday. Photograph: David Sleator

Brother Paul and sister Catherine of the late Tom O’Gorman after his funeral Mass in Our Lady of the Church in Castleknock yesterday. Photograph: David Sleator

Sat, Jan 25, 2014, 01:00

Virtue, tolerance and belief in the resurrection. The three main themes of the readings at the funeral of murdered Dublin man Tom O’Gorman tried to capture something of his spirit but, as his friend Fr Stephen Kelly told the hundreds of mourners at the church of Our Lady Mother of the Church, Castleknock, Dublin, the young Catholic advocate could not be reduced to mere “soundbites”.

Mr O’Gorman (39) died in horrific circumstances at his home just a few hundred metres from the grey- brick building where his coffin lay.

On the altar above were no fewer than 24 clergymen, led by the chief celebrant Bishop of Limerick Brendan Leahy who said Tom had “prompted us to enlarge our hearts with a new capacity to love”.

Among those attending were members of the Iona Institute, the Pro-Life Campaign and other Catholic lay groups with which he was active.

As Fr Kelly said: “Tom’s was no tame Christianity. He understood the challenge and power of the Gospel. He knew how radical the teachings of Christ are, no matter how many times he heard them: ‘Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us’.”


Passions
In his homily, Fr Kelly reminded the gathering of his friend’s many passions including sport – especially rugby – music and films, as well as the company of friends and family.

The priest remarked: “The headlines and soundbites that surrounded Tom’s passing and tried to sum him up sounded so trivial and that’s ironic because Tom was one of the least trivial people I know.

“He cared so passionately about so many things and he put that passion into action every single day. He cared about ideas and issues and concepts because he cared about people.

“The Lord tells us that unless we become like little children, we cannot enter the kingdom of God. There was something childlike about Tom, his sense of fun, his mimicry, his love of being with people, his honesty and his trustfulness all brought that out but perhaps the most childlike feature was his perception.”

The first reading from the Book of Wisdom described how “the virtuous man” would “die before his time” and the second pleaded that “you should never pass judgment on a brother or treat him with contempt”.

The Gospel recalled Jesus’s cry “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?’” or “My God, my God, why have you deserted me?” and it was this reading which was taken up by Bishop Leahy.

“Tom loved life, he valued life and he promoted life,” the bishop said. “He had come to understand that the key to life was the mysterious question that Jesus uttered when he was dying: ‘Why’?”

The experience that Jesus had on the cross “Tom underwent too”.

The chief mourners were Mr O’Gorman’s brother and sister Paul and Catherine O’Gorman. Others in attendance included Auxiliary Bishop of Dublin Dr Raymond Field; Fr Vincent Twomey; Fr Tim Bartlett; Fr Éamon Devlin, a former teacher in Castleknock College; Irish Catholic editor Michael Kelly; Irish Times columnist Breda O’Brien; psychiatrist Patricia Casey and Iona Institute director David Quinn.