Priest pleads with young people to ‘live life to the full’
Funeral of Chloe Kinsella (15) puts ‘focus on the life that our young people live’
The funeral Mass for Chloe Kinsella (15), Kileely, Limerick, which took place at St Munchin’s Church yesterday. Photographed is her distraught sister and her brother and their mother Shirley, who is comforted by Shirley’s brother Matthew.
The death of Chloe Kinsella (15) in Limerick was the third tragic death of a school student in recent months, her funeral Mass was told yesterday. In a moving homily, Fr Pat Seaver pleaded with all young people to “live life to the full” and said the Kinsella family did not want any other parents to suffer such a devastating loss.
“All of us were anxious not to glamorise Chloe’s funeral service,” Fr Seaver said. “Her death is tragic and it follows in the wake of two similar deaths of students at St Nessan’s during the summer holidays. We do not want any more tragedies. Life is for living, especially for young people, especially for 15-year-olds.”
Hundreds of people packed St Munchin’s Church for the Mass. Many had taken part in the six-day search for Chloe, whose body was recovered from the river Shannon last Friday, just yards from her home at Kenyon Avenue in Kileely.
Mourners were led by her parents Shirley and Kevin and their seven other children, Sonya, Kevin, Jonathan, Linsey, Marguerite, Brian and Darren.
There were tearful scenes when Marguerite spoke about her “beautiful sister”. “You always had the perfect hair, the perfect smile and the perfect bright blue eyes. I’ll always remember you in your room doing yourself up and and you looked like a model,” she said.
“Now I know we will always have two angels looking over our family, but it goes without saying, sleep tight, gorgeous, you will always be forever young and I’ll miss you and I love you forever.” In 2004, Chloe’s younger sister Sophie died aged four from a heart illness.
Chloe had spent the night before she went missing queuing for tickets to see boy band One Direction. “Spending 19 hours with you the day before you went missing I will treasure forever. We never got on any better and we had a great laugh.
In the sermon which was described as a “co-operative effort” involving Chloe’s parents, the principal of St Nessan’s Eugene O’Brien, and the home liaison teacher Teri Coffey, Fr Seaver said they were determined that there would be no hype during the ceremony.
“A guidance counsellor in Cork asked the fifth and sixth years to write a page giving their reaction to a suicide that had taken place of a fellow student in Junior Cert. Almost half of the students wrote something like the following, ‘What a great way to go! I’d like to have the courage to so the same’,” Fr Seaver said.
“The problem is that it can lead to a copycat situation. So in this sermon, we, the co-authors, decided to focus on God’s gift of life – life to be lived to the full. And we all agreed that it would focus on the life that our young people live. ”
Fr Seaver also spoke about the dangers of alcohol.
“Sadly, one of the people who helped draft this homily reported seeing quite a large number of young people who attended the prayer vigil on Thursday night under the influence of drink,” he said, “so we appeal to young people, try and begin to appreciate God’s wonderful gift of life and live it to the full.”
Chloe was buried in the family plot at Mount St Oliver Cemetery beside her Sophie.