Today at noon, prayers will be offered for the repose of the souls of Thomas Connors, Sylvia Connors and their children, Jim, Christy and Mary at the Church of the Assumption, Bride Street in Wexford.
V Rev. Aodhan Marken (ADM, Wexford) will lead the prayers.
Bishop Brennan will attend and lead the prayers of commendation.
Below are the texts of the words of both Fr. Marken and Bishop Brennan.
Words of Fr. Aodhan Marken ADM Wexford
On behalf of the Parish Community here in Wexford and beyond I would like to offer our sympathies to all the family this afternoon, all those who suffer in grief and in pain, those who stand here in the midst of such a terrible reality, those who see and still can’t believe that such an atrocity and such devastation has visited your family, friends and community.
I extend my sympathies on behalf of our Bishop Denis Brennan and the people of the diocese of Ferns to Tomas, Sylvia, Jim, Christy and Baby Mary’s family and all the members of the Travelling Community and we continue to pray for you and ask God to be close to you these days.
In the Gospel this afternoon we hear the words of Jesus saying to his friends, ‘Do not let your hearts be troubled’, that’s a very difficult thing to do this afternoon when we are surrounded with such pain and devastation, in some way we might echo the words of Jesus during his passion ‘My God, My God why have you forsaken me? From a distance, It could seem that this family have been abandoned by God and yet very strongly throughout this country and beyond we see the hand of God so powerfully present in the outpouring of support and sympathy for the family, we see it in the kindness of strangers and in the goodness of the passerby who simply take time to stop offer support and assistance gently and kindly. This afternoon all hearts are broken – there are no human words – that will in any way offer you who love Thomas, Sylvia, Jim, Christy and Baby Mary any consolation, any comfort. All we can do as a nation and as a people is to walk beside you and with you, we cannot walk in your shoes because we cannot begin to understand the depth of your pain and how broken your hearts are, genuinely hearts are broken and the words we offer are oft times futile and without impact, so we stand with you and in confused and broken words and prayers we ask God to offer you the consolation and support that only He can give.
When someone dies who has reached a great age, we say that they have taken a great portion of history with them, but when young people die they take away the future, their dreams, their vision and their potential; that’s what makes this pain, this reality so devastating today, so unbelievable and heartbreaking.
The Travelling community and indeed many in our country are still gifted with the grace of faith, and today that is what we need so much, the gift of faith. That faith which has been tested to the limit these past dark days and yet we turn to God and ask him to embrace this family of Thomas, Sylvia, Jim, Christy and Baby Mary and give them a home where they will be together forever and where one day we too shall see them face to face and enjoy their friendship.
As we pray for them we especially pray for their sons and brothers Michael and Tom who are in the loving care of their family, there is no doubt that the memories of their Mam and Dad, brothers and sister will be kept alive by all those who love them and take care of them.
This family lived united in love – surrounded by care and kindness – may this be the story that their sons are told and may this be the legacy that continues as we remember and pray for them. Yes they died amid tragedy and devastation but they lived in love for one another and especially for their family.
Death robs us of so many things, future plans and dreams but the one thing that death can never take from us is love. May all whose hearts are broken, know the reality of love today. It is said that Christ is close to the broken hearted so he must be very close to this family and community today.
Merciful God, from whom human sadness is never hidden, you know the pain of grief that we feel at the loss of our loved ones. As we mourn their passing from this life so suddenly and tragically, comfort us with the knowledge that they now live in your loving embrace. May their gentle souls rest eternally with the God of love.
Words of Bishop Brennan at prayers of commendation.
Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
I would now like to read a message from Pope Francis to the families affected by the Carrickmines fire, and indeed to the whole Traveller Community.
“Pope Francis, having learned of the horrific fire in Carrickmines, expresses his deep sadness over this terrible tragedy. The Holy Father prays especially for those who have died and he wishes to assure all their family members; their friends, and the whole Traveller community, of his spiritual closeness and sympathy at this very difficult time.’’
The fire in Carrickmines has been a cruel blow to the Travelling Community and I would like to add my own sympathy to that of the Holy Father.
Having worked with the Travelling People over the years I have come to know, and admire, your lively sense of the sacred, and your strong family bonds.
I pray that these two traits, which are a hallmark of your community, will help you through this time of tears.
In that spirit we commend Thomas and Sylvia Connors and their children Jimmy, Christy, and Mary to the love and care of God our Father.
In our prayers we also remember Willie Lynch, Tara Gilbert, their daughters Kelsey and Jodie, and Jimmy Lynch.
May their souls, and the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.