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Community urged to ‘gather round’ Cuddihy family

By Sarah Mac Donald - 29 October, 2014

The deaths of Jimmy and Kathleen Cuddihy “have caused tears, fear and anxiety in this parish and far beyond it” - Bishop Donal McKeown.

Cuddihy funerals“These are painful days,” Bishop Donal McKeown told the family and friends of Kathleen and Jimmy Cuddihy at their funeral Mass in the Sacred Heart Church in Carndonagh on Tuesday.

In his address to the congregation, the Bishop of Derry urged the local faith community to support one another in the midst of their fears and anxieties.

“As a faith community, you have had to face many difficult times. You will continue to be with the family over the next weeks and months. You will be sensitive to those who had to deal with the aftermath of the deaths,” he urged them.

He said the deaths of 77-year-old Jimmy Cuddihy, who was a retired schoolteacher, and 73-year-old Kathleen, who was a retired nurse, “have caused tears, fear and anxiety in this parish and far beyond it.”

The Bishop said that when we hear about terrible events every day in the media, most of them pass us by. But when something tragic happens in our own community then it can really shake us. “Today we gather in our confusion to mark one such event,” he said.

“We gather round the Cuddihy family in their terrible pain and loss. But, as we gather to pay our sympathies to the extended family, we also recognise what effect their deaths have had on very many people.”

Elsewhere in his address, Bishop McKeown said that the community was standing together at the foot of the Cuddihy family cross, “not sure what to make of the loss, searching for something that will calm our troubled spirits, struggling for words. People of faith have no simple answer to that mystery.”

“But in our uncertain prayers and amidst the tears, we try to believe that, even if we will never understand what happened less than a week ago, there is one who can make sense of the apparently senseless.”

“Because of the brutal death of Jesus on the Cross at 33 years of age and his subsequent Resurrection, we believe that even the most awful events in life cannot destroy the dignity of everyone involved in the deaths.”

He urged them to pray that the tragedy would not crush any one.

“And as we leave this church today, let us – in our own imperfect ways – continue to pray for one another.”

The bodies of the elderly couple were discovered at their home in Carndonagh on Thursday last week. Their 42-year-old son Julian has been charged with their murders. A psychiatric report has been ordered.

Maureen Cuddihy, the daughter of a couple pleaded on Tuesday with those with mental health problems to get professional help.

The chief mourners were the popular couple’s three children James, Delilah and Maureen.

Fr Con McLaughlin, who concelebrated the funeral Mass with Bishop McKeown, recalled how Jimmy Cuddihy had taught him metalwork many decades ago.

Paying tribute to Jimmy and Kathleen, he said the couple touched the lives and hearts of everyone in the community through their work and personal lives.

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