By Katie Ascough - 01 February, 2020
The Funeral Mass for children Conor (9), Darragh (7) and Carla (3) McGinley was celebrated yesterday by co-parish priest Fr Kevin Doherty and concelebrated by Fr John Gilligan at the Church of the Holy Family in Rathcoole, Dublin. Music was provided by teachers from Scoil Chrónáin, Conor and Darragh’s former school.
The bodies of the three children were found in a house in Dublin last Friday, and their mother has been arrested on suspicion of murder. Their story is a tragedy that has shaken the nation, and understandably so.
“My mam died about eight weeks ago. And of course there is sadness. But there is also a sense of peace, even of gratitude. Because she had lived her life, she had lived it well and fully and, as we sometimes say, ‘perhaps it was her time’. But, with all our hearts, and from the deepest place of our soul, we know that this was not the time for our dear children, for Conor, and Darragh and Carla. It was not their time. They had all their days before them…the adventure of life, and of love,” Fr Kevin Doherty’s homily began.
Fr Doherty continued to speak about the “chasm of absence” that the passing of the children has left in their lives and the “shroud of darkness” that has come down on their community in Newcastle and Rathcoole, leaving no one “untouched”. He spoke of children in their schools being confused, fragile and questioning and the “gentle love” teachers, especially at Scoil Chrónáin, have been speaking to them through their own grief.
Fr Kevin then directed his words to Andrew, the children’s father, admitting that none of them could have adequate words. Only that “from the deepest love that we know, we say to you we are sorry…We are sorry.”
“This darkness, this terrible and cruel darkness came to us last Friday. It reminds us of another Friday, nearly 2,000 years ago, when another innocent life was lost. On that Good Friday, as we call it, Jesus died…and the scripture tells us ‘a darkness came over the whole land’. Yet, somehow, some way, a pathway was found to say that the darkness does not win. That life and love are always more than darkness and death. In holy words we say…the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness could not overpower it,” Fr Kevin continued.
Fr Doherty recalled the “vigil on the green” that was held for the children last Tuesday night, saying, “I met some of our many and wonderful primary school children there. They told me about the boys’ love for football, and Minecraft and Lego. And what about Carla? ‘Oh, she loved Teddys’. And when I asked them, ‘Are you not cold?’ they said, ‘Oh yes, but it’s worth it.’”
He recalled several other moments of “light” in the past week of darkness, including a photograph of him and the family at Carla’s baptism recently being found. Recalling the event, he said: “In the very moment of her baptism, God made Carla a promise…that her life is eternal, it is forever. God had already made that promise to Conor and Darragh. And when I poured the water over Carla’s head, I was praying for her. Now, with all my heart and all my soul, I ask that she prays for us. Darragh and Conor, too.”
Fr Doherty brought back the reality of the grief as he admitted there was no pretending that “there is no darkness”. In fact, there is “the most horrific of all darkness”. But there is still victory, he noted, through the life and love eternal that is given to us, and especially the lives of these beautiful children who are “too precious not to share in this life and this love”.
“And so, a bit like Good Friday, darkness is having its day. But the light is there and like the rising Son, it will become brighter and brighter until there is only the Light of Resurrection. Nothing is lost forever. Certainly not Conor or Darragh or Carla,” his homily concluded.
May our prayers lie strongly with the McGinley and Morley families.