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Priest celebrates “rich tapestry” of TD’s life

By Sarah Mac Donald - 28 March, 2014

President and Taoiseach join mourners at Nicky McFadden's funeral.

Nicky McFadden TDMourners attending the funeral of Fine Gael TD Nicky McFadden on Thursday were told that they were celebrating the “rich tapestry” of her life and entrusting her back to God.

In his homily, Fr Declan Shannon said he would like to think that when the 51-year-old was taking her last breathe on Tuesday afternoon “that she heard God whisper, ‘Well done, Nicky, good and faithful servant. Come and see the place that I have made for you’.”

He added, “May all the love that Nicky shared, all the kindness that she extended to others, all the memories she has left behind and all the faith that she had in her God be met with the warm embrace of God.”

The funeral Mass in the Church of Our Lady, Queen of Peace, Coosan, Athlone, Co Westmeath was concelebrated by Bishop John Kirby of Clonfert and Bishop Colm O’Reilly, the retired Bishop of Ardagh and Clonmacnois.

President Michael D Higgins, the Taoiseach Enda Kenny, the Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore and several members of the Cabinet were among the mourners.

The chief mourners were Nicky McFadden’s daughter Caren, her son Eoin, and her sisters Gab and Aine.

Elsewhere in his homily, Fr Declan Shannon recalled that the TD had “an eye for fashion and without much effort, she could mix and match from Penny’s to Brown Thomas and turn herself out impeccably.”

“Seeing the world through rose tinted glasses, Nicky was ever the optimist and could always see the good in others, even when the rest of the world seemed to have stopped trying.”

The slow onslaught of her sickness saw Nicky embrace this challenge, as she had done in the past, with all the determination and fight she could muster, he said.

She was determined that Motor Neurone wasn’t going to define her, and she “fought it with every fibre of her being but slowly accepted the gradual limitations it brought.”

“Surrounded by the great love of family and the loyal support of good friends, Nicky knew she was not on her own and neither was she. Even in her sickness, Nicky has left behind some incredible and precious memories.”  

He told the mourners that in their pain and loss, they would turn to God, sometimes to ask why.

“Why Nicky? Why someone so young? Why someone with so much to offer?”

“I don’t have any answers to these whys,” the priest said and added, “But let us turn to the God that Nicky believed in and to His word.”

He said God believes not in quantity of days but in quality of living.

He also cited the words of St Paul writing to his friend Timothy in the second reading which he said probably best summed up Nicky McFadden’s life: “I have fought the good fight. I have finished the race. I have kept the faith.”

Referring to the Gospel read by Bishop Colm O’Reilly, Fr Shannon said it reminded them of what the final judgement will be like.

“We hear the words of Jesus himself who said, ‘In so far as you did this to one of the least of these brothers or sisters of mine, you did it to me’. Nicky did many deeds of kindness and goodness, decency and generosity that many of us may never know about, but God knows about.”

He added, “No act of kindness or goodness, decency or generosity, however small will ever escape the notice or attention of God.”

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