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Schoolboy’s death brings life to organ recipients

By Ann Marie Foley - 16 February, 2015

Oisín McGrathA young man who excelled in both his school work and sports and who was helpful to everyone was Fr Séamus Quinn’s tribute to Oisín McGrath.

The parish priest was speaking at the funeral Mass of the young 13-year-old who was fatally injured while playing at school during his lunch break last week.

His organs were donated to save five lives after he died in hospital on Thursday.

In his homily, Fr Quinn recalled that, “Oisín would always take time and make place for people who might not have found it as easy to achieve as he did himself. He had the ability to found friendships with those who didn’t share his own passions and interest,” the priest told mourners.

“He was a people person. The grief of his young classmates from St Michael’s and his fellow team mates from sport say more than any adult could ever get across.”

He played hurling and football and excelled in reading poetry, quizzes, maths and music.

Many of his class and team mates and fellow pupils from St Michael’s College in Enniskillen, Co Fermanagh were present at the funeral.

Speaking of how Oisín’s parents Sharon and Nigel McGrath “co-operated with God the Creator” by bringing him into existence, Fr Quinn said that they co-operated with God yet again by “opening up to life, love, hope and ultimately Christ, in the face of Oisín’s tragic death” by deciding to donate his organs for transplant.

“Because of their incredibly selfless and faith-based decision, Oisín’s falling on the ground and dying like the grain of wheat has brought life to five other human beings,” the priest highlighted.

Fr Quinn, who is parish priest of Cleenish in the Diocese of Clogher, spoke of how thanks to the gift of the organ donations, the power of the risen Christ is palpable in the parish community “coming from the last place you might expect to find it in human terms – right from the blood of the young lad who is at the centre of the most painful cross that his family and this community could imagine.”

He told how a retired Baptist pastor colleague from Enniskillen, Alvin Mullin, made great efforts to contact him to offer a piece of Scripture to Oisín’s loved ones.

The passage from the Prophet Isaiah describes the suffering servant who is to come – “he does not break the crushed reed nor quench the wavering flame”.

Fr Quinn expressed condolences on behalf of Bishop Liam MacDaid of Clogher to the McGrath family.

The funeral Mass was celebrated in St Patrick’s Church in Holywell, Belcoo, Co Fermanagh.

The principal celebrant was Fr Quinn.

The con-celebrants were Mgr Joseph McGuinness, chair of the board of governors of St Michael’s College, Enniskillen, who was representing Bishop Liam MacDaid.

Canon Macartan McQuaid, chaplain to St Michael’s College in Enniskillen and Fr Niall Martin SMA, a native of the parish.

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