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Friday, December 9, 2016
Ireland: funeral for schoolgirl killed in Turkish bombing
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¬†The Requiem Mass for Tara Whelan, so tragically killed in a bomb blast last weekend in Turkey, was celebrated in St Nicholas' Church, Ballyduff, Co Waterford at 12noon today. Tara's parents, Tony and Frances Whelan, and her brothers and sisters, Frank, Anton, Marianne and Lisa were joined by hundreds of other mourners from the parish and elsewhere to bid a final farewell to Tara and to commend her to the love and mercy of the Lord. President Mary McAleese was represented by her aide de camp Colonel Ray King. Commandant Michael Murphy, aide de camp of Taoiseach Bertie Ahern and Minister for Transport, Martin Cullen TD, represented the government. Mr. Korhan Kungeru was present on behalf of the Turkish embassy. The mayors from Waterford City and County were also present as were a number of other public representatives. Fr Michael O'Byrne, Parish Priest in Ballyduff/Portlaw, was the principal celebrant at the Mass, assisted by the curate, Fr Gerry O'Connor. Bishop of Waterford and Lismore Dr William Lee, who is currently out of the country on holiday, was represented by Mgr Michael Olden, the Vicar General for the Diocese. The retired Bishop of Waterford and Lismore Dr Michael Russell presided at the Mass. Pupils from the Mercy Convent Secondary School formed a guard of honour as the remains were received at the Church and at the recessional procession to the grave at the end of Mass. Ballyduff Choir was responsible for the music and led the congregational singing at the Mass. Tara had been a very popular member of this choir. Symbols, representing Tara's life, were brought forward by classmates from the Mercy Convent Secondary School, at the beginning of the funeral liturgy. A family photograph was the first item to be presented as family was the centre of Tara's life. A school jumper signified the affection and esteem in which Tara was held by her classmates. A tin whistle symbolising Tara's great musical talent was presented together with a script of the play 'Shaughran', in memory of Tara's musical contribution to the staging of this play by the local drama group. A single flower was carried by a neighbour and friend, Tanza O'Dea. Passages from scripture were read by Tara's brother Frank and her aunt Anna Whelan. In his homily, Fr O'Byrne observed how the Gospel values of compassion and self-giving were mirrored in the life of Tara. He said that Tara was known for her compassion and generosity, values that were passed on from her parents ≠ values that are the hallmarks of a good Christian. Fr O'Byrne said: "Tara Whelan knew what it was to give. She gave her smile, her time, her patience, her talents to everyone she met. When her young life was so ruthlessly ended, she was on her way to buy gifts for her family and friends at home ≠ more giving." Reminding us of Jesus' saying in the Gospel of St Luke, that "the amount you measure out is the amount you will be given back", Fr O'Byrne said: "for all her generous giving, Tara is now enjoying the generosity of God who will reward her with eternal life." The gifts for the Eucharistic offering were brought forward by members of Tara's immediate family. After the concluding prayer a reflection on Tara's life was read by Tanza O'Dea. A message of sympathy from Bishop William Lee was read by Mgr Olden. In this message, Bishop Lee said that he wished to convey his deepest ympathy to the parents and family of Tara Whelan on the occasion of her tragic death. Together with the priests and people of the diocese of Waterford and Lismore he is deeply shocked by the tragedy. He assures the family of prayers and support not just at the present time but in the weeks and months ahead as they try to come to terms with this great loss in their lives. Source: Irish Catholic Media Office
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