Joanne McCarthy RIP

 Joanne McCarthy from the Glasgow 30s group died in hospital early on Saturday morning. Her funeral will take place at St John's Church, Aurs Road/Darnley Road, Barrhead, near Glasgow, G78 2RW.

Joanne had been an active member of the 20s group in Scotland since 2001. She was well-known also to members of other groups through Main Events in Dublin, London, Manchester, Liverpool, Malpas and Iona.

Six years ago one of her sisters died and about three years ago she gave a very moving talk to the 20s group on bereavement, describing very bravely the process of how she coped with her sister's illness and death. Joanne didn't keep in very good health herself. She suffered from Acoustic Neuroma which affected her hearing nerve. Two years ago she had a specialised operation in Sheffield, which is successful in 97% of cases, but last year she began to lose some of her hearing and it was affecting her speech and balance.

More recently she was told that she would only have three to five years to live unless she took the chance of having another operation. The operation last month was successful, but afterwards there were complications. Half of her mouth was paralysed and she needed to be fed by a tube and was sick every night.

She then developed Aspiration Pneumonia and the hospital was unable to do anything about this. The only possibility would have been to have stayed on a ventilator for life. The tradition of the Church is that we need to do all we reasonably can to preserve life but that we don't need to take extraordinary means to preserve life. Joanne asked to be allowed to die naturally. She was aware of her situation and asked the nurse 'When am I going to die?' She received the Sacraments of the Sick and the Last Rites.

If you would like to send condolences to Joanne's parents and brother and sister the address of the McCarthy family is: 57 Paisley Road, Barrhead, Glasgow G78 1HP.

What I will always remember about Joanne is her great enthusiasm for the group and for coping with her frustration at times whenever events didn't work. Very often when I was doing the Glasgow 20s programme I would ring her up at work and see if she had any other ideas to put into the programme and she was always racking her brain trying to think of something new and fresh. Joanne was also the first to speak at her parish Masses about the group.

There will be a group Mass for Joanne on Sunday 26 October. This is the Mass that has already been arranged as part of the Glasgow Weekend. It will take place at the Convent of Mercy, 62 Hill Street, Glasgow G3 6RH, 10.30 am for 11am. Meanwhile we continue to remember Joanne and her family and friends in our prayers.

Eternal rest grant unto her, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon her. May she rest in peace. Amen.

Father Hugh

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