Remarks and words of thanks from Father Declan Hurley after the devotions at St Mary’s Cemetery held this weekend:
“Thank God, we can make this pilgrimage again! It has been three years since we stood together on this sacred ground – sacred because it is sacred ground, sacred because it contains the mortal remains of your deceased loved ones.
“Since our last meeting on this first Sunday in July, many of you have made a lonely journey here to bury a loved one.
“Restrictions on the number of people attending funerals meant that the wider community could not be present with you to carry and support you in your moment of grief and loss.
“We pray that our gathering today will somehow bring healing to the painful memory of this lonely experience.
“When it was not possible for you to gather here for these annual devotions, the parish priests made this pilgrimage for you, praying for your loved ones who rest here, and sprinkling the graves with holy water to recall the promise of eternal life given in baptism to all who rest here. As you again make this pilgrimage today, it is first and foremost for you a pilgrimage of remembrance as you remember your loved ones who rest here awaiting the resurrection. For many of you this act of remembrance is painful because the absence of those you love is still a source of pain in your life. We pray with you today, asking May the Lord comfort you at this time.
“But our pilgrimage must also be a pilgrimage that we make in faith, hope and love:
Faith – because we believe that those who rest here are destined for eternal life and that, according to the words of Jesus in the Gospel of today’s Mass, “their names are written in heaven”.
Hope – because we share the hope that God will bring us together again in the joy of his Kingdom;
Love – because our love for those who died was not extinguished by their death.
“May our prayer here today strengthen and confirm us all in this faith, this hope and this love.
“I want to pay tribute to all of you who have maintained your plots over the year and for the special effort you have made to ensure that your plots look so beautiful today.
“It is incumbent on all of us to work together to ensure that the cemetery remains a place of dignified beauty, a place that expresses our love and respect for all who rest here. Maintaining the cemetery requires your generosity.
“Thank you for your support of today’s fundraiser which helps cover some of the maintenance costs over the course of the year.
“You have to remember that it is out of generosity that we have this beautiful cemetery. So we remember today the generosity of Luke Smyth who donated the land for this cemetery in 1899. His grave is here in the center of the cemetery, and we will now lay a wreath at his grave as a sign of our gratitude and of our prayers for the happy rest of his soul.
“On behalf of all of us, I would like to express our thanks to the cemetery caretakers – Declan Tracey, Aaron Dunphy and Brian McKeown – for all their work maintaining the cemetery during the year and in the preparations for today. today.”
Father Hurley also paid tribute to Navan Gardaí for helping with traffic and safety, the Order of Malta, the Coldrick family, Andrews Construction Ltd. and to Gerry McMahon for allowing the use of their fields for parking, the volunteers who managed the parking lot and helped with the collection, Michael McGoldrick for the public address system, the Farrelly funeral directors for the use of the canopy as well as musicians and singers.