You will have heard by now the sad news [for his Family and for us] that James bade us farewell Monday afternoon – and we pray that the Lord will bring him safely home.
As we come to terms with this painful reality – let us share our thanks for the gift that he was to us in so many ways – grateful also that he is free now from the suffering which he so heroically bore during his too short life.
Let us make sure that we will do all that is necessary to honour him in the manner in which we mark his passing.
James told his Mum that he would like if his Farewell Mass could be celebrated in Clongowes. This is a great sign of his love of our School and all the memories he had of our Family. It is also a wonderful tribute to you, his Classmates, with whom he shared his time here.
But there is a condition to this ………...
James’ wish can only come true if the School is able to guarantee the local Gárda that the current covid-restrictions will be fully observed – i.e. that James’ funeral is strictly private (max. 50 attending in the Chapel). The last thing he would want would be for us to be seen to ignore the health safety regulations imposed on all citizens of our country during the pandemic – and leading to justified criticism of his Alma Mater. The HSE regulations expressly state that outdoor gatherings are not permitted – and the local Gárda say that they will give us all the help required to ensure this.
So I am writing directly to you – to ask for your complete co-operation – however disappointed you will be in not being able to come to Clongowes on Thursday. Let it be part of our tribute to our much-loved Lambo to allow his Family entrust him to the Lord in a strictly private funeral.
The School will send James on his way with a Guard of Honour on the Main Avenue.
Thanks to Cyril’s team – we hope to stream his Farewell Mass from the College Chapel online – so that you can join his Family and the School in thanking God for His gift of James in so many different ways – wherever you are. The link to the mass is here.
Thank you for accepting, for James’ sake – this sacrifice not to come to Clongowes for his funeral. Personally, I will miss meeting up with so many of you again to share our memories. We will arrange for a special Memorial Mass for James when restrictions are lifted and we can come together to joyfully celebrate his life – as we recall the good times with him and laugh together at the memories – and, in our laughter, may God receive our gratitude for His gift to us.
James had also told his Mum that he would like me to celebrate his Farewell Mass – and, needless to say, I was deeply touched and very honoured – and to that I said an immediate YES ! – without conditions.
Clongowes will be closed on Thursday morning.
James will be buried in Drogheda – may his gentle, joyful soul rest in peace.
Fr Michael Sheil SJ