This site uses cookies to improve your experience and to provide services and advertising. By continuing to browse, you agree to the use of cookies described in our Cookies Policy. You may change your settings at any time but this may impact on the functionality of the site. To learn more see our Cookies Policy.
OK
Dublin: 0 °C Sunday 17 November, 2019
Advertisement

'Brendan is finally getting the dignity of a funeral'

Brendan Megraw is being laid to rest in Belfast today.

Image: PA Wire/Press Association Images

THE FUNERAL OF Brendan Megraw is underway in Belfast, 36 years after he went missing.

Megraw was 23 years old when he was abducted by the IRA from his home in west Belfast in April 1978.

His wife was expecting their first baby when the newlywed was abducted from his home.

Megraw’s body was found in a bog in Meath last month. Six of the Disappeared – people murdered and secretly buried by the IRA in the 1970s – are yet to be found.

Speaking in the aftermath of the recovery, his brother said Kieran said the family were “grateful and relieved”.

During the homily at today’s funeral mass, Fr Aidan Brankin noted how Megraw’s mother Brigid never lived to see the day her son’s body was found. She died in 2002.

“Brendan, is finally getting the dignity of a funeral Mass today and we pray for the happy repose of his soul,” Brankin told the congregation.

The mass was held in Saint Oliver Plunkett Church. Megraw will be buried at St Joseph’s graveyard in Glenavy.

Brendan Megraw search Brendan's brother Seán (left) helps carry his coffin. Source: PA Wire/Press Association Images

Here is the homily in full:

The Gospel last Sunday reflected on the dignity of every person. Jesus referred to Himself as the temple – God’s presence, and Paul wrote that we are all holy because each of the followers of Jesus are temples of the Holy Spirit. We are the presence, of God to one another.

When talking to Brendan’s family on Wednesday, they were describing the journey home through Dublin. Garda outriders, traffic stopped, just like a VIP – and that is really the message that Jesus brought from God – that we are all important to him – we are his children and heirs to the kingdom of God.

We are to live as God’s children, God’s family, respecting ourselves and respecting others.It is the reason we have a funeral Mass – to recognise the gift of the person we are mourning, to pray for forgiveness for any sins they may have committed, to be strengthened on our own faith journey and to support one another in faith.

We do not need to visit a grave to remember our loved ones who have gone before us, but as we pray at the graveside we do so wishing and hoping that they are now resting in peace. As we look around the graveyard we remember that we are all members of God’s family – praying for each other and remembering all who touched our lives with their faith, their love and their friendship and that we are called to do the same. Brendan was the third of Bobby and Brigid’s four children. He was born in Glenavy in 1955.

The family moved into Owenvarragh shortly after that, lured and tempted by the prospect of running water and electricity – a big help with a young family.After school in Saint Finian’s and De La Salle he became a sign writer and then worked in a carpet factory. Brendan loved metalwork, woodwork and just being creative. Brendan had just got a job on the ships and was due to start there the week after he was taken on the 8 April 1978 at twenty-three years of age.

The family moved to Stewartstown Avenue in 1961. In the 1970s, Brendan was very much into music and also his appearance – making sure every hair was in place before leaving the house, shoes were polished, ironing the crease on his trousers – and then getting onto a motorbike. He loved bikes and especially enjoyed going over ramps – which were a lot bigger than the ones we have today!

Brendan married in Saint Matthias’ and they were expecting their first child when he was taken. His Dad Bobby died in 1963 when only thirty-nine years of age, when Brendan was only eight years old – so hard on all the family.

His Mum Brigid died in 2002. At that stage Brendan had been missing twenty five years. Brigid prayed for this day, when Brendan was found and he could have a funeral and be buried in the family grave. Unfortunately, Brigid didn’t live to see that prayer answered. But she wasn’t just praying for Brendan. Brigid prayed for all those who had been taken. She shared in the joy of other families when their loved ones were found. Brigid shared their disappointments when a search proved unsuccessful.

They became like an extended family, supporting, encouraging and praying for each other – putting out appeals for fresh information even having their own song. Even today Brendan’s family and friends are praying for those still missing that they too will soon be found – hoping that anyone with information that could help in that search will come forward, no matter how trivial they think it may be.

I know the family today want to thank everyone who has helped, supported and who have been there for them over these thirty-six years. Too many to list or name, but especially those down in Oristown for everything they have done, for all who arranged prayer vigils, celebrated Masses or who were just there for them.

Brendan, is finally getting the dignity of a funeral Mass today and we pray for the happy repose of his soul. Among those ‘List for the Dead’ for November, Brendan’s name is written many times along with all those who have loved us or who have touched our lives with their love, their friendship and their faith.

Our prayers today are for Brendan, but also for his family as they continue their own faith journey. The promise of Jesus in the Gospel that He would rise again in three days only made sense to His followers when He rose from the dead. But it was also our hope and promise of resurrection too.

Jesus taught us that through Baptism we really are the children of God. We are all special to Him. May the wisdom of the Holy Spirit help people all over the world to recognise that everyone is a temple of the Holy Spirit, that everyone is made in the image of God, and that each day we can all live as one family, respecting ourselves, respecting others, and being able to live in the joy of the love and closeness of God’s presence as we continue our journey to the Kingdom of God.

The Disappeared: Body found in Meath bog confirmed as that of Brendan Megraw

Families of remaining Disappeared told: We want to end your torment

  • Share on Facebook
  • Email this article
  •  

About the author:

Órla Ryan

Read next:

COMMENTS (63)