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Christy O'Connor Jnr's faith helped him through the tragic death of his son

That’s according to Fr Michael Kelly’s homily at the requiem mass for the golfer today.

Image: PA Wire/PA Images

THE REQUIEM MASS for the late golfer Christy O’Connor Jnr heard today how his faith kept him going after the tragic death of his son Darren at the age of just 17.

The homily, by Father Michael Kelly, was given at the Cathedral of Our Lady Assumed into Heaven and Saint Nicholas in Galway.

O’Connor died unexpectedly while on holiday on 6 January. Many figures from Irish sports and beyond paid tribute to him.

Fr Kelly said of O’Connor:

I have no doubt Christy had a large number of very close personal friends but he had the gift of making every acquaintance feel that they were special – and he treated them accordingly.

He noted that O’Connor had raised huge amounts for charities over the years, and said that his leaving “has left our world a poorer place. He was one in a million!”

Fr Kelly also noted that O’Connor’s wife Ann and her family “are well acquainted with grief and pain and have acquitted themselves with distinction in the face of it”.

He said that “for Christy, as for Darren [his son], the end came suddenly and too soon”.

The priest added that faith helped O’Connor cope with his son’s death:

But he did have strong faith and that is what came to his rescue after Darren’s tragic accident. He certainly believed in “the communion of Saints, the resurrection of the body and life everlasting”. He spoke openly and confidently of his conviction that he would meet Darren again – not quite so soon, I imagine. He prayed to him and for him and was convinced that Darren came to his assistance more than once. Throughout those dark days and during Ann’s illness their faith supported them and enabled them carry their cross with great dignity.

He told the family: “Although out of sight, Christy will be watching over you. He has only gone to God and God is very near.”

A star has fallen but his light will continue to shine. And just as he was your guiding light through difficulties and problems while he was alive, may he continue to light your way through the lonely days ahead.

O’Connor won four times in the European tour, and also played in two Ryder Cups.

After his death, the tributes were led by President Michael D Higgins, who described him as an ‘iconic’ sporting figure, and a warm and generous man.

Read: Irish golf legend Christy O’Connor Jnr dies aged 67>

Read: Lowry, McGinley and Poulter lead the golfing tributes to the late Christy O’Connor Jnr>

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