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Dublin: 17 °C Wednesday 5 August, 2020
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Priest pays tribute to 'lovable, full of fun' O'Driscoll brothers at funeral mass

Father Tom Naughton stressed the need to help young males “to communicate the darkness that seems to be increasingly troubling young minds and hearts”.

Scenes from the funeral this afternoon.
Scenes from the funeral this afternoon.
Image: Eamonn Farrell/Photocall Ireland

Updated 11pm

THE FUNERAL MASS of the three O’Driscoll brothers who died in Cork last week has been held this afternoon.

The homily was delivered by Father Tom Naughton.

He stressed the need to help young males to speak to someone about any personal difficulties they might be having.

“If these days have taught us anything at all,” Naughton said, “they challenge us to continue and to increase our efforts to understand and to assist, especially young males, to communicate the darkness that seems to be increasingly troubling young minds and hearts.”

He paid tribute to nine-year-old twins, Paddy and Thomas, calling them “lovable rogues… fun-loving and energetic”.

Naughton said Jonathan, their older brother, “made the whole family happy”.

“All three boys went hunting together. They were lovable and full of fun.”

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He also emphasised the community’s support for the children’s parents, Helen and Thomas.

Read Father Tom Naughton’s homily in full below:

Dear Brothers and Sisters,During the last few days, ever so many people have tried to share the pain of loss that the parents of Jonathan, Thomas and Paddy hold in their hearts. We know that this is impossible to do yet our desire is truly sincere because we really would, if we could, take at least some of your pain, Helen and Thomas, so that you don’t have to carry it all alone.In this brief period, many emotions have being burning in the hearts and minds of fathers and mothers, not only here in our community of Charleville, but also across the length and breadth of Ireland and even beyond. Helen and Thomas, ever so many people want to embrace you and your family so that you may know that you are not alone and we don’t want you ever to feel alone because we are and will continue to be there for you. Don’t ever hesitate to call us, day or night, in the days, weeks, or months ahead. Never feel alone!We are all questioning so many things and, no doubt, we’ll never find the complete answers at this side of the grave. But if these days have taught us anything at all, they challenge us to continue and to increase our efforts to understand and to assist, especially young males, to communicate the darkness that seems to be increasingly troubling young minds and hearts.

It is possible that we have never had more activities and recreations, all sorts of noises and acquaintances around us yet, at the same time, it seems that never have people been so lonely and lonesome! Why is this the case and what must we do to regain the simple joy of a serene and peaceful mind?

On the one hand, we are here today to celebrate the lives of Jonathan, Thomas and Paddy and their parents would like you to have a brief glimpse.

The twins were lovable rogues. They were fun-loving and energetic. They loved playing with their friends. They were very honest, direct and straight. They said it as it was. They knew how to say sorry and were famous for their hugs.

They were both proud of their special achievement awards in school. Thomas was so proud that he got a Horrid Henry book as a prize in after-schools. They loved being praised and adored their mum and dad and family.

Patrick found it hard to mind his things. His hearing aid was dismantled and put back together many times. He put his glasses and the hearing aid on the teacher’s desk in school meticulously each day because that was what his Mum had said to do and he wanted to please her. They took care of each other and stood up for each other.

The day Jonathan came into Helen and Thomas’ lives was the happiest day of their lives. His grandfather, Da, was in hospital dying in intensive care when Jonathan arrived. They held him up again the glass window for Da to see him. Jonathan seemed to give Da a reason to get better.

Jonathan made the whole family happy. He was there when you needed him and could pop up at any stage. He loved all his godchildren and never forgot their birthdays. He’d go up to Dunnes and buy little outfits as birthday presents. All three boys went hunting together. They were lovable and full of fun. They loved their football, hurling and boxing and Jonathan often took them to Doneraile Park to play. It was their favourite place.

Jonathan got both boys special custom-printed books for Christmas. Patrick brought his to school and was really proud of it.

Helen and Thomas, thank you for sharing these important memories with us.

We are also here to ask God to take care of these boys until, through His understanding compassion and love, we are permitted to meet with them again where there is no more pain, no more sickness of mind or of body, no more brokenness of any sort, no more saying good-bye, no more offending God or hurting others and no more having to die.

We are asking for these few things from God through the power of the Mass, which I know is important to you both, Thomas and Helen, and also to so many of you here today in this church and following us through the media. The Mass makes the excruciating suffering, death and Resurrection of our innocent Lord enter into our lives: broken, sinful, confused and dark though they may at times be: to make them innocent once again. As long as there is a sincere heart hope is always possible.

“Trust in God still and trust in me” are Jesus’ words – the words not of some comfortable, well-heeled do-gooder but of one who in His own body felt the pain of all innocent victims, as well as embracing those who cause such hurt when they are sincerely sorry for it in their hearts; once the dark and disturbing clouds of confusion and pain have been blown away forever.

May Mary, the mother of Jesus, who saw her Son die before her very eyes, comfort you, Helen and Thomas, and help you to believe deep in your hearts that just as her Son, Jesus, rose from the dead, likewise, Jonathan, Thomas and Paddy may now be sharing in that same New Life and that one day we may be together again and smile and laugh once more.

Helplines

  • Console 1800 247 247 – (suicide prevention, self-harm, bereavement)

  • Aware 1890 303 302 (depression anxiety)

  • Pieta House 01 601 0000 or email mary@pieta.ie - (suicide, self-harm, bereavement)

  • Teen-Line Ireland 1800 833 634 (for ages 13 to 19)

  • Childline 1800 66 66 66 (for under 18s)

Read: Charleville tragedy: O’Driscoll twins and older brother to be buried separately >

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About the author:

Nicky Ryan

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