A family who three weeks ago attended the funeral of their mother returned to the parish church today for the requiem mass of their 89-year-old father, who died following an attack in a hospital ward in Cork city last weekend.
A picture of a smiling Matthew and Delia Healy, taken in 2010 following the birth of their grandchild, also named Matthew, was placed on a table near the coffin at the start of the celebration of Mass at St Mary’s Church in Berrings, Co Cork.
Mr Healy, who was a retired farmer, died following an incident at St Joseph’s Ward in Mercy University Hospital (MUH) shortly after 5am last Sunday. The pensioner was a patient at the hospital. A 30-year old man, Dylan Magee, of Churchfield Green, Churchfield, appeared in court on Tuesday charged with his murder.
Chief celebrant Fr Patrick McCarthy told mourners gathered at the small parish church that Matthew was a “gentle” man who was proud of his family.
“He was proud of each and every one of his children and grandchildren, always asking after them. The picture on the table of mementos was taken on the occasion of the birth of the grandchild named after him 13 years ago.
“It is a most beautiful picture with real joy on the faces of Matthew and Delia. May that picture, with the joy it expresses, be our lasting memory of both Matthew and Delia.”
Fr McCarthy said that Matthew and his late wife “meant the world” to their family. He stated that whilst everyone has endure grief, some people experience it more than others.
Mr Healy had “assumed great responsibilities” from an early age in a time when “everyday life was tough and hard”, according to the priest.
“However, goodness triumphed over hardship because he was one of the gentlest people you could meet.
“Matthew and his recently deceased wife came to this church often. Each person has a story to tell of Matthew. Many of them are personal to you. A fond memory. Something that brings a smile to your face. I have heard many of them over the last few days.”
Fr McCarthy said that there was “great sadness” in the community following the death of Mr Healy. He stressed that everyone “felt the pain” of the Healy family.
He also offered his condolences to the family of the deceased, following their loss in recent weeks of both their mother and father.
Symbols of the life of the pensioner brought to the altar at the Mass included a finger rosary, as faith was very important to Matthew and his late wife. An iPad was also among the offerings as Matthew had a life long love for all things technological.
Fr McCarthy said that Matthew recorded events for the local school back in the 1970s and 1980s after he bought an enormous video camera that nearly needed to be carried around in a backpack.
He loved his iPad and tuned in to Mass on the live stream when he was too unwell to go to the local church.
The grandchildren of the deceased were active participants in the Mass as they read prayers of the faithful at the altar.
The Berrings Church Choir lead the congregation in the music whilst two of the adult children of the deceased did the readings.
At the start of the noon Mass, Fr McCarthy offered his condolences to the Healy family on behalf of Most Reverend William Crean, Bishop of Cloyne.
Fr McCarthy was joined at the mass by Fr Paddy Buckley, PP of Inniscarra; Fr Damien Lynch who now serves in Mallow but was a former curate in Berrings, and Fr Jack Hogan a retired parish priest living locally. Fr Pat McCarthy, chaplain of MUH, was also in attendance .
Following the recessional hymn Nearer My God To Thee Mr Healy was laid to rest in a private ceremony.
He is survived by his children Vincent, Gerard and Claire and his his eight grandchildren. Matthew and his wife Delia were predeceased by a daughter, Christine, who drowned as a young child many years ago.