About 500 people gathered at Our Lady of the Rosary Church this morning for the funeral of Amy Curran, a young lady of 15 who was tragically killed in a car accident on New Year's Day. The Mass was celebrated in the modern Roman rite, in English (though I sang the In paradisum in Latin as is our custom here at Blackfen). In conversation with her friends some time ago, Amy said that at her funeral, she wanted people to dress traditionally, in black. Therefore I used our beautiful black vestments and Brother Michael OFM Cap, the chaplain of St Thomas More school, brought some black vestments for the three concelebrants.
Amy's family wrote a beautiful summary of Amy's life which I read on their behalf before preaching the sermon in which I spoke of the sadness of such an untimely death and the glory to which God has called us. I mentioned the prayers and Masses that have already been offered and requested for the repose of Amy's soul, that God might forgive "any sins she committed through human frailty" as the prayer has it.
Offering the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, we were aware that this is the greatest of all our prayers. In union with the sacrifice of Christ upon the Cross, made present on the altar, we offered our supplication for the repose of Amy's soul, and our prayers for her family
After Mass, we solemnly laid Amy's body to rest in Sidcup Cemetery - near to the grave of Alison Gresley in fact. Back at the parish, the Union of Catholic Mothers provided food and our parish family, together with Amy's friends from school and elsewhere, were able to meet more informally, look at photographs of Amy, and pledge their continuing prayers and care for Amy's family.
Today was also a day on which to value the Catholic Christian family of the parish. the goodwill and love of so many people is important at such a time and is of value to the family in their grief. The help of other families who have themselves lost children is especially important. During the time I have been here at Blackfen, I have celebrated the funeral of Kim Dempsey (13) who was knocked down by a bus on her way to school, of Sam Regan (21) who was killed in a car accident, of Alison Gresley (9) who died of cancer, of Adam Donnelly (17) who died of a sudden heart attack while on holiday. The families of these young people have been of great help and support to one another, understanding, as they do, the grief that only such parents know.
Many people commented on the importance of the funeral Mass and the Catholic tradition of prayer. I know that readers of this blog will offer their own prayers as well. Thank God for the Church, for the parish, and for our Catholic faith at a time such as this.