Funeral Mass for Fr Frank Meehan – Shinrone – Sunday 19th of November 2017
During the Killaloe Summer Pilgrimage to Lourdes this year – Fr Frank & some of the parishioners of Shinrone led the outdoor Stations of Cross in between unseasonable Summer showers. As Fr Frank delivered the final blessing after a most meaningful & spiritual set of reflections on the journey of the Cross the choir from OGunneloe sang Hail Glorious St Patrick. Little did Fr Frank, a great devotee of Lourdes himself think that the Via delarosa would become so real for him with his serious illness & suffering that led to his sudden & untimely departure from us during the week. The suddenness of his going leaves us all in a state of shock & profound sadness and loss and bewilderment.
Condolences & Sympathies
Heartfelt condolences to his family, friends & the parishioners in the various Parishes where he faithfully served for almost half a century. Special sympathies to the people of Shinrone where Fr Frank served & enjoyed so much for the past 30 years, 19 as Parish Priest. During that time here he touched so many lives in a very profound way & the number of people who came to pay respects over the past few days is a great testament to that.
A native of Ennis, born in the mid-1940’s, attending St. Flannan’s College and Maynooth, Frank was ordained in 1971 and served Kilmurray Ibrickane, the Emigrant Apostolate in England, Bodyke, Dublin and Silvermines until his appointment here in Shinrone. 46 years of unbroken and faithful service. Remarkable by any standards, when one thinks of it. May God give him his just rewards.
November & Wisdom
We are in the Month of November, Mí Na Marbh & one of the most consoling & wonderful aspects of our Resurrection faith is that we believe that life is not ended but transformed utterly in our passing to the next life. The Reading at Mass the day before Frank went to God was the very same reading today from the book of Wisdom & it reminds us that the souls of the virtuous are in the hands of God. In this funeral Mass we pray for the soul of Fr Frank. As the saying goes “Ní bhíonn saoi gan locht”. We pray that the Lord might forgive any shortcomings he may have had & grant him the light of heaven.
Gospel & Hospitality
The Gospel of many rooms in Jesus’ fathers house could hardly be more apt for Fr Frank. Hospitality & welcome was his middle name! As an example of that I recalla most wonderful day in Shinrone here in early Summer with the kind invitation from a Frank to spend a day here on pastoral visitation. It began with Mass in Church with the community and the primary school children. It continued with a visit to the schools, the elderly, some of the housebound, a visit to St Anne’s outreach for special needs. It also included various centres of community interest in the parish, the GAA Centre, the magnificent hall, the pitches etc all of which he was so proud to show off.
Evening of Hospitality
The evening was an outstanding one of hospitality & enjoyment of sharing a meal with Fr Frank & the surrounding clergy. I certainly won’t forget that great day in Frank’s genial company and it will stay with me for quite some time.
There are many rooms in my Fathers House… There were many rooms in Franks house on earth so we console ourselves with the Word of God in our grief & loss.
Love of County Clare
Along with that beautiful characteristic of hospitality, that of kindness was not far behind. The kindness, patience and goodness he showed to Fr. Frank Bergin in his twilight years, was second to none and was remarked by many.
Getting away from it all!
In terms of getting away from it all – he used to enjoy meeting his great friend – Fr. Pascal Flannery and escaping away to the peace and quiet of the local waterways and the beautiful countryside in this part of the world.
Passionate Clare Man!
As you well know Frank was a proud & passionate Clare man, who loved to return home to Ennis from time to time & was a keen supporter of the Clare hurling team. The All Ireland win in 2013 gave him great delight, especially seeing that the fortunes of his adopted county and my native county, Offaly had waned somewhat in recent years!
Brevity and dislike of tendency to Eulogise!
As you are no doubt aware Frank was not a fan of long liturgies & wordy eulogies, so I at this juncture I think it timely for me to cut my losses & wind down or he may not be blessing me from above.
Sincere condolences again to so many friends and family at this time of sadness, loss and bereavement. May he enjoy the light & glory & hospitality, kindness and benevolence of heaven. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dílis agus go raibh leaba aige i measc na naoimh. Áiméan!
Family of Fr. Frank
Sisters Mary (Byrt), Anne (Fry), Rita (Ryan), brother Tony, uncle Tom, sister-in-law Mary, brother-in-law Terry, nieces, nephews, grandnieces, grandnephews, cousins, relatives and friends.
Predeceased by his brother, Fr. John and Michael.