Saturday 3 December 2016

Funeral of Irish victim of Christchurch quake

Published 15/03/2011 | 11:10

The last wishes of an Irish man killed in the New Zealand earthquake will be fulfilled today as he is laid to rest in his home soil.

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Father-of-two Owen McKenna will be buried in Co Monaghan where he grew up.

His remains arrived at the home of his mother Teresa McKenna in Brackagh, Emyvale, late on Sunday night, to be waked until his removal to the Church of the Sacred Heart in Carrickroe.

The funeral will be shown live on the internet for his family and friends in New Zealand.

Parish Priest Fr Sean Nolan said Mr McKenna had expressed some time ago his wish to be buried in Ireland.

"He was very much associated with the area here," he said

"He had very strong tradition of Irish culture, music, song and dance and always expressed a wish if anything happened to him that his remains would be brought back home."

Mr McKenna, 40, was killed when his car was crushed in the devastating earthquake that hit New Zealand on February 22.

The psychiatric nurse lived in Christchurch with his wife Sarah McKenna, from New Zealand, and two young children Grace, six, and Tadhg, five.

Mr McKenna trained as a nurse in London before he worked in Saudi Arabia where he met his future wife. The couple moved to New Zealand about seven years ago Fr Nolan said Mr McKenna's widow and children will not be in Ireland for the funeral as they attended a memorial service for him in New Zealand before he was repatriated.

Instead, they will watch his funeral live on the internet on www.mcnmedia.tv.

"The purpose is for his family and friends back in New Zealand, so they can watch it live as it's happening," said Fr Nolan.

A family friend, Fr John Skinnader, is expected to concelebrate the funeral Mass.

Fr Nolan said the victim's mother, also a widow, and some of his seven siblings had travelled to Christchurch for the memorial service before his body was repatriated.

Mr McKenna leaves four sisters and three brothers, Bernadette, Maria, Kieran, Enda, Angela, Brendan and Catherine.

"One very simple fact is his mother is one of tremendous faith and the family are the same and it's an enormous help to them at this time," the priest added.

Donations can be made to the Christchurch Disaster Appeal instead of flowers.

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