'Majella was beautiful, vivacious and sensitive' - Priest tells mourners as tragic Majella (30) laid to rest
The death from a sudden illness of a beautiful young woman on an engagement trip to South Africa was the stuff of a tearful TV drama, a priest said at the funeral on Sunday of Majella Donoghue.
But unfortunately, continued Fr. Kevin Hegarty at the funeral Mass for Majella in St. Brendan's Church, Tirrane, on the Erris Peninsula, Co. Mayo, the script this time was all too true.
Fr. Hegarty, the parish priest of Kilmore Erris, was one of 11 priests who joined in concelebrating the funeral Mass for the 30-year-old in the tiny church where she was baptised and made her first holy communion.
"Majella was our Sunday in every week, beautiful, vivacious and sensitive", Fr. Hegarty continued, adding: "she captured the heart of everyone she met."
There were few dry eyes in the packed church as the PP recalled hearing thirty years ago of the joyful news of the birth of Majella and her twin brother, Stephen.
"Who would have thought 30 years later we would be here to celebrate her funeral", he continued.
"When news of her death reached us, to the natural gloom of November was added the darkness of the heart."
Fr. Hegarty recalled that Majella used to help her mother, Mary, in the maintenance and care of the church.
He mentioned her love of the Fr. Ted television series remarking humorously "perhaps she was well used to priestly foibles having worked so often in the sacristy here".
Fr. Hegarty said Majella's life was "shaped by love, loyalty and laughter" and spoke of her generosity to her widowed mother who she brought as a treat to chef Neven Maguire's restaurant in Blacklion, Co. Cavan, a few weeks before her death.
"They dined well but rather more sparingly than in Mary's kitchen", Fr. Hegarty remarked to chuckles of laughter from the congregation.
Majella, who worked for Boston Scientific in Galway, was waked in her family home adjacent to the church on Saturda night after the remains had been flown in earlier from London to Ireland West Airport Knock.
Her fiance, Barry Doherty, her mother, Mary, twin brother, Stephen, sister Angela, and brothers, Tommy, David and Brendan were the chief mourners.
In an eulogy at the end of the Mass, Majella's fiance, Barry Doherty recalled her love for fancy dress and festivals especially the "Fr. Ted" weekends on the Aran Islands.
"I love her dearly, I will miss her so much", he added.
Gifts brought to the altar inlcuded a statue of Our Lady, a bodhran, teddy bears and the Mayo jersey which Majella wore to GAA matches.
Majella was laid rest on in Faulmore Cemetery, Blacksod, in the same plot as her father, Willie, who passed away some years ago.
The results of a post mortem into the young woman's death are not yet available.