TOM O’Gorman’s death is a “shocking why without an answer,” however the priest at his removal emphasised the need for forgiveness.
It emerged that the slain religious researcher had always carried with him a photograph of “The Pardon” which depicted Pope John Paul visiting his assailant in prison.
A hushed candlelight vigil welcomed Tom’s coffin to the Our Lady Mother of the Church in his native Castleknock in Dublin tonight for the removal, which saw hundreds of mourners attend.
The devastated figures of his sister, Catherine and brother Paul were deeply distressed throughout the service - which chief celebrant Fr John McNerney, the Chaplain of UCD said they wanted to be “a beautiful celebration for Tom.”
Nine priests were on the altar, with many more amongst the congregation, with music provided by two harpists and a small choir.
The coffin was carried into the church by friends of the deceased, including David Quinn, Tom’s colleague at the religious-centred Iona Institute.
A small table alongside held a smiling photograph of Tom, taken in recent times.
Tom’s family and community are in “total shock” at this heartbreak, however Fr McNerney said that in the midst of this “horror”, they had caught a glimpse of the inheritance he had left behind with the sentiment: “Father forgive them, they known not what they do.”
At the last public talk Tom had given, he had prayed “Jesus forgive them.”
“Isn’t this a word from Tom for us?” Fr McNerney questioned, even in the circumstances of his violent death.
Well known for his work with the Iona Institute and the Pro Life movement, Tom had often become frustrated at times if those around him did not “measure up to the truth,” Fr McNerney said.
Tom’s brother and sister were deeply overcome by the beautiful, plaintive French vocals of his favourite song, Ma Toute Belle.
They sat huddled in their grief, Catherine with her head on Paul’s shoulder as the peaceful words of love washed over them, almost unbearable at this moment of pain.
The funeral takes place at the church tomorrow at 11.30am.