Mourners bid a final farewell to tragic priest

Published 06/11/2012 | 17:57

A YOUNG West Sligo priest who took his own life last week was laid to rest in his native Castleconnor on Friday.

At the funeral mass, Bishop John Fleming asked the heartbreaking question as to why such a tragedy had to happen.

Mourners packed into St Joseph's Church to say a final farewell to 39-year old Fr Muredach Tuffy.

His body had been found at his apartment in Ballina.

Bishop Fleming said: "Everyone has come together with one word on their minds: why?

"Why did someone as gifted and as young as Muredach only see darkness on Monday week last and decided that he could travel no further on life's journey? Why did he not share whatever anxiety filled his mind with someone?" Bishop Fleming said: "The manner of his passing will cast a long shadow over many lives for many years to come.

"But it should not be allowed define Fr Tuffy's life or to darken more than 13 years of outstanding service as a priest of the diocese of Killala."

Local councillor Joe Queenan, from Enniscrone, described Fr Tuffy's passing as "a major shock".

He extended his sympathy to the late Fr. Tuffy's father, Murdy; his mother, Eileen Ann (née Burke), and their family and relatives.

Many parishioners were heartbroken.

One told the Sligo Champion: "It's terrible. He was a lovely young priest."

Another described him as "a very bright man who was destined for higher things".

Caastleconnor GAA Club, on its website, described Fr. Tuffy's death as "devastating news that had stunned the parish".

The club added: "It has left a dark cloud hanging over our tightknit community."

Father Tuffy studied for the priesthood at St Patrick's College, Maynooth, where he obtained BA (Hons) and BD (Hons) degrees.

He was ordained in Castleconnor Church on June 6, 1999. He completed his STL in Maynooth as a post-graduate in 2000.

From there, he went to Rome to study at the John Paul II Institute for Marriage and the Family.

He was appointed director of The Newman Institute in Ballina in 2003, a position he held until his death.

During these years Fr Tuffy established important educational and social links with other service providers in the West of Ireland.

In 2007 he was appointed curate in the Parish of Backs, serving in the Rathduff area. In 2011 Fr Tuffy was appointed as assistant priest in the parish of Kilmoremoy (Ballina).

Fr Tuffy is survived by his parents Murdy and Eileen, his sisters Adeline and Helena and his brothers John and Nathan.

His remains were removed on Thursday evening last to St. Joseph's Church, Castleconnor.

Following Requiem Mass on Friday his funeral took place to Killanley Cemetery, Castleconnor.

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