Call to embrace friends as grieving crowd says goodbye to tragic Elisha
Young people at the funeral of tragic teenager Elisha Gault were urged to take time away from their smart phones and social media pages to realise that online friends are only artificial.
Fr Paschal Moore issued the plea for youngsters to find real-life friends as he urged them to take care of their mental health - and form support networks amongst themselves.
He said: "I would encourage you also to turn off your iPhone every now and again. Facebook is wonderful at times - and people boast about how many friends they have on Facebook.
"But your friends on Facebook are artificial friends - what you need are real people around you. Real, genuine, loving and caring people and I would encourage every one of you to find a real good support network for yourselves.
"Your mind does matter - your mind is so important."
His remarks came as hundreds of white roses and carnations were tossed into the River Suir in a moving tribute to Tipperary schoolgirl Elisha.
The 14-year-old's heartbroken parents, Gráinne and Cameron, and her sisters, Chloe, Bhrianna and Saoirse, joined with hundreds of mourners in the emotional funeral tribute to the teen at the very spot on Dillon Bridge in Carrick-on-Suir where she was last seen alive on St Patrick's Day.
The Comreagh College pupil was recovered from the river at Killowen, some 8km downstream of the Tipperary town, last Sunday night.
- Read more: 'My beautiful, funny, intelligent baby' - mum's tribute after body of missing teen Elisha (14) recovered from River Suir
The funeral cortege paused at Dillon Bridge en route from her New Street home in Carrick-on-Suir to the Church of the Assumption in Piltown, Co Kilkenny, where her Requiem Mass was celebrated at 11am yesterday.
Carrick-on-Suir River Rescue and Civil Defence volunteers formed a special guard of honour on the bridge for the floral ceremony, which was staged at the specific request of Elisha's mother, Gráinne.
Gráinne and Cameron helped shoulder Elisha's coffin into the Church of the Assumption - and later from the church and across the road for her burial in the adjacent Piltown Cemetery.
A special floral bouquet entitled 'Egg', after Elisha's nickname, was carried behind the coffin.
Fr Moore said Elisha's death had touched everyone in the community and many beyond. He added: "Every funeral is a sad occasion - but no funeral can compare to the one we are having this morning."