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Funeral at tiny church where couple married

THE bishop who celebrated his nephew's dream wedding to Michaela Harte will return to the same, tiny church on Monday -- for her funeral.

Bishop of Dromore John McAreavey will comfort his heartbroken nephew John McAreavey on the brutal murder of his "beautiful wife".

Tyrone and Down footballers will provide a guard of honour as Michaela's remains are received at the church where she was married 10 days before she was strangled on her honeymoon.

Bishop McAreavey officiated at the couple's wedding ceremony on December 30 in St Malachy's, Ballymacilroy, Co Tyrone, where Michaela will be mourned.

Michaela's coffin is expected to arrive in her Glencull Road home, just outside of Ballygawley, Co Tyrone, this afternoon after she was repatriated from Mauritius. Close family and friends will also mourn Michaela at Tyrone football manager Mickey Harte's home.

Over 1,000 mourners are expected to congregate at St Malachy's for Michaela's funeral at 12.30pm on Monday.

Parish priest Fr Michael Seery said arrangements are being made to accommodate the crowds in and around the church, and a marquee and speakers will be erected in the grounds.


Meanwhile, the close-knit community where John McAreavey planned to live with his wife will unite at a remembrance Mass tonight in St Colman's Church in Lawrencetown, Co Down, at 7.30pm.

A book of condolence will be opened in the community centre in Lawrencetown this afternoon and at the church this evening. Tullylish GAA club organised the Mass after an outpouring of grief in the small townland where Michaela (27) and John (26) had bought a new house.

Last night Cardinal Sean Brady has offered his "deepest sympathy" to the grieving John McAreavey on "the terrible tragedy".

Cardinal Brady also extended his condolence to Michaela's parents Marion and Mickey Harte and to her brothers Mark, Matthew and Michael.

Irish Independent