Sunday 25 February 2018

Brother and sister unite in grief over sibling Tom who 'cared about people'

The remains are taken from church followed by Thomas O'Gorman's brother, Paul and sister, Catherine (left and centre).
The remains are taken from church followed by Thomas O'Gorman's brother, Paul and sister, Catherine (left and centre).
Nicola Anderson

Nicola Anderson

IN the midst of their own terrible grief, they sought to console one another. Paul and Catherine O'Gorman, the devastated brother and sister of Tom O'Gorman, huddled together in sorrow, crumbling visibly when 'Ma Toute Belle' – a French song based on the passionate words of the biblical 'Song of Songs' – was sung at his funeral mass.

It had been Tom's favourite song and had also been sung at his removal the previous night.

Each time, the plaintive joy of the lyrics seemed to sum up their brother's deep love of life and their senseless loss.

Mourners heard of Tom's "childlike" sense of fun, his love of mimicry, his honesty and truthfulness.

They also heard he had been a devoted uncle to nephews Aidan and James and niece Anna.

Hundreds of mourners packed Our Lady Mother of the Church in Castleknock, Dublin, for the funeral yesterday as rain poured down outside.

Among them were Minister Leo Varadkar; Senator Ronan Mullen; editor of the 'Irish Catholic' newspaper, Michael O'Kelly; and members of the Iona Institute including David Quinn, Breda O'Brien and Patricia Casey.

There were 22 priests and two bishops on the altar, with the Bishop of Limerick Brendan Leahy the chief celebrant.

Dr Leahy told mourners that it was two weeks since the shocking news of Tom's death had left them "distraught."

The body of Mr O'Gorman (39) was found by gardai at his house in Castleknock in Dublin earlier this month.

Italian man Saverio Bellante (34) has been charged with his murder.

Mr Bellante was lodging at Mr O'Gorman's house, and it is understood the two men had been playing a game of chess on the night in question.

Dr Leahy recalled his first encounter with Tom in the 1990s, when he had been struck by Tom's "cheery banter and fast-moving mind".

They had gone on to establish a friendship which was "real and sincere", he said.

Expressing his condolences to the family and friends of the deceased, he said it was only now that they could realise what a true gift Tom had been and "will continue to be".

His death "prompted us to enlargen our hearts with a new capacity to love", said the bishop. The first reading, read by Paul, told how "length of days is not what makes age honourable, nor number of years the true measure of life".

A prayer of the faithful, read by Catherine, was said for the "ideals that Tom had promoted of unity, peace and respect for the dignity of the human person".

Another reading was read by Cora Sherlock of the Pro Life campaign.

The homily was given by Fr Stephen Kelly, a close friend of the deceased religious researcher, who said Tom had cared "passionately about so many things".

"He cared about ideas and issues and concepts because he cared about people.

"He cared about the kind of world children would grow up in, the kind of society people would get old in, the kind of communities his friends and family lived in."

"He cared and in a world where that can be said of fewer and fewer people, we would do well to remember his example," Fr Kelly said.

"There was something childlike about Tom, his sense of fun, his mimicry, his love of being with people , his honesty and his trustfulness all brought that out but perhaps the most childlike feature was his perception.

"He didn't look at the image or projection but at the person and thought well of them," he said.

A solemn guard of honour was given by 10 boys from nearby Castleknock College, where Tom himself had been a student.

Mourners later accompanied the coffin on foot to the burial at Castleknock church yard.

Irish Independent

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