| 16.5°C Dublin

Tom loved life, shared life and promoted life, bishop tells mourners

TOM O'Gorman loved life, had promoted life and had shared life, mourners were told at his funeral.

The religious researcher had been an unworldly man who had never seemed jealous of others. He had many interests, including sport, music and films.

Bishop of Limerick Brendan Leahy told mourners Tom had been a proud uncle, loving to show photographs to friends of his niece Anna and nephews Aidan and James.

Tom's grieving brother and sister Paul and Catherine became visibly upset during the requiem mass at this reminder of the great loss in their lives and the lives of their children.


They again became deeply distraught when their brother's favourite song, Ma Toute Belle – a French piece based on the words of the biblical Song of Songs – was later sung.

Catherine later visibly steeled herself to say a prayer of the faithful for "the ideals of unity, peace and respect for others" that her brother had lived for.

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.

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

He recalled his first encounter with him 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," he said.

The first reading, by Paul O'Gorman, told how "length of days is not what makes age honourable, nor number of years the true measure of life".

Cora Sherlock of the Pro Life campaign did another reading.

The homily was given by Fr Stephen Kelly, a close friend of Tom. "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," Fr Kelly said.

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

He said that the lord tells us that unless we become like little children we cannot enter the kingdom of God.


"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, adding that Tom's had been "no tame Christianity".

A solemn guard of honour was given by ten boys from nearby Castleknock College, where Tom himself had been a student and afterwards, mourners walked to accompany the coffin that was taken for burial at Castleknock churchyard.