Bishop Martin Drennan, retired Bishop of Galway, has paid tribute to Bishop Eamonn Casey RIP as he received his remains in the Cathedral of Our Lady Assumed into Heaven and Saint Nicholas in Galway city on Wednesday night. Bishop Drennan led mourners in a brief and simple liturgy which included a scripture reading and psalm read by Helen Clifford, a niece of Bishop Casey.
In his remarks for the reception of the remains, Bishop Drennan said, “I’d like to take one lesson from Bishop Eamonn’s life. Every Christian faces the task of turning their wounds into wisdom. When Saint Thérèse of Lisieux wrote about death she said, “When I come before God I’ll come with empty hands. That is the best way to come. If my hands are empty then he can fill me with his life, his peace and his joy”. She knew her wounds and knew she had no claims on God. Her hands were empty and ready to receive. Her honesty allowed the Lord to turn her wounds into wisdom. In a short life (she died at the age of 24) the Lord had taught her true wisdom, the wisdom that always takes God into account when looking at life.”
Bishop Drennan went on to say, “Bishop Eamonn’s journey was rather different to that of Saint Thérèse, but with a similar outcome. If you believe that some values are worth fighting for – and he did – wounds are inevitable. He made mistakes and paid a high price for them. As far as I could see he never resorted to self-pity. His love for the Church enabled him to accept retirement from active ministry bravely. When he moved to Carrigoran Nursing Home he faced two huge challenges. How would a man of his energy settle in a nursing home? He did. Secondly, there was the issue of giving up one thing that gave him many a thrill, driving his car. He let go of that too. That was wisdom at work.”
Bishop Drennan continued, “As his memory deteriorated he tended to recall the positive in his life, especially his time in London. Gradually he found peace with his past. A strong belief in the mercy of God allowed him to leave the past to this compassionate God. Prayer led him to peace and trust and to the confidence that the past was in safe hands and the future was also in safe hands. God had turned his wounds into wisdom.”
Concluding his remarks, Bishop Drennan said, “May this God of peace now give to Bishop Eamonn peace without end and may he fill Bishop Eamonn’s empty hands with joy and the fullness of life. And may he teach us how to turn our wounds into wisdom as we journey on in faith and trust.”
Bishop Casey’s funeral Mass will take place today at 2.00pm in the Cathedral of Our Lady Assumed into Heaven and Saint Nicholas, Galway and will be immediately followed by interment in the Cathedral crypt.