The Funeral Mass for the late Seamus Mallon RIP was celebrated on Monday 27 January last in Saint James of Jerusalem Church, Mullaghbrack, Archdiocese of Armagh. The chief celebrant of the Mass was Archbishop Eamon Martin, and Father Michael Woods, Parish Priest of Tandragee (Ballymore and Mullaghbrack), concelebrated the Mass.
During his homily, Archbishop Eamon paid tribute to the life and legacy of Seamus Mallon. He said, “People sometimes speak of the “noble vocation of politics”. Seamus Mallon was a shining example of someone who gives their life in a vocation of service.”
The Archbishop of Armagh referenced the Beatitudes of the funeral’s Gospel reading as a pattern for Seamus Mallon’s life: “Blessed are the peacemakers; blessed are those who are persecuted in the cause of right – theirs is the Kingdom of heaven”.
Archbishop Eamon continued, “Seamus Mallon was unequivocally anti-violence. Like Heaney he saw the ongoing bloodshed of the past as a “waste of life” and a “waste of spirit”. He empathised from his heart with all those who were suffering and his consistent condemnation of violence from whatever source often left him open to insult and unfair criticism. But his principles, rooted in a strong faith and in an unstinting commitment to a culture of life, remained steadfast in face of such opposition.
“I find this passage from Seamus’ book particularly moving:
“As I walk or drive on my weekly rounds I am haunted by the places that have been violated; too many places violated in my parish, my county, my country, violated by murder and massacre, places I used to know and love as I passed by them on my boyhood bicycle (Chapter 5, A Shared Home Place)”.”
Towards the end of his homily, Archbishop Eamon said, “There is a passage in his book where Seamus ponders on what God’s judgement might be for him “when it comes to the Last Day and the parable of the talents”. He wrote: “I hope the judgment will be: ‘Could have done better. Could have done things differently. But tried his best (Chapter 14 A Shared Home Place)”.
“I think perhaps Seamus is a little hard on himself. Here was a loving father, husband, brother and grandfather. Here was a dedicated Catholic school teacher and principal, a kindly and attentive neighbour, a man of many talents who wasted none of them. Here was a wholesome human being who spent himself unselfishly for his family, his local community, his country and for the common good. Here was a peacemaker, a “bridge builder” a leader, a statesman, and a faithful worker for the Kingdom of God.”
For the full text of Archbishop Eamon’s homily click here.