In this week’s blog, Fr Paddy asks each of us to consider how we can best respond to the needs of our family, work place and community and to always ensure that we put people before profit.


Fr Paddy Byrne has a weekly column in the Nationalist Papers.

This column appeared on 11th September 2009

Every death brings with it a sense of loss and emptiness. The recent passing of Mrs Anna Murphy, Bridge House, Bagenalstown, leaves a huge void in the hearts not just to her wonderful family, but also to the entire community of Bagenalstown and beyond. Anna Murphy embodied a generation of goodness, hard work, faithfulness and hospitality. So many in the Bagenalstown area remember Anna as the face of her grocery shop she managed for over thirty years. Anna had a marvelous love and regard for all people. One of her many gifts included her abundant generosity. Her work ethic was grounded in a solid foundation, based on her deep spirituality and love of God. Anna always put people before profit. Anna was always prepared to go one step beyond what was asked. Her humble Christ like service to the needs of others was a reminder that Jesus lives in the depth of all our hearts. Silently and discreetly she was a great friend to those who were vulnerable and in need. She was that helping hand of Jesus to so many good people who needed practical help and support, be that a bag of potatoes or a few cigarettes.

Anna was such a familiar face and voice in her local Parish Church St. Andrews. Her voice prayerfully led the morning Rosary every day for so many years. She also led prayers for the dead in local funeral homes for generations of those who have gone before us. Her faith with the Lord was very much alive and always most active. Her faith like us all had many reasons to be tested and questioned. Her late husband Dickey died at a young age. Anna had to work very hard in order to provide and nurture her family whom she was so proud of. The death of her eldest son Fr. Billy, in 2001, was a huge cross for Anna to carry. However like what St. Paul describes, her faith was tested, Like gold in a furnace Anna suffered greatly in recent months and yet always maintained her good humor and Christian hope. The words again of St. Paul offer real comfort for so many who knew and respected this great woman, Anna has kept the faith, she has finished the race and now there is reserved for her the crown of righteousness and the gift of everlasting life.

Thankfully as we journey through life we are on a pathway to somewhere. We may often be lost, stumble and fall but our God points us, often through the kindness of others, towards the brightness and joy that is our everlasting home. People like Anna remind me that God is alive in the depth of all our hearts. We are called to help and support all whom we encounter as we walk the pathways of our human journey. We all respond to the needs of our family, work place and community in many different ways. May the good Lord fuel each of us with generous hearts. May we put people before profit.