It’s very difficult to put into words my appreciation for all the messages and support received in recent days, since the sudden and untimely death of our priest and friend Fr. John Cummins. The amount of Mass Cards, letters of sympathy, phonecalls and visits are deeply appreciated. I think John would be a little perplexed at the fact that the Facebook post announcing his passing was engaged with by 110,386 people and this is for a man who was a very reluctant convert to technology!

I know John’s life and personal witness as a priest had a profound effect on huge volumes of people. He had as many lay friends as clerical which was reflected in the great numbers who turned out for the different ceremonies over the few days. We all sorely miss him.

I want to simply express my thanks to the parish communities of Abbeyleix & Ballyroan; the Cathedral, Carlow and Newbridge for splendid ceremonies that honoured John and offered solace to family and friends. I will continue to remember his mother Renée, his brothers Conn and Gary, his sister Maria and the extended family , the priests of the diocese, as well as his very close classmates, in addition to Faith Development Services, ACCORD, ITCarlow and the many other facets that made up John’s life.

I will use his own words to get some comfort at this time. Words he so beautifully used at a ceremony in the Cathedral a few years back …

“We turn to our God, as people have done for centuries and ask why? Why this pain, this loss, this tragedy? The only answer God give is the gift of his Son… And God’s Son came not to take any of that pain away, not to give us any easy answers. He came to be with us, to live as we live, and to die as we die; and in his dying, to promise a life without end in the resurrection, – to lead us and show us the way. That is our faith; that is at the heart of being a Christian – our belief in the resurrection. We believe that our God is with us at every moment of life, no matter how difficult that moment may be. Even in our grief he is with us, even now. Death separates us from those we love, but only for a time. It seems so final, but they are not lost to us because they are with God and God is very near. In the gospel, Christ invites us to come to him, to put our trust in him that he will lead us through these days and be a light to guide us in this dark time. The burden of grief is one of the heaviest to carry … but Christ asks us to come to him, to find our strength in his love and in his presence with us”

Leaflet from Funeral Mass in Newbridge, Monday 4th February

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May John rest in peace.

+Bishop Denis