A FINAL SAD FAREWELL TO RODGER
It was a very sad occasion for the people who packed into the Catholic church in Mitchelstown to say goodbye to Rodger O’Farrell on Saturday last.
Mourners came from far and near to pay their respects to Rodger (60) who died suddenly on Wednesday of last week as he helped prepare the latest edition of The Avondhu.
The Church of Our Lady Conceived Without Sin was filled with music and light as the mourners gathered and the altar was decorated with many memories of Rodger, his photography, his music and his art.
As the funeral Mass was about to begin a stillness settled over the congregation and members of Kilbehenny Church Choir began the service with some of Rodger’s favourite hymns.
Rodger had recently joined the choir and this was a fitting tribute to his memory.
The funeral Mass was concelebrated by Rodger’s close friends, Canon Tim O’Leary, Canon Denis Talbot from Galbally and Father Joe Flynn from Ballyporeen. Parish priest Fr Michael Fitzgerald PP and curate, Fr James Greene CC were also in attendance. Canon O’Leary recalled a meeting with Rodger only a few days before he died.
“Rodger, as we all know, was a wonderful photographer and he and I would spend many hours talking about photos and cameras. What was amazing about Rodger was that he was completely self-taught, as he was when it came to his painting, his music or his woodwork. In fact, whatever Rodger set his mind to achieve he would become very good at.”
A CELEBRATION OF HIS LIFE
“This was Rodger O’Farrell, he loved nature, and he loved the rural landscape and its people. Rodger will be sadly missed. But, while we are here to mourn his passing, we are here also to celebrate his life and that we can do with the many photos and paintings that he created over the years,” Canon O’Leary said.
Rodger’s brother, Seamus paid a very moving tribute when he played one of Rodger’s favourite hymns ‘Amazing Grace’ on the flute.
“We would often play together, Rodgie and I, and this was one of his favourite tunes,” Seamus told the congregation.
Other members of Rodger’s family - his sisters, his nephews and nieces brought memories of Rodger’s life to the altar during the Offertory Procession.
“We brought one of his paintings, his melodeon which he loved to play, a miniature stairs representing his love of woodwork, a small set of bagpipes to symbolise his love of Scottish music and, of course, his camera,’ Seamus said.
NEVER BE FORGOTTEN
As Seamus remembered his brother, he was accompanied in the background by flautist, Elaine Sexton who performed ‘Gabriel’s Oboe’.
“I want us to remember some of those good points in Rodgie’s life and the things he achieved, so that they are not forgotten but remembered for a long time to come. Today is a sad day as we say our goodbyes, and it marks the passing of a dear friend, a brother that we all love deeply, and one who adopted the role of a father figure as it was imposed on him at an early age. Though you have passed on you will never be forgotten, you will always be dear to each one of us and in our hearts,” Seamus said.
GUARD OF HONOUR
As tears filled many eyes in the hushed church, Mass came to an end and a guard of honour, made up of Rodger’s colleagues from The Avondhu and members of Macra na Feirme, accompanied their friend the short distance to the graveyard where he joined his mother and father.
As the coffin was lowered into the grave the lightest of showers gave way to brillant sunshine, which revealed in all their glory the foothills of the Galtee Mountains where Rodger had spent many days with his camera and his painting.
Then, there was an evocative version of ‘Maggie’ as his brother Seamus played another one of Rodger’s favourites as a final farewell tribute on the harmonica.
We extend our heartfelt sympathy to his brothers Tommy, Seamus and Gerard, sisters Nora, Kathleen, Hannah and Mary, to his extended family and to his wide circle of friends.
Friday 13th August 10:57am