The tragic pool accident victim had his organs donated so others could be saved, it was said at his Requiem Mass.
Grace Mary Sweeney of Knocknafaugher, Dunfanaghy and Waterfoot, Co Antrim died on Wednesday last week, June 22, two days after being pulled from a swimming pool at the four-star HYB Eurocalas hotel in the resort town of Calas de Mallorca, Mallorca where she was vacationing at the time.
The six-year-old’s funeral was held at St Michael’s Creeslough Church on Thursday afternoon.
The local vicar, Fr John Joe Duffy, was the chief celebrant of the Requiem Mass and concelebrated by the parish priest, Fr Martin Doohan, Fr Patsy Arkinson, PP Killygordon parish and retired Creeslough priest, Fr Seamus Murphy.
He was attended by family, relatives and friends as well as many locals, including teachers and classmates from the nearby Faugher National School where Grace Mary had been a pupil. Her small white coffin was placed in front of the altar with a smiling picture of her on it.
The mourners wore bright colors to symbolize the happiness and love of life that the young girl had brought to so many during her short life.
Welcoming the mourners at the church, Father Duffy spoke of the grief felt by Grace Mary’s family and friends at her sad passing, but also reminded them of the fact that she was now at the paradise in the arms of her late father John, who died several years ago following a tragic accident on a building site in London.
The priest said the last place any of them wanted to be was at a funeral mass for a child, but they were there to show their support for the family of the deceased.
“You surround them with your love by keeping them very well in your heart. We do not come together to pray for Grace but rather for her and ask her now from Heaven where she is to give strength to her mother, her family, his aunts, uncles, cousins and godparents,” he said.
In his homily, Father Duffy said Grace Mary was very much loved, very dear and therefore very precious.
“The only consolation you can find in little Grace is in her daddy’s arms and she will stay with you and give you strength. I encourage all of us here this morning to pray to Grace for she is already among the saints and the angels of Paradise.”
He also recalled the many good memories that everyone had of the young girl’s joie de vivre, for dancing and singing.
“Her feet never touched the ground, there was this peculiarity about her. She seemed to be walking and dancing in the air. She was very intelligent, she was always telling stories. She brought so much joy, happiness and so much love in your lives, lots of hugs and hugs. She was so kind and always put others before her.
“She loved being the girly girl, loved the nail polish, the cute colorful clothes and loved her long hair. That’s why the family is wearing bright colors this morning and wearing her favorite color, pink. She loved school and had so much fun with his friends.”
He also recalled that she had received a blessing from him before going on vacation at a birthday mass for her grandfather Eddie and was so looking forward to making her own first communion. Father Duffy reflected on the deep love she also had for her older sister, Cara and younger brother, Patrick and how she was buried wearing Cara’s Holy Communion dress.
Father Duffy praised the generosity of the family by agreeing to donate some of Grave’s organs following the tragedy.
“Grace gave in life and thanks to her gift, two more children will have life and will please God, will have a better quality of life thanks to the generosity of you Geraldine and the family with Damien and the grandparents that Grace a bodies have continued to help other children.”
Interment took place immediately after the funeral at Doe Cemetery.
Grace Mary is survived by her mother Geraldine, sister Cara and brother Patrick, and Geraldine’s partner Damien, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, extended family and friends. She was predeceased by her father John and her grandfather Eddie a few years ago.
The family has requested that there be family flowers only with donations instead, if desired, to the Kevin Bell Repatriation Trust. c/o any family member or James Harkin, Funeral Director, Creeslough.