Fr Philip Kemmy said it was ‘fitting’ that Joe Kelly’s Funeral Mass was celebrated at St Eunan’s Cathedral in Letterkenny for it was there Mr Kelly had been baptized, Confirmed and served Mass, alongside his twin brother Michael, many years ago.
Speaking at the Funeral Mass on Monday morning, Fr Kemmy said if it weren’t for the restrictions, the cathedral would have been full to capacity, such was the love and respect that people had for Joe Kelly.
He said the death of a loved one is always a difficult time for those who mourn their passing and reassured those present, and watching at home online, that God was with Joe as he passed away.
Mr. Kelly’s sudden and unexpected death occurred in China on November 1.
“Joe has lived a very full and active life,” Fr Kemmy said.
“After completing his Inter Cert in St Eunan’s College and a pre-employment course in the local vocational school, he went to work for An Post.
“He was Ireland’s youngest postal sorter. He wasn’t aware of that until a journalist and photographer came from Dublin to interview him for the company paper.
“From that, he became very interested in journalism. He left the post office and went to college to complete his education,” the priest said.
Joe began writing for newspapers and various technological magazines. He met his wife Úna and after finishing college they went to London to work. Joe worked for a number of PR companies before making the move to China in 2012 and becoming the Vice President of Huawei, a leading global provider of information and communication technology.
Joe loved to travel and he documented his travels by taking photographs on his journeys.
“He will be sadly missed by you, his family, friends and the wider community. Regardless of how, when or where anyone of us die and it can be for any of us - a sudden thing, we remember that we belong to the Lord, every breath we breathe, is his gift to us including our last. And, not one breath do we take that he doesn’t take note of,” Fr Kemmy said.
The priest alluded to the fact that the Easter Candle was burning. He reminded those gathered that the candle only burns twice in a person’s life - at their Christening and at their Funeral.
“In Baptism on April 25, 1965, Joe received the light of Christ into his soul, the gift of faith in the Lord Jesus. He received it under the light of the candle just like this one and it probably was the same candle stand ... that flame is symbolic of the faith we profess.
“Joe’s parents carried that faith for the first years of his life until he was asked to take hold of it himself ... the day of Baptism that flame symbolises the light of Christ entering the soul - the day of the Funeral, that flame symoblises our prayer, our desire and our hope that the soul enters the fullness of the light of Christ,” Father Kemmy said
Joe was the son of Frank and Anne Kelly (Wolfe Tone Place, Letterkenny).
He is sadly missed by his wife Una McDevitt (Derry), sons Aidan and Eunan, parents, brothers Michael (Boston), Francis (Belfast), Conal (Letterkenny), sisters Eileen (California) and Breid (Ramelton), nieces, nephews, uncles, aunts and wider circle of family and friends.
Interment took place after Mass in Conwal Cemetery.
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