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04 Oct 2022

'A man of courage, who spoke the truth regardless of how it was received'

Bishop says late Canon Pat McHugh was a student of Vatican II, who embraced change better than most

Bishop says late Canon Pat McHugh was a student of Vatican II, who embraced change better than most

The funeral Mass of the late Canon Pat McHugh took place today in Pettigo

The Funeral Mass took place today of Canon Pat McHugh at St. Mary's Church in Pettigo.

In his Homily, Bishop of Clogher, Larry Duffy spoke of the late 'Fr Pat' as a man of courage, "who spoke the truth regardless of how it was received".

He told mourners: "Canon Pat McHugh was a man of deep faith; a faith sowed in the home setting, nourished in school and college, and lived out in the community.

"His relationship with Christ influenced his actions and attitudes. This faith led him to give his life to priesthood of Jesus Christ.

"Pat was ordained in June 1979 and served as a priest for 43 years: years of huge change for church and country.

A student of Vatican II, Pat embraced change better than most and was always ready for a new challenge. Whether as teacher, vocation director, seminary formator, priest in a parish or through service to the GAA, Pat gave it his best shot.

"A man of courage Pat spoke his truth regardless of how it was received. Pat was always visionary – ahead of his time in many ways. He was never fearful of rocking things and shaking them up; of moving people out of cosy comfort zones into pastures new. He invited people “to put out into the deep” and consider fresh possibilities. (see Luke 5:4)

"In Lough Derg he continued a long family tradition of involvement and service. His time there brought blessings to many.

"The renovation of St Mary’s Church in Castleblayney and his leadership role in this is praised and appreciated as one of the finest in the land. Today the parishioners are so proud of their beautiful house of God.

"Last Autumn I was so grateful to Fr Pat for taking on Director of the Synodal Pathway. He had a vision and plans for Clogher going forward. God had other plans and now we pray for his guidance in heaven."

He added that the Scripture readings chosen for today beautifully expressed the faith and hope of Canon Pat in Life and Resurrection.

"The Gospel we have just listened to (John 14: 1-6) speaks of “many rooms in my father’s house”.

"It is a statement of the abundant and wonderful love and welcome of God. The risen Jesus goes to prepare a place for us – and a reception on our arrival.  It reminds us of the welcome the Father had for the Prodigal Son – the picture of the Father running to meet us, putting a ring on our finger, sandals on our feet and a robe on our back and saying “May I walk you home”

The new heaven and new earth is the destination of God’s faithful; the city where God lives among people in complete peace and harmony. Death and resurrection are our roadways to life eternal.

My prayer for Pat is beautifully expressed in St Paul’s letter to Timothy: 'I have fought the good fight to the end; I have run the race to the finish; I have kept the faith; all there is to come now is the crown of righteousness reserved for me, which the Lord, the righteous judge will give to me on that Day; and not only to me but to all those who have longed for his appearing' (2 Timothy 4:7-8)."

Fr Pat's Funeral Mass was followed by interment in Saint Joseph's Church Cemetery, Lettercran. 

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