Ashling Murphy, the 23-year-old school teacher who was attacked and killed on January 12, “cherished the Gospel” her funeral Mass has been told.
Ashling had only qualified from Mary Immaculate College in Limerick last autumn and took up a post at the local Catholic school which her family described as her dream job. Her grieving parents Kathleen and Ray have described her as their “shining light”.
She was murdered as she went for a jog after bidding her schoolchildren goodbye after lessons in Durrow National School in Co. Offaly.
Gardaí say they have made significant progress in their investigation.
At the funeral Mass on Tuesday, attended by President Michael D. Higgins, her parish priest Fr Michael Meade told mourners: “together we grieve, we pray, we hurt – this is the heavy price we pay for love – we gather as a family of faith, to be with, to support by our prayer and our presence, those whose darkness is deep, whose pain is raw and fierce.
“Kathleen and Ray, Cathal, Amy and her boyfriend, Ryan – you have been robbed of your most precious gift – a gift that gave only joy and love, fun and laughter to many beyond your family,” Fr Meade said turning to her grieving family.
The murder has provoked a renewed conversation about violence against women with many campaigners saying that women don’t feel safe to life their lives the way men do. The news also led to candlelit prayer vigils in towns and villages across the country and by Irish communities overseas.
Fr Meade referred to the wider debate saying: “the issues raised in many ways and by many voices since this horrible act of violence invaded all our lives will, we pray, continue to evolve and bring the change we need so much, to simply give and show respect”.
He said that Ashling, who worshipped at the Church of St Brigid with her family every Sunday, “cherished the Gospel”.
“We are here in another home where Ashling and her family joined in prayer with her larger family. Here her journey in faith began with baptism, here and at home that faith blossomed into a life of love, a life of hope, a life of trust.
“That same love and joy was not kept on a shelf or wrapped up – it was freely given and shared through music, through sport, through her vocation as a teacher. Today we give thanks for the privilege of sharing in this most wonderful gift of Ashling Murphy,” he said.
Bishop of Meath Diocese, where the Murphy family live, Tom Deenihan said the past few days have been a “nightmare” for the community. “A walk on a mild and sunny afternoon in January should be a happy event, promising the brighter and warmer days of spring and summer. That, as we know, was not the case. A depraved act of violence which deprived a kind, talented, loved and admired young woman of her life has since united the country in grief and support.
“The crime has also asked questions of ourselves and of society. It has questioned our attitudes and, particularly, our attitudes towards women and it has questioned our values and our morality. Whether those questions will be addressed or passed over remains to be seen but we cannot allow such violence and disregard for both human life and bodily integrity take root in our time and culture,” Bishop Deenihan said.
He said that: “We all know that no individual should die like Ashling and no family should suffer like Ashling’s. Respect is an old-fashioned word but it is an important one. Respect was missing last Wednesday but it has re-emerged here all the stronger. Let us respect each other,” he said.
Six- and seven-year-old students from Miss Murphy’s class in Durrow National School lined the route as the funeral procession made its way to the church where she was baptised. Many of the children also participated in the liturgy before her remains were taken to the nearby cemetery for a private burial.
The post Parish unites as ‘family of faith’ to lay Ashling to rest appeared first on The Irish Catholic.