Michaela's family 'robbed by evil act'

Published Monday, 17 January 2011
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The husband of Michaela McAreavey has been "robbed of his beautiful wife" and the Harte family of their "precious daughter" by an "evil act", thousands of mourners heard at her funeral service near Ballygawley, Co Tyrone.

Her father, Tyrone GAA manager Mickey Harte, husband John and her three brothers helped carry the 27-year-old's coffin as the funeral cortege made its way to the small country church where she was married last month.

Players from Mr McAreavey's local football club, Tullylish in Co Down, and Michaela's form class at St Patrick's Academy in Dungannon formed a guard of honour outside.

Tyrone senior gaelic football team members and local club Errigal Ciaran, which Mr Harte used to manage, provided the first guard of honour from her parents' home to the church.

Mr Harte was seen comforting his son-in-law as Bishop John McAreavey, uncle of John, who married the couple, received the coffin into the church.

Bishop McAreavey, together with the Cardinal Seán Brady, presided over the funeral in Glencull.

In the homily, he said Michaela was remembered for and as a "Tyrone woman through and through".

"The first love in Michaela's life was of the love of her parents, Mickey and Marian, and her brothers, Mark, Michael and Mattie," he said.

"As everybody knows, Michaela was close to her dad and through him became part of a wide circle of friends in Tyrone and in the GAA family throughout Ireland. Michaela was a Tyrone woman through and through and nothing was ever going to change that!"

Newlywed Michaela was found dead in her hotel room in Mauritius on honeymoon last week. Her funeral took place a day after the couple were due to arrive home from the holiday island to begin their married life together.

Those plans, Bishop McAreavey continued, have now been "shattered" by an "evil act".

"Today we also need to somehow face the darkness of these days," he continued. "An evil act ended Michaela's young life last Monday; it robbed John of his beautiful wife; it deprived the Harte family of their precious daughter and sister; it deprived the McAreavey family of the daughter-in-law they looked forward to having; it shattered hopes and dreams for the future."

"Even those of us who are older and who have had some experience of tragedy have been shaken to the core by what has happened. We are still in a state of shock."

A Pioneer pin and rosary beads representing Micheala's abstinence from alcohol and her strong Catholic faith were placed at the altar close to her ornate coffin.

Her passion for the Irish language and games also featured as a jersey of her beloved county team, Tyrone, and the Fáinne emblem worn by speakers of the language was also carried to the altar.

A rose symbolising beauty and love, long associated with St Thérèse of Liseaux, the French saint who received an early calling to religious life, completed the offerings.

Dignitaries including Irish President Mary McAleese and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness were amongst the thousands attending the service.

Also in attendance were senior officials from the GAA. The Church of Ireland was represented by the Bishop of Down and Dromore, Harold Miller, and Bishop of Derry and Raphoe Ken Good.

At Stormont, First Minister Peter Robinson led the tributes to Michaela, as all political parties passed on their condolences to the McAreavey and Harte families.

"Michaela was known to a wide circle of family and friends, but this past week I believe we now all feel that we knew her," he said.

"This is one of the rare tragedies that has captured public attention and united the community in grief."

Mr Robinson added: "I am a father. I have a beautiful daughter of a similar age to Michaela.

"I love her to bits. It gives me a sense of the loss, but only a sense, for the reality is so much more painful than the imagining.

"Personally, as DUP leader, as First Minister, I want to convey the love, support and condolences of the whole community to the McAreavey and Harte families."

A special mass in Mauritius was held simultaneously in memory of Michaela led by the island's senior priest, Fr Gopille.

The former Ulster Rose was buried in the tiny graveyard next to the church in the wedding dress she wore last month.

© UTV News
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423 Comments
Michaela''s student in Dungannon wrote (1,331 days ago):
Love you, all our memories together will never be forgottenxx
Sinead Clancy in Co. Clare wrote (1,349 days ago):
To Michaela's husband John, parents Mickey and Marion, brothers Mark, Michael and Matthew, I offer my deepest condolences to ye on the loss of such a beautiful wife, daughter and sister. No words can express what ye are all going through. Ye are always in my thoughts and prayers everyday. RIP Michaela, a guardian angel in heaven x x x
DAN AND PAULINE HEANEY in OMAGH wrote (1,350 days ago):
Rest in peace Michaela, we cannot find words at this moment. God Bless you Mickey and Marian and all the family.
Menary family in Brookeborough/Ballygawley wrote (1,350 days ago):
Our thoughts are with both family's. There is a beautiful garden in Heaven, it's called the garden of rest, We know that you are there Michaela, God only takes the best.
lorna in limavady wrote (1,350 days ago):
John Mickey and the family circle. I have been trying to find words to help bring you comfort but there isn't any. Or to understand why this grief has been thrust on you but only God can tell. I can never vitalize what it is like to loose a precious daughter but I do have the experience of loosing a soul mate a precious husband. through murder. People will say "time heals " but we know time just makes us go on with live in hope for better days.and we learn to live with it for the sake of the rest of our family. No family gathering is ever the same. If you ever get to read the comments they are the thoughts and prayers of the people who are trying to comfort you and I hope you get courage from the fact our people do care.
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