The impact of tragic soldier Pte Sean Rooney’s short life will be felt for generations to come, his parish priest said.
Father Philippe Chemie, parish priest of Newtown Cunningham, Co Donegal, addressed parishioners gathered for Mass of the Heart of the 24th Moon at All Saints Church on Saturday.
Hundreds of locals joined Sean’s family and friends to remember the life of the young soldier killed in Lebanon on December 14, 2022.
Among the congregation that endured the cold and rain of January were Sean’s mother Natasha, her partner Paul McCloskey, and Sean’s fiancé, Holly McConnellogue, who was due to marry in August. was
Father Chemie said that it is not the number of days that makes a life worthwhile, but how it is lived.
He added that Sean’s death was not the end but the beginning of something new, but admitted that it would be difficult and their grief would be “raw and painful.”
He said that many of the great saints of the church died at a very young age, referring to St. Teresa, St. Joan of Arc, and St. Aloysius Gonzaga.
He told the mourners: Their lives are short, but their lives have a ripple effect. ”
“Shawn’s life is far too short, but the ripple effect of his life far exceeds the number of years we could have hoped for him. To other generations.”
The Mass was first read by Sean’s fiancé Holly.
Father Chemie paid special respects to the young lady of Delhi and said he could not help but feel deep grief for her.
He just attended a local couple’s 60th wedding anniversary mass yesterday and said just thinking about Holly is thinking about how she won’t be celebrating such a milestone with Sean. .
He also paid tribute to Sean’s mother Natasha and her partner Paul.He witnessed Sean’s grave being prepared for Mind Mass this week.
He said most people don’t know what to say to Sean’s family, but that doesn’t mean they don’t hold them in their hearts.
“To all of you Natasha, Paul and the wider family, our prayers are with you. We have been and will continue to be,” he added.
“We can’t go into your heart and live that grief for you. It’s all yours, but you don’t have to endure it yourself.
“Many of us don’t know what to say to you, but we know what to say to God on your behalf and we will continue to do so.”
Included among the prayers of the believers were special prayers for those around the world who worked to make peace.
The congregation also included representatives of both active duty and retired Defense Forces.
Father Chemie thanked the members of the Inishowen Gate Singers for providing hymns at Mass.
A second Month’s Mind Mass for Pte Rooney will be held on Sunday at the Church of the Holy Family in Dundalk.
Joining the Irish Defense Forces in March 2019, Pte Rooney’s home base was 27th Infantry Battalion, Aiken Barracks, Dundalk.
Immediately after today’s mass, Sean’s family and friends headed to his graveyard in the adjacent cemetery to spend some personal time with the fallen soldiers.