herald

Thursday 19 October 2017

Heartbroken mum's tears as she carries her son's photo to the altar

Anna Rozycka with baby Karol
Anna Rozycka with baby Karol

Mourners attending a mass for a baby boy who is suspected to have been smothered to death heard he brought a lifetime of happiness and joy.

Supported by her own mother and close friends, a sobbing Anna Rozycka carried a photograph of her smiling son, Karol, to the altar at St Mary's Cathedral in Killarney.

The picture, toys, flowers and candles were among the symbols offered at the mass for baby Karol, who is believed to have been smothered to death at his home in Killarney on Sunday.

Thanking

It was Ms Rozycka who had requested the Mass as a way of remembering her son, thanking a community that has supported her, and appealing for their prayers for her and her family.

A collection was also held at the cathedral doors as mourners left to help with the cost of repatriating Karol's body to the country of his birth.

Polish Chaplin Piotr Delimat, the chief celebrant of the bilingual mass, said little Karol or 'maly Karolek', as he was referred to throughout, had united both communities.

"Karol has brought the Polish and Irish communities together. He unites us, a baby boy and all our children no matter where we're from, we all love our children.

"I'm sure all parents will give a huge hug to their children, especially before they put them to bed," he said.

A crowd of some 500 people attended the mass, including members of the Polish community, locals and Anna's colleagues from the Aghadoe Heights Hotel, where she worked.

Originally from the Polish city of Bielsko Biala near Krakow, she has spent the last three years travelling between Ireland and Poland.

She gave birth to her baby in Poland and intends to bury him there.

Supt Flor Murphy and seven other gardai involved in the investigation surrounding his death were in attendance.

Burden

Parish priest Fr Kieran O'Brien called on those gathered to pray for Anna and her family.

"Today is a sad occasion for Anna, her family and the Polish community here in Killarney as we try to journey with them to lighten their burden in whatever way is possible," he said.

Meanwhile, a Polish man who was found injured in the apartment on Sunday, is in a stable but critical condition in Tralee General Hospital.

He is understood to have suffered substantial blood loss due to serious arm and abdominal injuries, which are believed to have been self-inflicted.

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