Hope is replaced with heartache in tragic Karen's home community
HEARTACHE has replaced hope in a tightknit Cork community that had been praying for a miracle in the search for missing student Karen Buckley.
Hundreds of locals gathered last night to support a special 'Mass of Hope' organised by Mourneabbey Parish Council and Fr Joe O'Keeffe to show support for Karen's parents, John (62) and Marian (61).
The couple, who have four children, flew to Glasgow on Monday to help with the desperate search for their daughter (inset).
Tragically, within hours of the special prayer vigil a body was found on a Glasgow farm.
Analeentha National School principal, Susan O'Keeffe, said the entire community is shocked.
"Karen was a beautiful girl and a wonderful student here. They (the Buckleys) are such a lovely family. Mourneabbey and the entire world is shocked by this," she said.
Karen's old Mourneabbey school friend, Denyse O'Brien, said everyone is heartbroken.
"There is something very sad about coming from a loving farm and ending up on a farm, I just find that very upsetting for the family and for everybody," she said.
Now living in Limerick, where Karen began her nursing studies, Ms O'Brien travelled home to Mourneabbey last night to attend the vigil.
"I am removed from the community a certain amount because my life is in Limerick now, but to have been in Mourneabbey last night and seeing everybody come together and especially the elderly people ... If the power of prayer could have done anything it would have been good news," she said.
People were visibly shocked as they attended morning Masses in Burnfort and Mallow today.
James O'Sullivan said the entire Buckley family will be fully supported by the north Cork community.
"I know it will be only a small consolation but everyone around here will rally around them. This is a good community and no-one will be found wanting in helping and supporting them."
Fr Joe O'Keeffe vowed that the community will be there to support the Buckley family and share their pain.
"It is devastating," he said.
But he added that the community will help the Buckleys.
"The Buckley family are in our thoughts and in our prayers and will continue to be," he said.
"As you would expect, (the mood) is very downbeat. We are all effected. It is a small parish community but a close-knit one.So we are all feeling for the Buckley family today."
The Bishop of Cloyne, Dr William Crean, said everyone was "deeply touched" by the "unconditional love" shown by John and Marian for Karen.