herald

Wednesday 7 December 2016

Hozier among mourners at funeral mass of Berkeley victim Olivia Burke

Irish musician Hozier attends the funeral of Olivia Burke in Foxrock.
Irish musician Hozier attends the funeral of Olivia Burke in Foxrock.

The funeral of Berkeley victim Olivia Burke is currently taking place at the Church of Our Lady of Perpetual Succour, in the parish of Foxrock, Dublin.

Twenty-one-year-old Olivia was one of six young students killed in the tragic balcony collapse in Berkeley, California last week. 

It is the second day of the funerals of the tragic victims in Ireland, following the burial of both Eimear Walsh and Eoghan Culligan yesterday.

Family, friends and members of the local community joined Olivia’s parents Paula, Paul and her brother Gavin in mourning.

Award-winning singer and musician Andrew Hozier-Byrne, otherwise known as Hozier, was also at the service.

Fr Frank Herron described how the community of Foxrock have reached out to one another in the past week like never before.

“Last Tuesday evening at about 9 o’clock, the bells of our church tolled out the sad news of the tragic death of Olivia and Emer, two of our young parishioners as well as their 4 friends,” he told the funeral mass.

“We threw open the doors of our church and because of the constant stream of people, they have not closed before midnight since then. The thought of 6 young people dying so far away in such circumstances and the thought of their parents and siblings having to make the long journey to bring them back home has pained us all,” he continued.

“This week our community of Foxrock has reached out to each other probably as never before.  In this building we looked for God and for each other.”

Fr Herron continued: "Our community has been dealing with the absence of God - where was he when all this happened - and the presence of God all week.  And we have experienced both.

"God is like a loving parent.  You watch your children grow and mature and eventually move away from you. You do not love them any less in their absence.

"If anything you love them more and think about them every day. And you hope they think about you. It is the same with God. He loves us and we are constantly in his mind and heart even if we move away.

"It doesn’t matter. His love can’t change.

"But he is not a builder, an architect or an engineer.

"He leaves all that to us. He was there that night at the 21st birthday party. He was there as the young people gathered and as they enjoyed themselves. And he was there as the accident happened… falling with them.

"And he was there as some stepped from this world into eternity to embrace them and to take them back to where they came from; to where we all came from - back to the very heart of God."

Olivia’s funeral mass opened with the hymn ‘Here I Am Lord’ and friends and relatives brought symbols of Olivia’s life to the mass.

These included a Loreto College journal to symbolise her time at her secondary school, a photo of Olivia and her dog King Charles Spaniel Skipper, a Ted Baker bag to symbolise her love of fashion and a throw that was given to Olivia for her 21st Birthday with her life in photos printed on it.

Olivia’s father Paul Burke will read a reflection at the end of the Mass.

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