That Sunday evening had a more sombre note as members of the St Mungo Singers gathered at Sacred Heart Parish for the Funeral Vigil of Johanna O’Connor who had been a faithful and devoted member of the choir since its inception until a few years before her death when ill health made attendance and participation difficult for her. They joined family and friends, including staff from SCIAF where she had worked for many years, and parishioners from both Sacred Heart and her former parish of Our Lady of Fatima where she had been a cantor for so many years.
The Vigil service was taken by Mgr Conroy Parish Priest of Sacred Heart. On the following day, he was joined by Mgr Gerry who had known Johanna as a friend from the time when he was a curate in Our Lady of Fatima parish. As was fitting for someone who had given so much to the music ministry of the church, her funeral service was filled with music.
In his homily Mgr. Conroy reflected that he had always been fascinated when he saw in someone’s life a link between figures and music – was it something about order and harmony? Johanna had worked with figures and finance in her employment (including at SCIAF) but she had wanted to join the Franciscan Sisters. Her health prevented this. Her vocation lay elsewhere, with her family and beyond, particularly in the life of the church, especially at Our Lady of Fatima and in the St Mungo Singers. She shared her talents and gifts with so many
Turning to the scripture readings for the Mass, he reflected that the reading from Isaiah was a parable of God brining order into chaos, in the guise of a great banquet. As for all banquets, a period of preparation is needed, and so it is for us in this world as we prepare for our destiny in the next world.
At the end of the service, Mgr. Gerry spoke briefly, saying that the anthem sung at the beginning of the service How Blest are Those who have Died in the Lord was so appropriate for Johanna. Now she would meet so many people she had prayed and sung for over the years. She would go to the Lord with her arms and hands full of good works
May she rest in peace.