The funeral Mass for Fr. Bernard Connell took place in St. Margaret’s, Clydebank on 18th January 2017, with Archbishop Tartaglia, the chief concelebrant, joined by many of the priests of the diocese. Members of his family were also present, including his sister who had travelled from Canada. The music of the Mass was supported by members of the St. Mungo Singers.
Fr. Connell was well known for his pastoral care for those in hospital, as Archbishop Tartaglia recalled in his homily, and this was evident in the presence at the funeral Mass of many from St. Margaret’s Hospice, including Chief Executive Sr. Rita, and those who had worked with him at hospitals including Fr. Brendan Murtagh and Rev. Anne Purdie.
Archbishop Tartaglia said Fr. Connell had been ailing for some time yet he had told the Archbishop when he last visited him at St Margaret’s Hospice, that he hoped to be back to work in January. It was not to be but he had been ready for this final journey and he had said how much he had enjoyed being a priest and a hospital chaplain. He had fulfilled this ministry since 1986 and had been the chaplain at St. Margaret’s for 20 years. The readings chosen for his funeral reflected this – Job19:1.23-27; James 5:13-16 and Matthew 5:1-12.
Fr. Connell, said the Archbishop, had made the Lord present in the lives of the sick over so many years through the sacrament of anointing. He had also provided a listening ear and counselling, not just for the sick but for staff as well, at all hours of the day and night. He had also in a former life been a professional footballer, playing for Clydebank!