St. Joseph’s Helensburgh bade farewell on 7th March to Fr. Terry Friel, a son of the parish, born there in 1935, who stayed in it in his retirement and who began his final journey to the Lord from it. The church was crowded with parishioners, as Archbishop Tartaglia concelebrated the funeral Mass in company with many of the priests of the diocese and Bishop Emeritus Devine from Motherwell. The choir of St. Joseph’s, together with members of the St. Mungo Singers and Dr. Noel Donnelly on clarsach provided the support for the music of the liturgy.
At the beginning of his homily, Archbishop Tartaglia expressed his deepest sympathies for Fr. Terry’s family who had experienced the loss of a number of family members over recent months, including Fr. Terry’s brother and sister. He quoted the words of St. Paul in the second reading which invited us not to grieve as if we had no hope. Death does not have the last word. Instead there is fullness of life, and endless joy and love.
Reflecting on Fr. Terry’s life, the Archbishop recalled that he had studied at Blairs and St. Peter’s, Cardross before being ordained in 1959 in St. Andrew’s Cathedral by Archbishop Campbell. His first appointment had been as an assistant in Christ the King parish at a time of great growth in the Catholic church in Glasgow. Unfortunately ill-health subsequently forced him to retire from active ministry early but even then he continued to help his fellow priests by supplying for them and by visiting the sick and housebound.
Fr. Terry was a man of compassionate heart and with a great pastoral sensitivity, and Archbishop Tartaglia prayed that today he would be hearing face to face the words of today’s gospel “Today you will be with me in Paradise”.