On 19th December 2013, the Archdiocese of Glasgow said farewell to Mgr. Peter O’Farrell. The funeral Mass was concelebrated at St. Flannan’s parish, Kirkintilloch, by Archbishop Tartaglia, Archbishop Emeritus Conti and priests from across the Diocese. Support for the music of the liturgy was provided by members of the St. Mungo Singers.
Mgr. O’Farrell’s last parish before his retirement had been St. John of the Cross, Twechar and he had, coincidentally, died on the Feast of St. John of the Cross. His funeral vigil had taken place in St. John’s and in the congregation were local Councillor Jack Young, and parishioners from the parish.
In his homily, Archbishop Tartaglia said that it had been a shock to hear that Mgr. O’Farrell had died, although his health had been in decline. He expressed his sympathy to Mgr. O’Farrell’s sisters and family and invited them to take heart from the readings of the liturgy: the first reading (Isaiah 25: 6-9) with the prophecy that God would destroy death for ever, the second reading (Philippians 3:20-21) expressing the hope of heaven which Mgr. Peter had preached and which we pray he will be experiencing now.
The Archbishop reflected that Mgr. O’Farrell had been one of the many Irish-born priests who had been so integral to the life of the church in Scotland. He had been born in Greystones, County Wicklow, which is where his body would be taken for its final committal. His ministry had encompassed a number of parishes in the Archdiocese, and he had celebrated his Golden Jubilee in 2012, just after his retirement. His great pastime had been golf, and he had been responsible for organising the clergy golf outings, which became for him a form of service to his fellow-priests.
At the end of the Mass, Archbishop Emeritus Conti also expressed his condolences to the family and recalled how Mgr. O’Farrell had invited him every summer to dinner. In the words of St. Paul, he made hospitality his special care.
As Mgr. Peter’s body was taken from the church, the choir led the congregation in singing the beautiful hymn “I cannot tell how he whom angels worship” to the tune “Londonderry Air”, an appropriate farewell to an Irish priest returning home.