The funeral of Fr. Jim Kirby, retired priest of the Archdiocese of Glasgow, was held in St. Michael’s, Parkhead on 1 June. Fr. Jim had retired early due to ill-health and spent his last days in Ayr with relatives.
At the Vigil, Mgr. Peter Smith presided, and some of the St. Mungo Singers provided musical support in leading the singing of the entrance hymn Be Thou My Vision, the Psalm (Ps. 29), Gospel Acclamation and Litany, and the final hymn How Lovely on the Mountains.
On the following day, Archbishop Conti concelebrated the Funeral Mass with a large number of priests from the Archdiocese. Before the Mass began, the St. Mungo Singers sang the affirming Introit for All Souls “Just as Jesus died and rose”.[audio:just-as-jesus.mp3]
As Archbishop Conti welcomed congregation and clergy, he asked that they remember in their prayers Mgr. Owen Gallagher who had died at the weekend. He also invited all present to consider the service as an opportunity to reflect on the mystery of life, death and resurrection. Appropriately the Psalm for the Mass continued this resurrection theme, being the Easter Psalm 117.
Mgr. Smith, who had first met Fr. Kirby when the latter was in his first parish as a curate, gave the homily. He reflected that Fr. Jim had been born on the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross, a suitable starting point to consider the reality of the Resurrection. The readings for the Mass – Apocalypse 21; 2Timothy 2; Mark 15 – showed the developing understanding of the early Church of the Resurrection, from the women at the tomb who had no expectation of it, despite their knowledge of Jesus and what he had promised, through St. Paul’s recognition that Jesus’ Resurrection was not just a moment in the history of one person but for everyone, to the understanding of the Apocalypse that the Resurrection had meaning in eternity and the world had changed – God is with us. This brings us full circle to the birth of Jesus – Emmanuel “God with us”. This was the Good News that brought Fr. Jim to the priesthood and motivated his life