The funeral Mass for Mgr. Matt Coakley, a well known and much loved priest of the Archdiocese of Glasgow who died at the age of 92, was held on 3 October in his last parish St James the Great, Crookston. Archbishop Tartaglia, the principal celebrant, was joined by Archbishop Emeritus Conti, and priests from across the Archdiocese, as well as one of Mgr Coakley’s cousins who serves as a priest in Ireland.
In the packed congregation were other members of Mgr Coakley’s family from Ireland, and parishioners from the various parishes in which he had served in addition to St. James. The music of the Mass was supported by members of the Archdiocesan choir, the St.. Mungo Singers and cantors from the parish. .
Greeting the congregation in his homily, Archbishop Tartaglia said Mgr. Matt would be smiling to see such an assembly in St. James where he had been parish priest for 22 years before retiring at the age of 80 to live not so far away in St Robert’s for a further 11 years.
Welcoming Mgr Matt’s family members present, the Archbishop reflected that although born in Ireland in 1025, Mgr Coakley had served for 54 years, after his ordination in 1951, in the Archdiocese of Glasgow in many parishes including Sacred Heart, St Roch’s and St Margaret Mary’s before finishing his long active priestly ministry in St James.
He was always cheerful and talkative and, and the Archbishop described him as a blessing for so many people. He himself had made his final visit to see him just before his death and he treasured those precious moments. The Gospel passage (John 12:23-28) for the funeral Mass, said Archbishop Tartaglia, contained great words for any Christian but particularly for priests: “wherever I am, my servant will be there too”. This is the sublime hope for us.
Mgr. Coakley’s body was taken after the funeral Mass on the beginning of its journey back to Ireland but the community of St James welcomed everyone to the parish hall for refreshments where the instrumental group from St. James played for those who had attended the funeral Mass.