Their loss is also our loss. Bishop Eamonn has been part of our lives for many decades and today it is natural that we would reflect and remember. And there are many memories!
When we witness homelessness, poverty and inequality in our society we remember with renewed respect his initiative, his tremendous work and his tenacious spirit among Irish emigrants in England, which ensured for so many the dignity of shelter and a place they could call home.
We remember that Bishop Eamonn brought that same undaunted passion to his ministry as Bishop of Kerry from 1969 to 1976 and to his subsequent ministry as Bishop of Galway and Kilmacduagh from 1976 to 1992.
Bishop Eamonn’s indefatigable and boundless energy, and his ability to lift and inspire generosity in people, saw the building of churches for a growing population at Barna, Seamus Quirk Road, Headford Road, Ballybane, Knocknacarra, Maree and adjacent to the NUI, Galway campus. He spearheaded the work of Trocáire and helped found Galway Social Services.
He established Chaplaincies to respond to the needs of members of the Travelling Community and of prisoners at home and overseas.
And then, on that memorable and historic day in September 1979, Bishop Eamonn welcomed Pope Saint John Paul II to the city of Galway and to his home in the city.
Bishop Eamonn brought blessings to many people.
But to be human is to be both blessed and to be flawed. Some of his actions caused great hurt and the circumstances giving rise to his resignation in 1992 have been the subject of ongoing analysis.
Bishop Eamonn asked for forgiveness from all those that he hurt and he went on to minister in both Ecuador and England before returning to Ireland to retire in January 2006.
In his latter years Bishop Eamonn knew peace of mind and was surrounded by love, both in Shanaglish, Co Galway, where he lived, and then at Carrigoran Nursing Home, Co Clare, where he died.
As we give thanks for his service to the people of God, we pray that he will also know peace and joy without end in eternal life.
To quote the funeral liturgy:
We will pray for you Eamonn
May you pray for us
May God and Mary be with you.