Priest makes plea to young people at teenager’s funeral

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A priest at the funeral of Chloe Kinsella in Limerick has a made strong plea to young people to live their lives to the full and warned of the devastation caused by “copycat” suicides.

From The Irish Times

Rev Pat Seaver told mourners at St Munchin’s Church that Chloe’s family did not want to see any more tragedies in their community.

The death of the 15-year-old was the third similar death in her school in recent months, he said.

“All of us were anxious not to glamorise Chloe’s funeral service. Her death is tragic and it follows in the wake of two other tragic deaths of students at St Nessan’s during the summer holidays.

“We do not want any more tragedies. Life is for living – especially for young people – especially for 15-year-olds,” Rev Seaver said.

Hundreds of people packed St Munchin’s Church for today’s funeral mass where mourners were reminded of a beautiful daughter and sister who loved music and dancing.

Most of those gathered had taken part in the six-day search for the missing girl, whose body was recovered from the River Shannon last Friday, close to her home at Kenyon Avenue in Kileely.

Gardaí are not treating her death as suspicious.

Mourners were led by Chloe’s parents Shirley and Kevin and their seven other children – Sonya, Kevin, Jonathan, Linsey, Marguerite, Brian and Darren.

There were heartbreaking scenes when Chloe’s sister Marguerite told mourners about her beautiful sister with the “bright blue eyes who always looked her best”.

The Kinsella’s youngest daughter Sophie died in 2004 aged four from a heart illness, mourners heard.

“Now I know we will always have two angels looking over our family but it goes without saying, ’Sleep tight gorgeous’, you will always be forever young and I miss you and love you forever,” said Marguerite.

In his homily -which was described as a “co-operative effort” involving Chloe’s parents, the principal of St Nessan’s School, Eugene O’Brien, and the home liaison teacher, Teri Coffee – Rev Seaver said: “All concerned in the putting together of this sermon were determined that there would be no hype during this ceremony.”

He also spoke about the damage caused to young people by alcohol, and the fear of a “copycat situation” when there is too much publicity around suicide.

“The huge danger when young people see this emotional local and national drama played out before hundreds and thousands of people including family, the entire school, everybody in the neighbourhood and even on TV and all of the papers – even the front page..

“The problem is that it can lead to a copycat situation. So in this sermon, we, the co-authors, decided to focus on God’s gift of life – life to be lived to the full. And we all agreed that it would focus on the life that our young people live,” he said.

“One thing that can do terrible damage to young people in their development is alcohol…and sadly one of the people who helped draft this homily reported seeing quite a large number of young people who attended the prayer vigil on Thursday night under the influence of drink. So we appeal to young people, try and begin to appreciate God’s wonderful gift of life and live it to the full.”

Chloe was laid to rest in the family plot at Mount Saint Oliver Cemetery beside her sister Sophie.

* The Samaritans are contactable at 1850 60 90 90