An Armagh man who died at Navan Quarry on Sunday has been remembered by his family as a “beautiful, sensitive young man who found the stress of this life hard to bear”.
The life and special qualities of Keith Kelly were celebrated at Requiem Mass in St Patrick’s Cathedral earlier today (Wednesday).
Mr Kelly was found in the water shortly before 3.10pm on Sunday but sadly could not be saved.
Fr Barry Matthews told mourners that on that day the church had celebrated Divine Mercy Sunday.
“The hour of mercy, three o’clock, is a special moment in our church’s calendar, where people all around the world come to pray, come together to pray that God’s love may fill our hearts and that we may know and trust in God’s mercy and God’s love,” he said.
“The tragedy which befell the Kelly family on Sunday can only be seen through the eyes of God’s mercy, through the eyes of God’s love. And I have no doubt that at that hour of mercy Keith was embraced by his loving God, his creator, his saviour and his friend.”
Fr Matthews said many people had spoken of their memories of Keith, who was the youngest of five children.
“They have spoken of the great sense of humour he had, his great, encyclopaedic knowledge of music and, indeed, his family remembers many of the great nights’ craic they had around a dining table with music, with quizzes, which of course, he always won,” he said.
The congregation was told that Keith’s family had written a brief tribute to him in which they spoke of the “great blessings” that he was filled with.
“One of the graces that he was blessed with was his care for others. He worked for many years with the homeless community here in Armagh, work which truly touched the hearts of those less fortunate than ourselves,” said Fr Matthews.
“And I know as a family, you hold Keith so much in your hearts for the great care which he gave to your mum Maggie over the last 10 years of her life in your home.
“Unfortunately, Maggie can’t be with us today, but I’m sure that she is united with us in prayer.”
Fr Matthews said the family had also spoken of Keith’s interest in politics and history and his love for reading.
“And I think all of this really holds true to the first reading, the Book of Ecclesiastes, where we read that for everything there is a time and that’s what these days are for,” he said.
“There are days where memories come to the fore, where stories are told and sometimes they’re told with laughter in our hearts, sometimes they’re told with tears in our eyes, but they are always told with love and with warmth.”
He said a “lovely line” that Keith’s family finished their tribute with read, ‘Mostly Keith was a beautiful, sensitive young man who found the stresses of this world hard to bear’.
And the family finished their tribute with a prayer, ‘We pray that, hopefully, he is at peace now’.
On the family’s behalf, Fr Matthews thanked everyone who had supported them over the past days, as well as the staff at the Bluestone Unit who had looked after Keith.
Keith was predeceased by his father Patrick and is survived by mother Margaret, brothers and sisters Paul, Patricia, Louise and Shane, brothers-in-law Sam and John, sister-in-law Ann, nephews Neil, Jamie and Michael, niece Claire and the extended family.
Burial took place in St Patrick’s Cemetery.