The funeral has taken place of primary school teacher Catherine McCann from Lavey, who tragically passed away this week.
Mourners at the service in Our Lady of Mercy Church in Lavey heard how Catherine showered the children she taught with love and was devoted to her family.
Officiating at the funeral, parish priest Fr Eamon Graham said she was a beautiful person.
“If I was to mention this morning all the people who Catherine loved and who she in turn was loved by, we would be here all day,” he told the congregation.
“The past few days I was trying to think how I would sum up Catherine; she was beautiful inside and outside, in every aspect of life.
“She loved all the good things in life. She always had her hair done and presented herself better than any of the rest of us.
“Behind that, it wasn't a facade. It was a reflection of the goodness within her. She lived her life in a wonderful way.”
Fr Graham told those gathered in the church how Catherine had doted over her many nieces and nephews, and encouraged them to keep her memory alive by following her example.
Her love of both those in her family and the children she taught was central to her life, a life in which her faith was strong.
“You know every child she ever taught, because she brought all the children's bothers and woes home. She loved the children she taught, particularly in Creggan,” he said.
“She had a special love of her godchildren because her faith was important. She loved God deeply and many people are closer to God today because they encountered Catherine.”
A proud Lavey woman, she was deeply involved in the local community. She attended the local primary school and was steeped in the area's GAA tradition.
“In our own parish, Catherine was so involved in the GAA, the camogie. She was a pupil at our school and the teachers remembered her as a pupil and a student teacher,” said Fr Graham.
“When she was dealing with student teachers, she always went the extra mile. Teaching wasn't just a job for her, it was a vocation.
“She was a perfectionist in every way possible, but she missed her mummy. It is our hope, prayer and belief that she is with her mother and with God.”
Erin's Own GAC led their own tribute to Catherine online.
“Lavey GAC is greatly shocked and saddened to learn of the untimely death of our former senior camogie player, Catherine McCann,” they said.
“Today and forever we'll remember Catherine McCann. Every team with Catherine on it was a better team.”
Catherine taught for 17 years in Creggan Primary School, near Randalstown, County Antrim, and the school paid tribute to her kindness.
“Miss Mc Cann taught in our school for 17 years. She was a model teacher in every way, always putting her pupils first,” they said.
“An amazing friend to all the staff and parents and her displays of kindness to everyone she met came so naturally.
“She always arrived to school dressed in the latest fashion and then quickly pulled the trainers on her to deliver sports lessons in her lovely pink trainers.
“We cannot even begin to realise the void that is left in Creggan Primary School.”
Concluding the homily at her funeral mass, Fr Graham said she had touched the life of every person she encountered.
“I can't sum up Catherine – I wouldn't even try to – but the thought that's in my head is that she wove a thread of gold through life,” he said.
“It touched every person she encountered and it was made out of love. It's up to the rest of us to take up that thread and bring it through life.
“That's the greatest tribute everybody can give.”
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