There was deep sadness and great shock in Cootehill and right throughout the Diocese of Kilmore at the sudden passing of Deacon, Rev Damien Kivlehan, on Tuesday of last week at the Mater Hospital in Dublin.
He made history in October 2014 when he was ordained one of the diocese’s first permanent deacons, along with Andy Brady.
Formerly of Culleenamore, Strandhill, Co Sligo, and later of New Line, Cootehill, Damien’s funeral mass was celebrated in St Michael’s Church in Cootehill last Friday. Bishop Leo O’Reilly was the principal celebrant and the Homily was delivered by Very Rev Michael Router, PPVF Bailieborough.
Following requiem mass, the remains of Deacon Damien were interred in St Michael’s Cemetery in Cootehill. He was ordained to the Deaconate on October 5, 2014.
The massive attendance at his funeral was a reflection of the esteem and affection in which he was held throughout the Diocese and beyond. Fr Michael Router captured his virtues and essence of his kindly nature in his homily.
The family man
“Before all else, Damien was family man and it was in the closeness of a loving relationship with his wife Margaret, whom he married in 1973; his daughters Connie, Carrie and Norrie; his sons Richard, Damian, Adrian, Keith and Garth; his mother Norrie who is with us here today; his brothers and sisters and all his extended family that he found the inspiration and support to reach out and serve others, particularly those who were struggling or in difficulty,” said Fr Router in his homily.
But he said that Deacon Damien was also committed to his wider family in the community through his involvement in many local organizations including the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul, the Senior Citizens Committee, the Senior Helpline, the GAA, the Board of Management of the local national school and the Tidy Towns.
“Damien was also very notably involved in local politics. He was elected to the Cootehill Town council and served as its chairperson in 2012,” recalled Fr Router.
“His stated priority was for the old and vulnerable in society and he encouraged the development of an even greater community spirit here in Cootehill to help overcome any obstacles that may be encountered in reaching that goal,” he added.
“Damien brought that same priority and attitude to his work in Bailieborough as a permanent deacon,” continued Fr Router who praised his “friendly and warm approach to people”.
“People were important to him. He had a great interest in them and their story and he took the time to talk and relate to them and to their lives. Another parishioner also expressed her sadness to me as she said that Damien always said yes in his life to God and to others. He never said no. There was always a solution and nothing was too much trouble or a burden to him.
“In the short time that was given to Damien as a Deacon in St Anne’s Church in Bailieborough, this was his strongest point and it helped him to establish himself in the 14 months that he ministered there,” added Fr Router.