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School chaplain urges youth to 'choose life’

Story by Linda O'Reilly

Friday, 4th March, 2016 6:07pm

School chaplain urges youth to 'choose life’

Sophie Carty (16).Photo: supplied by her family

The chaplain of a Cavan Town secondary school has urged young people to choose life and warned them that, when times get tough, not to take refuge in drink or drugs.

Fr Jason Murphy, chaplain at Breifne College, Cavan, made a passionate appeal during a powerful homily delivered at the funeral mass of a student on Sunday. Sophie Carty (16) from Ard na Greine died in tragic circumstances last Thursday - her death was not caused directly by drugs. Fr Jason described Sophie as a “talented”, “bright vivacious young student” with a bright future ahead of her who was “deeply cherished” by the school community at Breifne College.
Speaking at her funeral mass in the Cathedral last Sunday, where Sophie had just sang a few months previously with the school choir in the Christmas Carol Concert, Fr Jason had this advice for young people present: “Do not worry when that which seems like a crisis comes your way, it will pass with a little patience so not to take refuge in anything that offers a quick solution to a problem, be it drink or drug or legal highs.
“For there are some who are just waiting for that moment, that moment of your weakness, some as we know who are nothing but dealers in death, who don’t care about your dreams or your futures, some that might be here present who think about nobody only themselves and what it is that they can gain from their dealings in dark corners and their ducking and diving, people who will sell drugs to vulnerable young people in this town and who are bringing this community to its knees.”
Fr Jason further lamented the life lost for Sophie and her family. Sophie is survived by her heartbroken parents, Jeremy and Michelle; sisters Jemma, Nakita and Rihanna; brother Caolan, grandparents; extended family and friends.
“For Sophie there will be no debs, no dress, no hair done up high, no wondering who she will bring, no more Cartown, no doodles in a journal, no selfies, no snapchats, no messages on whatsapp no more changing her profile picture as the years move on despite the comments and statuses that are put up on facebook. For death is irreversible, it’s not a suspension, there are no appeals, no coming back.
“If Sophie could have known that there would be no tomorrow, that she would not dance nor sing ever again with Nakita or Rihanna or hug again her parents, or listen again to her favourite song with Jemma at night or laugh or mess with Caolan, and leave them without their big sister; if she could have understood the enormity of it all, of all she was to lose, Sophie would not have chosen death over life,” said Fr Jason.

'Full of life’
Speaking to the Celt this week following the funeral mass, Fr Jason conveyed the sympathy of the school staff, students and board of management to Sophie’s family and friends “on the tragic tragic loss of the beautiful young person that was Sophie Carty”.
Speaking in his capacity as school chaplain, he described Sophie as a popular student “full of life and fun” who “had the capacity to make people laugh and smile”.
Fr Jason said she had excelled in her Junior Cert exams last June and had a promising future. He noted her talent and creativity, in particular her love for Art and Music.
“It was with deep, deep sadness and pain that the news of her sudden death was greeted on Thursday evening and Friday morning, as news filtered through the school community,” said Fr Jason.

Support for students
The National Educational Psychological Services (NEPS) and guidance counsellors were on hand to meet with staff and students on Friday; Tullacmongan Resource Centre also had counsellors in place all day Friday, Saturday and Sunday for Sophie’s friends living in the locality.

• SOSAD Cavan can be contacted at 049 4326339, 0834339090, Email:

• Childline is on 1800-666-666 or text 'Talk’ to 50101 or log on to website

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