The late Ashling Murphy

Priest tells congregation "life is so, so precious"

As a single white candle burned in front of the altar in Tullamore’s Church of the Assumption at all Masses this weekend to signify the life of murdered schoolteacher, Ashling Murphy, local curate Fr. Joe Campbell told the congregation that if the “terrible, terrible tragedy” of the last few days had taught us anything it is that “life is so, so precious.”

Prayers were said at all Masses in Tullamore for the family of the 23-year old teacher who was murdered on Wednesday afternoon when she was out for a run on the banks of the Grand Canal.

During his Homily at the 11.30am Mass this morning, Fr. Campbell said Ashling Murphy was “a great role model for all of us” and that she had used her “giftedness for good” which is what all of us are called to do.

Referring to her as a young woman who had “personified the good in everything she did” he reminded the congregation that “each and every one of us is precious in the eyes of God, and each and every one of us should feel safe as we go about our daily concerns.”

“We need to trust in the spirit of God in the midst of this terrible, terrible tragedy, and if we can do anything apart from praying for the Murphy family we ourselves should be more loving, more caring, more understanding and more respectful of the precious gift of life that we have been given” said Fr. Campbell, who is a native of Rosemount, in nearby Westmeath.

During the Prayers of the Faithful, special prayers were said for the Murphy family that the Lord would “lift them up and carry them through their grief and suffering” and also for her family, friends, pupils and the wider communities of music, sport and learning that was such an integral part of.

Prayers were also said for those who have experienced violence and that “renewed efforts” would be made at all levels of society to ensure that all people may feel “no fear as they live in their homes, walk on the streets of our towns and cities, and in our countryside.”

Local husband and wife duo, and lifelong members of Comhaltas, Frank and Mary Brennan, played a haunting and poignant lament called “Táimse im’ Chodladh (I’m Asleep)’ on fiddle as a reflection after Communion to honour the memory of Ashling Murphy.