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Martin McGuinness is remembered as family gather for memorial Mass

By Donna Deeney

Martin McGuinness was remembered in a Month's Mind Mass in his home city last night in what was described by Fr Michael Canny as a "homely" opportunity to reflect on his life and offer support to his wife and family.

Mr McGuinness' widow Bernie along with their sons Emmet and Fiachra and daughters Grainne and Fionnuala and key figures from Sinn Fein returned to St Columba's Church in the Long Tower, where five weeks ago his Requiem Mass was held.

A poem penned by Martin McGuinness was read by his daughter-in-law, reflecting his love of Inishowen, where his mother's family hailed from, and his love of Fullerton's Dam.

Among the congregation were Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams, Michelle O'Neill, the party's leader in the North, as well as Sinn Fein Foyle MLAs Raymond McCartney and Elisha McCallion, and SDLP MP Mark Durkan.

In his welcome, Fr Canny said: "It is almost five weeks since we gathered here for the funeral Mass of Martin.

"We gather, because it is customary in our parts for a Month's Mind, although I know there was an equally important Month's Mind held in St Patrick's Cathedral in New York this week.

"This is a more homely opportunity because the funeral was very much a formal gathering with all sorts of people present but in that five weeks I am sure Bernie, Emmet and Fiachra, Grainne and Fionnuala and the grandchildren don't need any solemn reminder that Martin, who was very much a part of their lives, is no longer there.

"We gather as a community to reflect on his life and again commend his to the Lord and be with Bernie and the family."

Mr McGuinness was also remembered in Brussels at a service attended by Sinn Fein members including Martina Anderson MEP, who said: "It has been a month since we lost our friend, comrade and iconic republican leader Martin McGuinness.

"Just as people across Ireland mourned his immense loss, so too did people throughout Europe and across the world.

"Martin was a regular visitor to the European Parliament and valued the continuing support from Europe for the peace process and our campaign to secure designated special status for the north within the EU. It was important that we remembered Martin here tonight as we send our condolences to Bernie and all the family."

The Mass held in Londonderry was in sharp contrast to the one held this week in St Patrick's Cathedral, New York, where Senator George Mitchell gave a eulogy in which he described Mr McGuinness as one of the "real heroes of the peace process".

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