Anguished scenes as crash victim Callum Morrow (8) is laid to rest
The devastated family of a Co Armagh boy who was killed in a two-vehicle crash last weekend have laid him to rest.
Eight-year-old Callum Morrow's heartbroken father Stephen Brennan was allowed out of hospital to bury his son, who died when the car they were travelling in crashed on Aughnacloy Road near Banbridge on Saturday evening.
Canon Liam Stevenson told the hundreds of mourners in St Peter's in Lurgan that the Requiem Mass was particularly poignant given Callum's age.
Referring to the words of an Old Testament prophet, the parish priest urged the grieving family, including the schoolboy's inconsolable mother Mandy, to be honest about the agony they are experiencing.
"Isaiah said God seeks to bind up hearts which are broken," he said.
"Well there are many broken hearts that need bound in our congregation this morning as we struggle to find meaning in this sudden and terrible loss."
The priest praised friends of the family who have done their best to comfort Mandy and Stephen, but gently urged them both to talk to God about their terrible suffering as he prayed for all who bear scars as a result of the traumatic incident.
"Ask him for comfort in grief and for reassurance," he said.
"Ask him for the courage to live through these dark, lonely days because the Lord comforts all who mourn and gives garments in exchange for ashes."
Mourners were told that the "loveable child with a heart of gold" and "passionate sportsman" will be missed by his family and many friends.
"He was a kind boy who was a firm Liverpool supporter and loved playing soccer for Lurgan Celtic," Canon Stevenson said.
"In addition to his love of sport Callum enjoyed reading, but like all his friends, he loved his PlayStation."
Team-mates from his football club formed a guard of honour outside the church as the coffin arrived, just one month after he celebrated his first confession and holy communion.
His brother James (6), who plays for the same club, was nursing a broken shoulder sustained in the crash. Callum was killed instantly.
The congregation heard that the David Walliams fan dreamed of becoming a marine biologist when he grew up.
Canon Stevenson told mourners that Callum was an "ambitious" boy whose future career may have been influenced by his grandparents' home on the shore of Lough Neagh. Commenting on a sign that hangs in their home and reads 'Granny and Granda's place, always time for kids', the clergyman said May and John Morrow certainly had time for their grandson.
Staff and pupils from Carrick Primary School, which Callum attended, were present to pay their respects - he had been excited about starting P5 in September.
His aunt wept as she paid tribute to "our precious little Callum" who now rests upon the stars.
"Every night that we look up, we pray to God for this; Callum do one little thing for us and catch this great big kiss," she said. Despite being in a wheelchair and under medical supervision, Callum's dad insisted on walking behind his son's coffin as it was carried from the church for burial at St Colman's Cemetery - a nurse carrying an oxygen tank walked closely behind.
Mandy was comforted by loved ones as she cried.