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Mourners told of cleric's courage in the face of 'unendurable' illness

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The funeral of Rev Canon Mark Watson takes place in Christchurch, Maguiresbridge

The funeral of Rev Canon Mark Watson takes place in Christchurch, Maguiresbridge

The funeral of Rev Canon Mark Watson takes place in Christchurch, Maguiresbridge

The funeral of Rev Canon Mark Watson takes place in Christchurch, Maguiresbridge

Rev Canon Mark Watson

Rev Canon Mark Watson

The funeral of Rev Canon Mark Watson takes place in Christchurch, Maguiresbridge

Mourners at the funeral of tragic Church of Ireland minister Rev Canon Mark Watson have heard how he suffered "a number of the most horrible, demoralising illnesses" over the last 18 months.

Those gathered at Christ Church, Maguiresbridge yesterday heard Bishop of Clogher, the Rt Rev John McDowell, tell how "the particular condition he suffered from over the past while was utterly unendurable".

Canon Watson (52), who lived in the Co Fermanagh town and had been rector of Maguiresbridge and Derrybrusk parishes since 2017, died on Monday.

"Mark Watson was a big man. He was a big man who loved God from the beginning of his life and was loved by God to the end of his life," said Rev McDowell.

"A big family man. A big presence in the parishes where he served. A big influence in the many organisations to which he belonged. A big contributor to the communities he lived in. He was a life enhancer."

He said there were "two places where it was easiest to see Mark 'at rest'".

The first was fishing in Donegal in the springtime.

"The other place was at home. Rona was simply the love of his life and both Mark and she were rightly proud of their two sons, Samuel and Peter who they both shaped.

"A stable, loving and practical household, where skills of all sorts were passed on from one generation to the next," he said.

"Over the past few years, but particularly over the past 18 months, Mark suffered a number of the most horrible, demoralising illnesses.

"Those of us who knew him were full of admiration for the courage and cheerfulness with which he faced them.

"During all this time his appetite for work was entirely unabated. He would drag himself to his duties and the fulfilment of his vocation regardless.

"But the particular condition he suffered from over the past while was utterly unendurable.

"Only Rona, Samuel and Peter are fully aware of just how deadly and destructive it was. Day by day Mark was being ground between the agonising millstones of life's bitterest experiences; of desperate uncertainty and utter despair."

He added: "It is only those who know very little of such trials, or who have been sheltered from life's most devastating experiences, whose confidence comes from never having had their self-confidence shaken, who would have the temerity to pass a judgment."

Burial followed the funeral service in Derrybrusk Parish Churchyard.

Belfast Telegraph