Tributes to Karl Heaney's 'love of life' as he is laid to rest
Mourners at the funeral of a 27-year-old Co Down man who died in a road traffic collision heard how he had a "love of life" and was going to be sorely missed by his family and friends.
During requiem mass for Karl Heaney in St Mary's Church, Newry, yesterday the congregation was told that his "strongest and closest community was his family".
In his homily, Fr Colum Murphy said "they will miss his ability to see good in others, his love of life, his dedication to be the best that he can be".
He also described Mr Heaney's "wicked sense of humour, his infectious smile and laugh, his devotion and loyalty to his family and his girlfriend, and many, many other countless wee things that will no longer be present to them in the same way".
Mr Heaney, a GAA player with Newry Mitchels GFC and a former pupil of Abbey Christian Brothers Grammar School, died following a two-vehicle collision on the A1 between Banbridge and Dromore on May 23.
Fr Murphy told the congregation that words can be very difficult in the darkest moments.
"At a time like this we are lost for words," he said. "There are no words that can convey the grief, the sense of loss, the sense of shock, the sense of anything that we might be feeling."
He added: "It may even be the case that we are feeling numb, struggling even to get our heads around what has just happened and unable to take in the magnitude of how our lives will change because of this loss of someone who we loved so dearly."
It is understood the teaching assistant at Belfast's Aquinas Diocesan Grammar School was travelling home from GAA training when the crash happened.
Yesterday the priest said he would be "very sorely missed by fellow staff, parents and pupils whose lives he touched and blessed in so many ways".
He added: "Karl also had a wide and strong community of friends, and the loss that they feel has been very clear to see on social media over the past number of days."
Fr Murphy expressed condolences on behalf of the parish community to Karl's dad Michael, mum Monica, sisters Carina, Tara and Aoife, his girlfriend Ciara and his niece Imogen.
"This community is not just made up of those on earth who can comfort and console with words of faith and hope," he said.
"But is also a community which extends beyond this earth to the community of saints with God, and of which we pray today that Karl is now part. And in that new place and in this new way Karl will continue to look after you, his family and friends who remain behind. You may not even realise it, but say a prayer to him, ask him to look after you, to be with you, and to pray for you to the God who he is now with."
He was laid to rest in Monkshill Cemetery after the service.