Fr Luke Flynn, O.Carm.

Given by F. O’Gara, O.Carm., at the Reception of the Remains in Whitefriar Street Church on the evening of Monday, May 20, 2002.

It’s so difficult to put into words feelings on an evening like this. Luke was such a dear member of our community here and so special to his family gathered here this evening to honour his memory. His long years of service to the Lord and his closeness to his family come immediately to mind. St. Paul in the first reading (Romans 8:1-39) tells us that nothing can come between us and Christ’s love and so what have we to fear in life or death? If God is on our side who can be against us? The Gospel evokes the picture of the Master’s return to find the servants ready and waiting so He sits them down to table to feed them (Luke 12:35-40). Luke fits into that scene nicely as most of us remember him in an apron and doing his house decorations. He was a man of simple service done with generosity and in perfection. His final illness was approached with the same degree of commitment and courage. Truly he was ready for his return home.
His years of service span some 70 years. After his Novitiate he spent time in Kinsale, Zimbabwe, Terenure, Kildare, Moate and finally Whitefriar Street. He was one of the three pioneers to Zimbabwe along with Bishop Lamont and Fr Anselm Corbett. On his return home he spent some 15 years in Moate and then finally 32 years here in Whitefriar Street. He will be remembered in his early years for his contribution to church music and in his later years for his dedication to the Church duties in Whitefriar Street (confessions and daily public Mass). He loved to quote the old ladies coming late for confessions as he left the box - “are there no confessions Father?”
He was a man of great artistic touches. My recollections of him are on top of a ten foot ladder pinning decorations to walls and ceilings for feastdays or Christmas. Usually Fr Higgins was standing dutifully by looking on. Luke would have his habit on at all times whether it was required or not. On one occasion I remember a TV news team coming to interview me on some aspect of local interest. The interview was short and to the point. On leaving the Church they met Luke, ladder bound cleaning the two statues at the entrance to the Church. He proved much more interesting, due I’m sure to the fact he wore his old habit and they spent an hour interviewing him and taking some shots. I was highly amused as there was no way he would he have agreed if they rang him first.
He was an intensely private person and would like to have things done before anyone noticed. Of course you could not but notice. Lights would appear some nights before Christmas as he tackled the Crib. That was an annual outing of some preparation and some detail. On one occasion the Gardaí rang to ask why there were lights on in the Church at such an hour of the morning. Each year the position and make up of the crib was different. He was always on the look out for items that would look different in the crib. Last Christmas he added two coffee cups and placed them on a small log near to the images of Mary and Joseph. Thinking they were not meant to be there I pointed it out. He remained totally silent and did not answer. Only afterwards did it dawn on me that he planned it. I’m still not sure what the message was. Many would say his crib design was enlightened and it certainly brought people from all over to view it. You could also be sure that as the Christmas season advanced, there would be additions to the crib. For Luke it had to be perfect.
Another sign of the private person he was comes to mind when I sat with him one evening after what was quite a serious car accident in which he wasn’t seriously hurt. As he waited with impatience fully clothed for the doctor to examine him he took in all that was happening around with appropriate comments. Finally the doctor arrived and began by asking him if he was on any tablets. “Red ones,” Luke replied. Sort of puzzled the doctor made the fatal mistake and asked – “and any other kind?” “Oh yes,” Luke replied, “blue ones sometimes.” The funny thing was the doctor really was more puzzled than ever while Luke beamed up at him. I should add he had a great affinity with medical people and trusted them completely. But he was not going to be anything but himself to anyone else.
His family will miss him most of all. His brothers were always in his thoughts. He spent each summer holiday with his brother and family in Achill. You might say he was really close to all the family. We will all remember him especially for his funny phrases. I never got used to his reply to the question – “How are you today Luke?” “Bunched.” I fell into the trap time after time. Another one was when something was dropped, “Get a hammer.” No matter what code was in question if you asked “who won the match?” the answer was always “Rovers.” Finally, if pretending you were the last person he wished to encounter at that moment, “Ah good night.”
His life journey is now complete. He attended well to every detail of it. His reward will be great. As Paul says he has surely run the good race. He was particularly steadfast in the last few months always keeping a calm exterior and being quite at ease with his situation. Like the servant in the gospel he was attentive and alert to the Lord in his illness. In life he attended with exactitude to his Masses and his confessions and now reaps his reward.
He died on the Feast of the Holy Spirit quietly and without fuss. He let go of life and so we too must let go of him . . . to meet with him again in the Lord’s kingdom.
Ar dheis Dei go raibh a anam.