Murder of Karol has left ‘dark cloud’ over Derry

The funeral of Karol Kelly leaves his home on Beechwood Avenue on its way to St. Mary's Church, Creggan, on Sunday afternoon. DER1118-126KM
The funeral of Karol Kelly leaves his home on Beechwood Avenue on its way to St. Mary's Church, Creggan, on Sunday afternoon. DER1118-126KM

The killing of Karol Kelly was a “merciless act” which has left a “dark cloud” over Derry, mourners at his funeral were told.

Hundreds gathered in St. Mary’s Church in Creggan on Sunday for Requiem Mass for the 35 years old, a week on from his murder.

The late Karol Kelly.

The late Karol Kelly.

Karol Kelly died following an incident in the early hours of Sunday, March 4 in the Grafton Street area of Rosemount.

In his Homily, Fr Joe Gormley said that the tragic events had resulted in Karol’s mother Philomena, and her husband Francis, having to bury their son on Mother’s Day.

Fr. Gormley related how last September he had travelled on a pilgrimage with Karol’s parents to Poland to visit the Divine Mercy Shrine in Krakow.

He said the message of Divine Mercy had kept the people of Krakow’s hope alive during the darkest days of Nazism and communism during the 20th Century.

He said: “Last Sunday morning a dark cloud descended on our city as news broke of Karol’s merciless murder; news that could easily have sent us all into despair.

“On Monday when I visited Francis and Philomena, Philomena said to me, ‘Now I know why we went to Poland!’ It was a moment in which it seemed that the Holy Spirit spoke through her in the midst of her shock and anguish. It was a reminder that the merciless murder of Karol would not put out the message of God’s mercy. Nevertheless, an act of man’s inhumanity to man brought a deep darkness into the lives of Karol’s children, Kerri, Lucy, Cormac, Abigail and Jax.

“This merciless act has left, on this mother’s day, a mother Philomena with her husband Francis, burying their son. Francesca, Emma Louise and Paul are burying their brother.

“The exact circumstances are still under police investigation but merciless events like this are inevitable when we fail to listen to the message of Christ’s love and mercy for all.”

Fr Gormley said that Karol was born on the same day as Karol Wojtila, who became the first Polish Pope, John Paul II, adding that the Derry man “was graced with the love of his parents and family.”

He was described as someone who had a special connection to each of his siblings and was “a sensitive soul,” who supported his sister’s missions to save animals and worked on fitness coaching with his brother.

“At the centre of his life are his children,” Fr Gormley said. “He doted on them and was protective of them. He so much would want them to be spared the anguish that his merciless death has visited upon them. In their pain and confusion they will need to experience the mercy and love of God through us. Karol would not want them to grow up in a merciless world.

“How do we ensure that? By recognising our own need for Mercy.

“When we recognise that we need Christ’s mercy we come into to the light of Christ and acknowledge our sins.”