A priest has warned those who judge others via social media or engage in paramilitary attacks that only God has the right to hold people to account as he officiated at the funeral of young Derry man Caoimhin Cassidy-Crossan.
Fr. Joseph Gormley was speaking as he delivered the homily during Requiem Mass for the teenager who was found dead in a stolen car in Galliagh in the early hours of Saturday, June 1.
The circumstances surrounding his death are currently under investigation.
Many of Caoimhin’s relatives and friends wore T-shirts emblazoned with the messages ‘Forever Young’ and ‘RIP Toot’ alongside a picture of the young man.
Addressing Caoimhin’s grieving relatives, friends and other mourners gathered at St. Mary’s Church in Creggan on Friday afternoon, Fr Gormley related how the 18-years-old had been diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) at a young age and had recently tried to turn his life around.
“Today as we gather here on this very sad day for our parish, on this very sad day for Caoimhin’s family, we declare that Caoimhin Cassidy-Crossan is, was and always will be God’s Son - God’s kid,” he said.
“He was declared that by no one less than God himself on October 29, 2000, when Christina and Barry brought him to this church to be baptised.
“Life in itself is hard but it becomes even more difficult when we forget that we are God’s Kids. For all who really know Caoimhin Cassidy-Crossan, they know that his young life was hard. To say that, is not to absolve Caoimhin of any personal responsibility. Nor does it take away from the wrongness or the pain those actions caused himself and others. However, it does help all of us, who know that we have been given a better hand in life, to be less quick to rush to condemnation of him because of some of the destructive and wholly wrong actions that Caoimhin engaged in, actions that ultimately cost him his life.
“Those who engaged in such condemnation of him on social media, are forgetting we are God’s children, called ultimately only to give an account for our own actions before God and not for anyone else.”
Fr. Gormley spoke of how Caoimhin was raised in his grandmother, Margaret’s house in Creggan Heights. “He was a really lovable boy and attended Holy Child Primary School. The other day Holy Child School Principal, Mrs Cullen shared this with me as she fought back her tears. Afterwards, he attended Belmont House School.
“His family knew how lovable he was most of all and no matter what he did. He knew how much he was loved by them and how their hearts are broken now.”
Fr. Gormley also praised those who had helped Caoimhin during his short life. He said: “After being diagnosed at an early age with ADHD Caoimhin needed much support from others, many of whom are here today. You know who you are, be it teacher, doctor, solicitor, social worker, youth worker, community worker, police officer, judge, relative or friend. We all say thank you today to you because your efforts were used by God to help Caoimhin to help take responsibility for himself and so realise his dignity as God’s beloved Son.
“Recently Caoimhin was making good progress, and you should take consolation in that, but as we all know from our own behaviours, moving away from our past behaviours is never straightforward. Moving away from anti-social behaviours will never be brought about by the self-indulgence of those who carry out paramilitary style punishment beatings. We pray today that Caoimhin will come with all his burdens to Jesus and find rest in Christ’s loving arms that he is truly God’s Child- God’s kid.”
Interment took place afterwards in the City Cemetery on Friday afternoon.