Kind, empathetic, a leader and a servant; a fine human being.
The late Bishop Emeritus Séamus Freeman will be remembered by so many people in a variety of ways.
His 100-minute, “faith-filled farewell” Mass took place at St Mary’s Cathedral in Kilkenny city today (Friday, 26th August), a building he was very used to having served as Bishop of Ossory from 2007 to 2016.
Chief Celebrant Bishop Denis Nulty was joined on the altar by many other Catholic leaders, including Archbishop Dermot Farrell who’d previously been Bishop of Ossory, and also Archbishop Diarmuid Martin.
The body of the Cathedral was filled by Séamus’ “three families” of the Freemans, the Pallottines and those of the Ossory Diocese. Including Fr Brian Griffin who he’d ordained while Bishop, a couple, James and Roseann, who he’d married, as well as a number of young people he’d confirmed.
His quick sense of humour, sweet tooth and the care he’d shown to the sick, dying and bereaved were all mentioned in a solemn service.
Pallottine Rector General Rev Fr Jacob Nanpudakam, who’d travelled from Rome, told mourners that Séamus was a friend, mentor and a man who fought the good fight, and one who’d spoken to him often and fondly of his loved ones.
While many members took part in today’s Mass including Godchild Michael who carried the Baptismal candle, niece Sinéad who spoke of her inspiring uncle and sister Sr Mary who recited a poem.
Brother Pat Freeman told of the home they’d grown up in in Coolaghmore, Callan; of card games played for chocolate bars and how they’d always known of the importance of the family unit to Seamus.
Pat spoke too of the passion Séamus had for sport, in particular hurling, and how he was a firm fan of the black and amber despite having been born over the Tipperary border in Mullinahone.
And he thanked those who helped care for his brother; their sisters Esther and Sr Mary, the Pallottine community and staff of Highfield Healthcare in Dublin where he’d died last weekend.
Chief celebrant Bishop Denis Nulty told mourners that Seamus has found his final resting place alongside his predecessors Laurence Forristal, Peter Birch and Patrick Collier, and close to that of former Nuncio Archbishop Thomas White.
As Bishop Nulty noted it’s “Where he will be forever remembered by those who pass this way”.