By Jim Gray
MULLINABREENA, Co. Sligo — An overflowing congregation at an emotional funeral Mass for Twin Towers victim Kieran Gorman at his Sacred Heart Church in Mullinabreena was told the recovery of his remains was an answer to his family’s prayers.
John Gorman, the victim’s brother, said Thursday that the family was relieved that “Kieran is home where he belongs” and that they would now have a place at which to grieve.
John, his brother Michael and Kieran’s wife, Anne, traveled to the U.S, on Saturday, March 23, to bring home the remains, which were recovered from the
Ground Zero site the previous Tuesday.
Gorman, who was 35, was a construction worker for Structuretone. He was working near the top of the South Tower when a hijacked jetliner crashed into the building on the morning of Sept. 11. He and three other members of Local 79 New York City Laborers union died in the attack.
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Thursday morning’s funeral Mass, celebrated by Parish priest Fr. Thomas Johnston, was attended by representatives of President Mary McAleese and Taoiseach Bertie Ahern.
Gorman’s coffin was draped in the Sligo GAA jersey he had worn with pride as a goalkeeper in the 1980s, and many leading figures from the GAA at the local and provincial levels were among the congregation.
Members of the local GAA club formed a Guard of Honor and carried the coffin on some of the mile-long journey from the church to the Court Abbey cemetery.
The chief mourners were Gorman’s widow, his mother, Anne; his brothers, Eamon, Michael and John, and his sister, Ann-Marie. None of his three young sons, Barry, Gavin and Kieran Jr., who was born last November, were present.
“Our prayers have been answered,” John Gorman said. “The one wish we have had since Sept. 11, other than that he might be found alive, was that we would have a body.
“We have mixed emotions this morning. We’re sad but relieved that we have Kieran home with us, and that we will have somewhere to visit and to grieve in the weeks, months and years ahead.
“Our hope now is that other families in the same situation will get some news of their loved ones.”
In a moving homily, Fr. Johnston pointed out that it was 196 days since the Sept. 11th disaster. These were difficult days for the Gorman family, days when they knew hope and doubt and anger, days that found faith and prayer a comfort and other days that yielded to anger, despair and a feeling of hopelessness.
“As we gather around his coffin, we mourn not so much the victim of Sept. 11 whose name and photograph has flashed across our TV screens and found space on our newspapers, but the gentle big man that he was, a loving husband, a caring father, a beloved son, a special brother, a good friend — Kieran Gorman, a private man, a family man, a Sligo man, a Mullinabreena man”, Fr. Johnston said.
(Jim Gray writes for the Sligo Champion newspaper.)