A Sendoff for a Man of God
By Katie McFadden
It was a funeral fit for a man of God. Monsignor Martin Geraghty has been laid to rest. On Friday, April 14, friends, family and fellow clergy members all gathered at St. Francis de Sales for the funeral Mass for the former SFDS pastor.
The church was packed on Friday morning as all came to pay their final respects to Msgr. Geraghty at the church where he served as a pastor for 18 years, up until 2006. As a man of the people, Msgr. Geraghty made many friends in his career, but Bishop John Dunne was given the honor of eulogizing the late monsignor.
The sun was shining, and the weather couldn’t be more perfect on Friday, as Bishop Dunne was reminded of the beautiful days he joined “Marty” on the golf course. “Around this time on a Friday, usually Marty, together with priest friends, would be teeing it up. And what a day it would be of joy because the weather is beautiful and God is good and gives us on this day of his very own, a beautiful day that is marked truly by our faith and the fact that this good man, this good priest, this good friend, this good person is with God, and that’s a great joy for all of us,” Bishop Dunne said.
Bishop Dunne reflected on the highlights of Msgr. Geraghty’s life and career. He spoke of the churches where he served, including St. Francis and St. Robert Bellarmine, among others. He spoke of Msgr. Geraghty’s time as a teacher at Cathedral College in Douglaston, but also his knack for being a good student. He spoke of Marty as a great athlete, and someone who embraced his Irish culture. He also spoke of his loving family, who was at his side as he passed away peacefully, coincidentally on Easter Sunday, April 9, after a long illness.
“This Sunday, Easter Sunday, after Marty had lingered for a couple of years with his health failing, suddenly things went a little faster, and as Alice and the family were able to be with him, he went with God on Easter Sunday, and isn’t that a particular blessing, when you think about dying and rising, the very moment that Jesus himself rose from the dead—a great sign of God’s love,” Bishop Dunne said.
Most importantly, the bishop spoke of Msgr. Geraghty’s faith, his love of God as a priest for 59 years and his love of people. “Marty was truly a person of deep faith and it was in that deep faith that he was a person of great joy, too, because he knew he was loved by God. He knew it all the time. And it just kept coming for the forefront in the manner of which he took the gifts that God had given to him and used them to the best of his ability as an expression of being close to God, being one who follows the Lord Jesus,” Bishop Dunne said. “He was always about the goodness of people. He loved people. He was filled with a sense of welcome. He had a reverence for every life. In everything that he was about, it was in that sense of being someone from the Lord to others, to bring the Lord to others.
“Marty struck me, all of the time, as someone who loved the priesthood. He would be able to be spoken of as a priest’s priest. He stood out. He loved the word of God,” Bishop Dunne said.
Following the Mass, the casket bearing Msgr. Geraghty was carried out of the church by members of the NYPD, as he had served as Chaplain to the NYPD Emerald Society. As he was led out of the church, bagpipes filled the air as a sea of fellow priests in white robes said their goodbyes and Msgr. Geraghty was brought to his final resting place at St. Peters Cemetery in Staten Island.
Photos provided by St. Francis de Sales Church.