Constable Ronan Kerr, protector and peace-builder

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Constable Ronan Kerr loved life, he loved others, and that is the legacy he has left us. Not to hate but to love, writes Fr John Skinnader in the Independent Catholic News.

I saw Ronan only two weeks before he was killed by a car bomb on April 9 in Omagh, County Tyrone, at the age of 25. I had just finished giving my talk to the young couples who had gathered for marriage preparation course in the Manor House, Enniskillen, when I went outside to go home. As I was walking towards my car, I saw a police car slowing coming towards me.

I thought to myself: "what have you done now, John?" when the window rolled down and a voice from behind the wheel shouted out to me: "How are you, Fr John?"

I looked into the car and said "Ronan - tis yourself", and nearly knocked the head of the big English cop sitting in the passenger seat as I thrust over my hand to shake Ronan's hand. I had not met him in months.

"How do you like Enniskillen, Fr John?"

I said: "Ronan, you can drop the titles? It wasn't that long ago that you and your brothers, Caithair and Aaron, used to pick out of me and shout Fr Ted or Fr Jack!!!"

I chatted with him online shortly after, and now he has gone. It's not easy for me to deal with and how much more for his wife, Nuala and the children, aunts and uncles and grandparents.

Ronan loved life. From an early age when he was in the cot of at the bottom of the bed where Cathair slept, he would get his brother to pull him out of the cot in the morning so that both of them could begin a day of high mischief.

Ronan loved life - his friends, his family, and he loved his new career. Seeing him sitting behind the wheel of the police car last weekend, he looked like the symbol of the new Northern Ireland: a young man living out his childhood dream to be of service to others.

He wanted to help protect, to make life safer for others, to be a peace-builder in communities and between communities.

- Father John Skinnader

FULL TEXT - Homily of Fr John Skinnader at funeral of Constable Ronan Kerr (Independent Catholic News)

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