Fr Noel Kirwan, of St John's Cathedral
PRAYERS have been offered in Limerick for the family of Jason Corbett, “whose hearts are being ripped through” as they anxiously await a verdict in his murder trial.
As the jury began deliberations last night, at the same time, some 5,600 km away, hundreds of people attended a special Mass to coincide with the second anniversary of the passing of the Janesboro native, on August 2, 2015, in St John's Cathedral.
In Davidson County, North Carolina, his wider family were watching the poignant and moving occasion online, which was organised by the Limerick Unity Gospel Choir.
Fr Noel Kirwan, who recently presided over the First Holy Communion of Mr Corbett’s daughter Sarah, welcomed his parents John, 81, and Rita, 78, and brother Wayne, and vowed that their legions of supporters “would carry them in their hearts in these coming days.”
“We know their hearts are being ripped through. We know this has been painful for them. We know that this has brought darkness upon them, and that they have cried out to God, asking ‘Will this ever end?’
“These last few months and last few years have been particularly difficult for them. All that pain has been churned up within them, and we pray that this storm will pass as the trial comes to a conclusion,” said Fr Kirwan.
Hundreds of people now attending special Mass in memory of Jason Corbett - huge display of solidarity from Limerick with family in US pic.twitter.com/d0H62QaPl6— Anne Sheridan (@annesheridan1) August 8, 2017
Readings from the altar from the Book of Lamentations spoke of people’s distress, pain and hurt, but people have a store of faith and strength that sometimes they never knew existed, he said.
“Out of the darkness, and out in the light, they begin to see a way forward.
“We can bring our tears with their tears and allow them be become tears of hope. We ask you to console them in their time of sadness, and that we may recover our hope.”
Mr Corbett’s sister, Tracey Lynch, who is in the US for the trial, alongside her husband David, wished to extend “a heartfelt thank you to the people of Limerick for attending Mass this evening [Tuesday] in support of our family.
“It was a moving ceremony. The music was simply beautiful. We are humbled by your love and kindness. Here’s to all the people that walked silently into our lives and left us with an unforgettable gift of comfort, solace and friendship. Thank you all for your prayers,” said Ms Lynch.
At such a difficult time, she said, “it soothes the soul to hear all your amazing voices.”
A photograph of the memorial unveiled last week at Mr Corbett's workplace in the US, adorned with an Irish flag, was placed on the altar.
Speaking outside the Cathedral, mother Rita said they are praying for their “nightmare” to end; a nightmare, she said, no one could understand unless they’ve lost children of their own.
They will never be able to move on from the death of her “lovely, gentle son”, the youngest twin, and await for justice to be served, and see their family return home from North Carolina, where they have spent the past five weeks.
The 25-member strong choir sang Love Shine A Light, The Storm Is Passing Over, Let It Be, before ending with Something Inside So Strong.
The congregation stood for a last round of applause.
The choir had wanted to sing his favourite song, Gareth Brooks’ The Dance, but hope to sing it on another occasion befitting his memory.
As the jury retired on Tuesday night, brother John Corbett said: “We have waited two years for justice for Jason, my beloved gentle kid brother; we can wait a little longer.”
Mr Corbett, 39, a father of two young children, died from severe head injuries, after he was struck a number of times with an aluminium baseball bat and a garden paving slab.
His second wife, Molly Martens Corbett, 33, and her father, a retired FBI agent Thomas Martens, 67, are both on trial in Lexington, North Carolina, charged with second-degree murder.
Fine Gael Senator Kieran O'Donnell, who helped the family in their early hours of need, particularly in assisting Mr Corbett's children Jack and Sarah to be brought home to Limerick was among those in attendance.
- The jury of nine women and three men will return for deliberations at 2.30pm, Irish time, this Wednesday. Further updates from Limerick Leader throughout the day