Digeridoos mix with incense for last Lismore funeral
Paul Morris, an Indigenous high school student, was buried on Saturday at a ceremony incorporating Catholic and Indigenous traditions in the last of four funerals for a group of Lismore young people killed in a tragic car crash.
The Northern Star reports that in a funeral that brought the northern NSW city to a standstill, St Carthage's Cathedral was filled to capacity with Paul Morris' extended family and friends saying one last goodbye.
Maria Bolt, Paul's mum, took a deep breath to steady her shaking body before delivering a tribute to her first-born son.
"My name is Maria but I am always referred to as Paul's mum.
Paul, you were my first child and it is an honour to be your mum," she said.
"With Paul there was never a dull moment.
"He was my mate, my best friend, my protector, my heart and my soul.
"You will always walk beside me and your four brothers and your only sister."
The service was a fusion of Catholic and Aboriginal ceremonies.
It began with a procession of Paul's family and friends carrying a cross, a flag, candles and incense accompanied by didgeridoo and clapsticks.
Family members in the front row, including Maria, his father Paul Morris Senior and stepfather Matthew Callaghan, were blessed with holy water.
Paul's baptism candle was then lit and placed on his casket.
Fr Paul Sullivan, who delivered the homily, commended the strength and courage shown by the grieving teenagers and said the accident had deeply affected even those who had not known the boys.
"Every parent in this community is taking extra care of their children," he said.
A special prayer was directed to Tyler Green, the driver of the car that crashed, to wish him strength and emotional healing.
Family recalls prankster with a big smile and great sense of fun (Northern Star, 30/10/06)
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Catholic diocese, Lismore
31 Oct 2006