A remembrance Mass in honor of tragic honeymooner Michaela Harte, the murdered daughter of the Tyrone senior football manager Mickey Harte, took place at St. Barnabas church in the Bronx last Friday evening.
Organized by the Tyrone football club based in New York, around 300 mourners filed into the church to express their condolences to the Harte family and friends.
As a mark of respect, members of the Tyrone GAA club decided to organize the Mass.
The congregation was made up of people from Tyrone, many of whom would have known Mickey Harte personally, as well as others from around Ireland who are now living in New York.
Celebrating the Mass, Monsignor Edward M. Barry decided to walk down and stand among the congregation to deliver his homily. He spoke about Michaela’s own deep faith.
Speaking to the Irish Voice, Barry described Michaela’s death as “senseless” and “evil.”
“I cannot imagine the sorrow and pain that the family must be going through,” he said.
He added that there was “certainly a great sorrow and appreciation for her life, as well as a great bond of solidarity” among the parishioners assembled.
“One of the things I have to say about the Irish is that they really turn out when people are in need, be it in physical or spiritual need,” he said.
“The Irish understand the difficulty that immigration presents, so far from home… the Irish ranks tighten more closely,” he added.
A somber atmosphere pervaded the church, and after the Mass the crowd gathered to sign a book of condolences for the Harte family.
After the ceremony Moriarty’s Bar and Restaurant in Yonkers provided food and refreshments.
Seamus, the proprietor of Moriarty’s, spoke about how the tragedy really hit home with so many Irish living in New York. Originally from Cavan, he has been involved in the GAA for almost three decades, and knows Mickey Harte personally.
“It touched everyone’s heart. In recent years the Tyrone team have been so successful with Mickey Harte being the team’s manager. We all feel for the Harte family at this particular time,” he told the Irish Voice.
“It was heartwarming to see people who were there from all over Ireland. The GAA are one big family. When a tragedy like this happens it brings out the best in us. I was glad to see that sign of support.
“There is a great sense of community feeling here in Woodlawn and Yonkers and it was great to see how quickly people came together.
“Everyone can relate to a sad situation such as this. It’s really heartbreaking,” he said.
Michaela Harte was found dead in her hotel room at the Legends Resort in Mauritius on Monday, January 10, just 11 days after her wedding to Down footballer John McAreavey.
They were celebrating their honeymoon at the luxury resort when the school teacher was murdered. After eating lunch with her husband, she had returned to her bedroom to get some biscuits to enjoy with her tea, when she disturbed a burglary.
Three men, who were employees of the hotel, have been charged with the Tyrone woman’s murder.