BY Ryan McDougall | August 23 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS     print icon print


Hundreds gather at Carfin Grotto to remember the devout example of Joe Wilson

Catholics gathered at Carfin grotto to pray for a devout young man who passed away in 2011 aged 17.

Joe Wilson died in December 2011 from an undiagnosed heart condition. Since his death, his devotion to the Catholic Faith and his consideration for others—having often prayed for people he met in everyday life—has inspired hundreds.

To remember his legacy, around 200 people gathered at Carfin Grotto’s Glass Chapel on Monday August 19. The Grotto was one of Joe’s favourite places to walk and contemplate.

After the many people whose lives he had touched had found a seat, his uncle, Michael Devine, read a quote taken from Joe’s Words, a diary his nephew had kept that detailed his everyday life as a Catholic.

Joe’s Words

“Today, just after I said a litany to the Heart of Jesus, I felt an immense desire to help other people,” Mr Devine read.

Joe’s father, Alan Wilson, then showed those in attendance his son’s Rosary beads.

He said: “Those of you that have got Joe’s Words will recognise his Rosary beads and this is what Joe got at Lisieux, he chose it.

“It’s a beautiful set of Rosary beads and it’s so Joe—it’s very much like his character. As you can see it’s very colourful and just exudes happiness and joyfulness.

“Throughout Joe’s Words you’ll see things like, ‘I prayed a Rosary or said a decade of the Rosary’ about this or about that. These are the beads he had been using at the time.”


At the evening of prayer, retired priest Fr Desmond Broderick spoke of Joe as ‘somebody who must be in a very favourable position in Heaven now’ and a ‘wonderful 17-year-old.’

He told the SCO: “I came to know Joe’s family shortly after he died. They made contact with me because they were so heartbroken.”

Asked if other young people could take inspiration from Joe, he added: “No question about it—they should follow his example because of the depth of his thinking and his life of prayer.

“He’d be coming home and bump into people and hear of their worries, and his natural instinct was to get them to tell him about their problems and he would say a Rosary for them. It’s not the natural reaction for a 17-year-old, but it was so natural for him.

“The fact that so many people of all age groups came along [to the evening] speaks volumes about his personality and his whole being.”

Faith community

Sarah Fallon, a long-term family friend of the Wilson family, said: “He used his Faith to be a good person, doing things like mentoring for younger kids in the school.

“He was really involved with Faith in the community, but it was never in a way that you felt like he was using his Faith to make himself better, he was using his Faith to make you better.

She added: “He was always a welcoming guy and his spirituality came out when he was speaking.

“I think that, nearly seven or eight years later, all these people who show up and want to do this for him is testament to what he was like when he was here.”

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