Piotr Latek’s heartbroken wife, Joanna, and his father, Stanislaus, were among a congregation of about 250 people, the vast majority of whom are Polish, at a special Mass in the Holy Cross Church in Kenmare.
Piotr’s body was found by naval divers last Wednesday three days after he and his son, Mattheus, 13, were swept off Cod’s Head while fishing.
Speaking during the homily yesterday, Polish priest, Fr Trofil OFM, said Joanna had asked for prayers that Mattheus’s body would be found.
“Finding Mattheus is very important for her,” Fr Trofil said.
“She has also asked me to thank both the Polish and Irish people for all the help they have given to the family in what has been a terrible week.”
Fr Trofil said God does not take people without a reason and both Piotr and Mattheus are now happy in Heaven.
“It’s the people who are left that are suffering now, but the tragedy should make us think about and review our own lives,” he said.
“There should be lessons for us in the tragedy. Nobody knows when they are going to be called.
“What has happened should make us look at what is really important, to ask ourselves if we’re only thinking about work and money and maybe neglecting our families and toresolve any conflicts that we might have with otherpeople.”
As Mass was being celebrated, the coastguard was continuing its search for Mattheus’s body.
Martin Sullivan, the officer in charge of the Castletownbere Coastguard unit, said the next 48 hours will be crucial.
Search efforts will be stepped up on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week in particular in an effort to try and bring closure to the family.
“This is an absolute tragedy and anyone who has children has been moved by it,” Mr Sullivan said.
“I know the naval divers have felt it too and they would love to get a result here for the family’s sake.”
Mr Latek’s body was found in a channel of water about 100 metres from where it is thought the father and son entered the sea.
Naval divers conducted an exhaustive search of the surrounding area but have so far failed to find the boy’s body.
Over the weekend, a team of eight divers using local knowledge of tides and currents, made almost a dozen dives looking for items of clothing and other personal effects but found nothing. The dives will resume this morning.
Up to 30 people were involved in the search along treacherous coastline yesterday.
The crews of the Castletownbere Coastguard boat and the Derrynane Inshore rescue boat were battling heavy swells to search the shoreline of Ballydonegan Bay.
Coastal search units were braving gusty conditions along cliffs between Allihies and Cod’s Head.
Around €6,500 has already been contributed to a fund opened in Kenmare to assist the Latek family with funeral costs.
Donations to the fund can be made to Bank of Ireland, Kenmare, account number 28414889, sort code 90 57 31.