With three co-celebrant priests, including Fr. Francis Kelly (previously known to many as fiddler Joe Kelly from Dumont, N.J.), Msgr. Charlie Coen said the September 16 funeral Mass for Mike Rafferty inside Corpus Christi Church in Hasbrouck Heights, N.J. Musicians filled the choir loft and dotted the pews below. They included Willie Kelly, Billy McComiskey, Brian Conway, Jerry O’Sullivan, John Whelan, Felix and Brendan Dolan, Seamus Connolly, Mattie and Deirdre Connolly, Martin Mulhaire, Rose Conway Flanagan, Margie Mulvihill, John Reynolds, Laura Byrne, Myron Bretholz, Mick Moloney, Don Meade, Tina Lech, Dana Lyn, Donna Long, Dan Gurney, Dylan Foley, Gabriel Donahue, Brian Holleran, John Nolan, and Larry Reynolds.
Mary Rafferty Clancy, Mike’s daughter and former member of Cherish the Ladies, played a button accordion solo on the altar that was tender, expressive, and unhurried, qualities that would have made her father beam in appreciation. It was all she could do to hold back the tears. Everyone there felt the same way.
Msgr. Coen gave two homilies: one at the pulpit, where he described Mike Rafferty the man, and one at the right side of the altar, where he described Mike Rafferty the musician. A gifted musician himself, Coen hit all the right notes in his remarks
A music-filled farewell to Mike Rafferty