Concluding words at Mass for St Patrick’s Day

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St Mary’s Pro Cathedral – March 17th 2016

I am grateful to Father Brian Shorthall for his stimulating homily.  I thank him for his reference to the place of this Pro-Cathedral in the events of 1916.  The priests from this Cathedral provided spiritual support to those in the GPO and with great difficulty and courage attended to the many who were wounded and shot during the uprising, especially in Jervis Street Hospital.  This is probably one of the very few buildings in this area which still stands as it was during Easter Week 1916 and which offered refuge to many who were trapped in the area during the fighting.

The priests of this Church were occupied during the rising but ministered also amid realty of this part of the city, on the other side of O’Connell Street from the GPO, in what was one of the worst slums in all of Europe.  As we reflect on the ideal of an Ireland which dreamt of cherishing all its children equally, we cannot airbrush that sad reality from our picture of Dublin commemorations which existed just a stones throw from the GPO.   And we cannot celebrate 1916 without thinking of the challenges still faced by inner-city communities.