National Family Support Network
ANNUAL SERVICE OF COMMEMORATION AND HOPE
Words of Most Rev. Diarmuid Martin Archbishop of Dublin
Church of Our Lady of Lourdes, Sean McDermott Street, 1 February 2018
“Very few communities in Ireland have had visited on them the levels of brutal violence that this community has witnessed, right up until these days. I am running out of words adequate to express the horror and inhumanity and barbarism of people who have for years exploited the weakest through drug supply, through blackmail and debt, and who feel that they can keep an entire community in their grip through brutal violence. These are people without a conscience, an insult to humanity.
This evening, however, we are together as the other side of this community: women and men of whom this community should be proud. Women and men who have stood up with dignity and courage. Women and men who want a community of which their young people can be proud. We are here with people who have had to mourn and face loss and suffer bereavement, but who were then prepared to help others in their grief. These are the people who show us what social conscience means. We are truly indebted to them for what they do and for what they stand for.
What people in grief need are not words but support and understanding, a helping hand to support them, an arm to cry on, a place where they can share their story. The pain of losing a loved one never goes away. It may ease with time but equally it may well return with a vengeance. You know that better than I do.
There is a prayer in the Catholic liturgy which describes Jesus as the one who “always showed compassion for children and for the poor, for the sick and for sinners, and [who] became a neighbour to the oppressed and the afflicted”
“A neighbour to the oppressed and the afflicted”. It is a beautiful thought. We can easily condemn oppression and affliction and then go safely home. Our society needs more people like those represented here tonight who become neighbors to those who are suffering oppression and violence and grief. We need to foster the old idea of good neighbourliness, as the real basis for community.
This year Dublin will host the World Meeting of Families. It is my hope that on that occasion we will be able to share with visitors from around the world the great sense of caring neighbourliness of the families in this area. They have never given in and never will give in to those who wish to impose death and violence to defend their own interests. Lord watch over our community; watch over our children and young people and help all of us to work together to give our children hope.” ENDS