Archbishop Eamon Martin, Archbishop of Armagh, was the principal celebrant and homilist at a Mass in Knock Shrine today as part of the All Ireland Rosary Relay.
In his homily Archbishop Eamon suggested three special intentions for today’s prayer at Knock, which are: for Peace, for Family and for Life.
For Peace: “We are constantly reminded how fragile is world peace. This year we are recalling the horrendous loss of life one hundred years ago during World War One. But in many parts of the modern world, tens of thousands of people are still being killed, maimed or displaced because of the violence of war and terrorism. In turning to Mary’s Immaculate Heart, we ask her help to conquer the menace of evil and hatred which can so easily take root in the hearts of people today. Instead may the Sacred Heart of Jesus inspire peacemakers to melt the hearts of stone which prolong conflict across the world.”
For Family: “As Ireland prepares to host the World Meeting of Families in Dublin in 2018, we place all families under the care of the Hearts of Jesus and Mary. Today in Knock we honour the great Servant of God, Father Patrick Peyton, who devoted his priestly life to strengthening the families of the world through prayer, especially the Rosary. May God continue to bless the members of our own families. May the motherly love and compassion of Mary find a home with us. May the merciful Heart of Jesus guide those families which are struggling because of bereavement, misunderstanding, or a breakdown in relationships.”
For Life: “I like to contemplate the moment when the Hearts of Jesus and Mary beat most closely together – while Mary carried Jesus in her womb. We must listen for the heartbeats of both mothers and their unborn children in today’s world. Two lives; two hearts, beating. Sadly there are those who question Ireland’s constitutional commitment to the equal life and dignity of a mother and the unborn child. May we never forget that the defenceless unborn child is a real, human person, worthy of love and protection. Equally, may we never fail to have a heart for those mothers – and indeed fathers – who sometimes feel in crisis following the conception of their child.”
Archbishop Eamon went on to say that: “In the Ireland of 2016 it takes real strength of character to hold to the fundamental right to life of both a mother and her unborn baby, and especially so in the face of pressure from those who wish to radically redefine Ireland’s social agenda in the name of “progression” and “personal choice” above all else. But at what cost? How could anyone in the name of compassion or choice remove the right to life of an innocent unborn child?
“We join our prayers with the thousands who are gathering in Dublin this afternoon to celebrate the equality of life that is enshrined in the eighth amendment.”
Archbishop Eamon concluded by announcing his desire for a rekindling of the First Friday and First Saturday devotions. He said: “In the coming months I shall be inviting people to join me in rekindling the First Friday and First Saturday devotions for the intentions of Peace, Family and Life. Each month: to go to Confession, to receive Holy Communion and to make a personal act of sacrifice or reparation – this provides a sound foundation for personal spiritual renewal. To do so for Peace, for Family and for Life recognises three essential components for the Common Good. To unite these spiritual acts with the Immaculate Heart of Mary draws upon her care and concern for each of us and for the whole world. To place all our needs and intentions before the Sacred Heart of Jesus is to draw from the inexhaustible well that is God’s love and mercy.”