During his Homily, the Bishop of Ossory said, “Two fundamental duties are being observed by us this morning. First, the annual commemoration at Arbour Hill is the longest-running State ceremony to commemorate the Easter Rising. Second, we do so, as has always been important to the 1916 families, in the context of the celebration of the Eucharist, that great act of thanksgiving to God.
“The Rising as we know was mainly confined to Dublin, where the ‘Irish Republic … as a Sovereign Independent State’ was proclaimed. And as the historian Joe Lee has observed: at the time … ‘It proved a militarily gallant but hopeless enterprise in the face of the superior [crown] force’, which left over 400 dead and about 3000 wounded.”
Bishop Coll continued, “Fittingly, as I talk directly to the relatives here present, we find ourselves gathered around the altar of the Lord this morning praying for the repose of the souls of your relatives, your antecedents. Volunteers who included in their ranks a mixture of poets, playwrights, socialists, educationalists, mystics and revolutionaries (with some a blend of all of these) and so many more, men and women, young and old.”
In conclusion, Bishop Coll said, “Historians debate the details of the Rising, its timing and aims. A balanced appraisal seems to indicate that it ought not be reduced, as sometimes can be the case, to an assertion of an unwavering devotion to a doctrine of blood sacrifice.
“But the actions of these revolutionaries were certainly rooted in a sense of ‘a higher cause’ which would require the selfless sacrifice of their own lives in the cause of Irish freedom. Surely, the words of today’s gospel would have touched many of their hearts and stirred their consciences: ‘unless a wheat grain falls on the ground and dies, it remains a single grain; but if it dies, it yields a rich harvest’.”
To read this homily in full, click here.