Bishop Fintan Monahan, Bishop of Killaloe, has urged all road users to take extra care ahead of this August bank holiday weekend.
This Saturday 4 August, following 6.30pm Mass in the Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul in Ennis, Co Clare, Bishop Monahan will lead a ‘Blessing of the Roads’ ceremony and offer prayers for the safety of all road users.
Speaking ahead of the weekend, Bishop Monahan said, “I firmly believe that prayer and reflection can change our driving behaviour, calm our aggression, remind us of the spiritual, moral and physical importance of what we are about to do.’
Bishop Monahan’s comments come as Garda statistics show 87 people have died on the roads up to 31 July. Data released this week also shows that over 60,000 motorists have been caught speeding in the first six months of 2018 while over 5,000 motorists drove while intoxicated.
He continued, ‘Bank holiday weekends are high risk times on our roads. These statistics show how important it is to make driver safety, and the safety of others on our roads, a priority at all times. Road deaths are preventable but care, attention and vigilance must always be at the forefront of the minds of road users – motorists, motorcyclists, cyclists and pedestrians – if this is to happen.
‘It is always a heartbreak and a tragedy to hear of another life lost on our roads. We must be conscious that each of us has a responsibility when we get behind the wheel to ensure we are not putting our lives or the lives of others at risk.’
Bishop Monahan added, ‘In this special month, ahead of the 9th World Meeting of Families and the visit of Pope Francis, I am inviting parishioners to pray for families who have lost loved ones as it is the family who must carry the burden in such tragic circumstances.’
Bishop Monahan recommends the following dedicated prayers for motorists which can be said before driving:
17th century paidir as Gaeilge
In ainm an Athar le bua,
In ainm an Mhic a d’fhulaing an phian,
In ainm an Spiorad Naoimh le neart,
Muire is a Mac linn inár dtriall. Áiméan!
A contemporary prayer in the English language
Holy Mother, hear our prayer,
Keep us in your loving care,
Whatever the perils of the way,
Let us not add to them this day.
So to our caution and attention,
We add a prayer for your protection,
To beg God’s blessing on this car,
To travel safely near and far.