The Spring General Meeting of the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference concluded today in Columba Centre, Maynooth, Co Kildare. Bishops discussed the centenary of the 1916 Rising as part of their meeting and called it a watershed moment:
“The centenary of the Easter Rising marks the watershed moment of our political history.This pivotal anniversary provides an opportunity for us to deepen our understanding of who we are as a people and to affirm our hope for lasting peace and justice. We will be able to reflect on where we are as a society and on what we want to achieve for the future. People of faith will shape their understanding of this transformative event in the context of Christian values such as love of neighbour, respect for life, reconciliation, hope and healing.”
On 3 April at 11:00am Archbishop Diarmuid Martin will participate in an inter-faith prayer service in Glasnevin Cemetery, Dublin, commemorating all those who died in the events of Easter week 1916. This service will focus on the Easter Rising (24 to 29 April 1916), and the executions that followed in May and August of that year. The prayer service will take place alongside marble plinths bearing the names of those who died, including children, rebels, civilians, soldiers and policemen. An Taoiseach will attend and leaders of several Christian Churches and the Jewish and Muslim faiths from all parts of the island, will participate. There will be particular inputs from young people from each faith tradition. Music from the ceremony will be from the Army Band and the event will be broadcast live on RTÉ One television.
Archbishop Eamon Martin will be principal celebrant and Archbishop Diarmuid Martin will preside and preach the homily at the Annual 1916 Mass of Remembrance in the Church of the Sacred Heart – the church of the Defence Forces – in Arbour Hill, Dublin on Sunday 24 April, exactly one hundred years since the day of the Rising in 1916. President Michael D Higgins will attend the Mass as will members of the government and the judiciary as well as relatives of those executed following the Rising. The Mass will be broadcast live by RTÉ from 10.00am. Following the Mass an inter-faith prayer service will take place in Glasnevin Cemetery. The adjacent military cemetery is the resting place for fourteen of the executed leaders of the Rising including Pádraig Pearse, James Connolly and Major John McBride.
Bishops also commended a new publication from Veritas which profiles the faith of the 1916 leaders. The End of All Things Earthly is a series of essays, edited by David Bracken, diocesan archivist in the Diocese of Limerick, which gives a valuable insight into the personal stories of faith which accompanied the 1916 leaders.
To read the full statement from this year’s Spring General Meeting please see www.catholicbishops.ie.