On Sunday, 1 September, Archbishop Eamon Martin celebrated a bilingual Mass with members of the Polish community in Newry, Co Down, to recall the invasion of Poland which marked the outbreak of the Second World War, exactly 80 years ago, on 1 September 1939.

Addressing the members of the Polish community present, the Archbishop said, “You, the Polish people, have known first hand the horror and demeaning impact of the Second World War. Your people made huge sacrifices. Many of your grandparents and great-grandparents would have endured the forced partition of your country and the massive the displacement of your people, and grieved over the deaths of one-in-five of your citizens during the war.”

Archbishop Eamon, who is Archbishop of Armagh and Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Dromore and Primate of All-Ireland, continued, “In the decades since the war, successive popes have warned about what happens when humanity abandons reference to God and the transcendent moral law – in some cases replacing it with an “intransigent nationalism”. Each year, on the 1st January, the Holy Father leads the world in praying for peace and for those who commit their lives to peace building and reconciliation. The Church also consistently highlights the fundamental right to life and speaks out against all attacks on innocent human life – including from abortion and euthanasia. Sins and crimes against human dignity are more likely to occur when we lack humility, believing instead that we don’t need God, we can be “self-sufficient”; boasting that we have the science and technology to redesign everything to suit us – even life itself; some power groups appear to think they can take the place of God, being masters of history and even of human nature itself.”

Archbishop Eamon thanked the Polish community for their valued contribution to Ireland – north and south – in recent decades. He also payed tribute to the Polish priests who have come to minister and provide pastoral care to Polish communities in Ireland.

For the full homily of Archbishop Eamon Martin here.

ENDS