In his homily for World Day of Peace on Wednesday 1 January, Archbishop Eamon Martin, Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland, reflected on the hope that a new year brings, the World Day of Prayer for Peace, the political impasse in Northern Ireland and a new initiative on the Rosary.
Speaking to the congregation in Saint Patrick’s Cathedral in Armagh Archbishop Eamon said, “At the beginning of this new decade it is worth asking ourselves – does my faith in God make a real difference in my life? Does faith challenge me or have I settled for an ‘easy listening’ comfortable way of living which allows me simply to go on the way I am, relaxed in my choices and perhaps even in my prejudices, in my abuse of created things, my sin and my disobedience of God’s laws?”
He added, “If our only New Year’s resolution was to be more authentic as people of faith, and to become courageous witnesses to Christ in the world, then with the help of God’s grace and blessing, we can build together a more just and peaceful world for ourselves and others.”
1 in 10 Rosary
Archbishop Eamon also announced his intention to visit Fatima this year as part of a new prayer initiative on the Rosary. The @1in10Rosary which he will launch next month, aims to encourage at least ten percent of the population of Ireland to pledge to pray the Rosary, or a decade of the Rosary, every day for their personal conversion and the transformation of Ireland.
Archbishop Eamon said, “In July, I will lead a pilgrimage to the Marian Shrine of Fatima to dedicate this campaign to Mary and to pray that we can be, like her, courageous witnesses of faith. As pilgrims in Fatima we will remember in particular the witness of our Christian brothers and sisters who are persecuted in many parts of the world.”
The archbishop went on to highlight how the Rosary has for centuries sustained faith and life in Ireland, and helped countless women and men to discover God’s will in their lives. He said, “It can do so again, enabling us to be courageous witnesses, by pondering every day in our hearts, as Mary did, the deepest mysteries of our faith.”
Building relationships on the island of Ireland
Referring to Brexit, Archbishop Eamon said,“the early years of this decade will be crucial in sustaining peace and rebuilding relationships on the island of Ireland and between us and our neighbours in Britain and Europe.
“Archbishop Richard Clarke and I said recently that our country, north and south, truly needs the rekindling of wholesome relationships – socially and politically, nationally and internationally, and this will require men and women of integrity, generosity and courage to take the initiative in making these crucial relationships work.”
“Just as peace emerges from the depths of the human heart, so also do the answers to the greatest problems facing our country and world in this new decade.”
A Living Christian Faith
Archbishop Eamon went on to reflect on what it means to really live the Christian faith. He said a living Christian faith emboldens us to promote a culture of life, to defend the unborn, to reach out to the homeless, to welcome the stranger, to visit the sick.
He said, “It is only when the hearts and consciences of individuals are moved and troubled by the plight of the suffering and the marginalised, that change begins to happen at a societal and global level. The voice of God, speaking in our hearts, stirs faith and moves us to action. It opens our ears to the ‘cry of the poor’ and the ‘cry of the earth’, calling us to wise stewardship of God’s gifts of creation and personally to a more ‘responsible simplicity of life’. A living Christian Faith inspires us to turn towards God in holiness of life, to seek forgiveness for our sins, and to make personal resolutions for change, not only at the beginning of a New Year, but continually on a lifelong journey of conversion.”
The archbishop concluded his homily and message by inviting the faithful to “begin afresh this New Year your journey of faith – a journey nourished, like Mary’s, by prayer and contemplation on the Word of God and on the mysteries of the life of Christ.”