Archbishop Attends National Day of Commemoration
Archbishop Michael Jackson attended the annual National Day of Commemoration Ceremony in Collins Barracks, Dublin, yesterday (Sunday July 11). The annual event honours all those Irish men and women who died in past wars or on service with the United Nations. The event also marked the 100th anniversary of the truce in the Irish War of Independence between 1919–21.
President Michael D Higgins laid a wreath on behalf of the people of Ireland, after which one minute of silence was observed. The event was held in accordance with Covid–19 public health guidelines and was not open to members of the public.
The event began with an interfaith service during which Archbishop Jackson read a prayer he had written for the day. He said that, on the day when the centenary of the signing of the Truce was commemorated, “we recognize the pain caused by this conflict and by all conflicts and we voice our grateful thanks for the hope of reconciliation brought by peacemakers”.
Joining the President were the Taoiseach, members of the Government; the Council of State; Dáil and Seanad Éireann; Diplomatic Corps; Judiciary and Northern Ireland representatives along with representatives of the next–of–kin of those who died in past wars or on UN service, ex–servicemen’s organisations, as well as relatives of the 1916 Leaders.
Prayer read by the Archbishop:
God Almighty, All Seeing and All Loving,
to you we commit our history, our present and our future yet to unfold;
to you we entrust our interpreting and our understanding of what we have done to one another, to ourselves and to our communities over time.
This we do on the day when we commemorate the centenary of the Signing of The Truce that formally began a process to end the War of Independence in Ireland. In so doing, we recognize the pain caused by this conflict and by all conflicts and we voice our grateful thanks for the hope of reconciliation brought by peacemakers.
Isaiah in his prophecy said: They will beat their swords into ploughshares and their spears into pruning–hooks … (Isaiah 2.4)
Jesus in The Sermon on The Mount said: Blessed are the peacemakers; they shall be called children of God … (St Matthew 5.9)
We remember with gratitude those who make peace, who keep peace and who give peace. We reflect with thanksgiving on those who were courageous enough to listen to peacemakers and to follow their lead.
As we set out on this time of hope in creation, we ask for open hearts and open minds to see the best in our neighbour and to respect our neighbour as our equal in the citizenship we share on earth. Our prayer today is that, in our difference and in our unity, we all together build a society of hope for our generation and for generations yet to come. We pray also that we continue to heed the peacemakers in our midst.
These things we ask in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.