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20.07.2021

Archbishop Joins Irish Muslims in Celebrating Eid Al Adha

Archbishop Joins Irish Muslims in Celebrating Eid Al Adha
Archbishop Michael Jackson addressing Eid Al–Hada in Croke Park. (Photo from RTE)

Five hundred members of Ireland’s Muslim community gathered in Croke Park this morning (Tuesday July 20) to celebrate Eid al–Adha. Eid Prayers were led by Shaykh Dr Umar Al–Qadri of the Irish Muslim Peace and Integration Council and Blanchardstown Mosque.

Archbishop Michael Jackson represented the Church of Ireland and joined other Abrahamic faith leaders, Archbishop Dermot Farrell and Rabbi Zalman Lent. The gathering was also addressed by representatives of the Government and Opposition as well as a representative of the Traveller community and the President of the GAA.

Addressing the gathering on the theme of togetherness, Archbishop Jackson noted that since the arrival of the coronavirus religious communities had found new ways of gathering and praying together.

“We have dug deep into our religious and spiritual traditions for wisdom and for perspectives we had never thought that we needed before. But, as everything moved forwards, we instinctively began to think that this is all now about yesterday – but it is today; and it is also tomorrow. As children of God and as children of the world, we have learned something profound and enduring: being together in the solidarity of silence and being together in the deafening silence of absence. Living as we do in a world of 24/7 noise, this is something new. Such being and such being together are strengthened and sustained by prayer,” he said.

He added that it was now time to explore new opportunities created from the strengths have found during the pandemic. These opportunities must be explored by people of faith, people involved in Inter Faith encounter, society and politicians.

The Archbishop said that the gathering was a gift. “Today’s gathering is, in itself, a gift: as a gathering, as a generosity and as a gratitude from us to our hosts and friends who celebrate Eid in Croke Park. There is no underestimating the togetherness expressed in being in such an iconic venue in the living history of Irish society and Irish culture. There is only one Croke Park,” he commented.

The full text of Archbishop Jackson’s address is below.

You can watch Eid in Croke Park here.

SHORT REFELCTION FOR EID IN CROKE PARK 2021: togetherness

20.07.2021

Archbishop Michael Jackson

From the first days of the arrival of the coronavirus in Ireland, we, like every other community worldwide, needed to begin thinking on our feet. We were given various easy–to–remember phrases, one of which was an invitation that ran like this:

 … keeping together by staying apart….

As well as being an invitation, it was also a conundrum. How do you do these two seemingly contradictory things at the same time? It was, of course, a way to teach us the equally essential skill of social distancing, itself another conundrum. None of this has gone away, nor will it any time soon.

Taking this into the religious sphere, we have found new ways of gathering together, praying together. We have dug deep into our religious and spiritual traditions for wisdom and for perspectives we had never thought that we needed before. But, as everything moved forwards, we instinctively began to think that this is all now about yesterday – but it is today; and it is also tomorrow. As children of God and as children of the world, we have learned something profound and enduring: being together in the solidarity of silence and being together in the deafening silence of absence. Living as we do in a world of 24/7 noise, this is something new. Such being and such being together are strengthened and sustained by prayer.

What are the new energies? What are the new opportunities? How might we take the strengths that we have found and developed in apartness to build them up and to build them together as a new building – together? And: What might their foundations be? These are urgent questions for us as exponents of our own Faith and as exponents of Inter Faith encounter and engagement. These are also urgent questions for our society and for our politicians, if indeed they can see their importance.

Today’s gathering is, in itself, a gift: as a gathering, as a generosity and as a gratitude from us to our hosts and friends who celebrate Eid in Croke Park. There is no underestimating the togetherness expressed in being in such an iconic venue in the living history of Irish society and Irish culture. There is only one Croke Park.

I offer you a short passage of Scripture set for all the bishops of The Anglican Communion to study at The Lambeth Conference that is still expected to happen in the summer of 2022, The First Letter of Peter 2.4–5. It is, of course, specifically Christian. I offer it in humility and in a spirit of sharing which recognizes our differences and distinctions as we go about our search for togetherness with respect for each other’s tradition, while also respecting our own. 1 Peter 2.4–5 speaks of an invitation to journey; of a building project of humanity in collaboration with divinity; it is based in rejection – the state of being in which vast numbers of people who are like you and me live with no prospect of dignity or love across the world which once seemed so close and now seems so apart. Such is that other conundrum: globalization.

With all of its particularites, this passage nonetheless gives each and all of us food for thought, running water to drink, in these days where togetherness is as precious a commodity as is life itself. It runs as follows:

So come to him, to the living stone which was rejected by men and women but chosen by God and of great worth to him. You also, as living stones, must be built up into a spiritual temple, and form a holy priesthood to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

Togetherness is the spiritual sacrifice of each one of us – a gift and a treasure.

To everyone gathered here and to everyone gathered at home I say: Eid Mubarak.

 

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