By Sarah Mac Donald - 24 October, 2015
Bishop Liam MacDaid of Clogher has asked for prayers for the 43 people killed and 8 injured on Thursday in a tragic road traffic accident near the village of Puisseguin in south-west France.
Separately, the head of the Catholic Church in Ireland, Archbishop Eamon Martin said he was “Very sad to hear about road tragedy in France.”
He said he was keeping in prayer the families of the dead and injured. “Our Lady of Lourdes, pray for them,” he prayed.
The bus was carrying about 50 pensioners to a region south of their homes in the village of Petit Palais.
The crash occurred just minutes after the pensioners had boarded the bus.
Though the driver of the lorry was killed in the crash, along with his three-year-old son, the driver of the bus survived and related to emergency services that the truck apparently veered onto the wrong side of the road as it came around a bend.
Ahead of the bank holiday in the Republic, Bishop Liam MacDaid has asked all road users: motorists, cyclists and pedestrians, to take special care of themselves and their loved ones.
“Road accidents can have so many contributory factors – speed, alcohol, drugs, high jinks in the car, use of mobile phones, texting while driving, not wearing a seatbelt, natural tiredness.”
“Up to 22 October, the recorded 2015 road fatality figures stood at 127 for the Republic, and 58 for the North. This loss of human life is heart-breaking for the loved ones of the deceased and a tragedy for our society as a whole,” the bishop said.
He appealed to all road users to exercise particular vigilance in terms of safety and to be responsible on the roads over the coming days of the bank holiday weekend.
“Care for one another in our community is a basic human value which travels across different faiths and cultures. This duty of care also applies to our road use and it is fundamental to the common good of all in society,” the bishop of Clogher said.
“Prayer and reflection can change our driving behaviour, calm our aggression, remind us of the spiritual, moral and physical importance of what we are about to do.”
He recommended the following dedicated prayer for motorists which may be recited before driving:
Prayer for motorists before driving:
Holy Mother, hear our prayer,
Keep us in your loving care,
Whatever the perils of the way,
Let us not add to them this day.
So to our caution and attention,
We add a prayer for your protection,
To beg God’s blessing on this car,
To travel safely near and far.