By Cian Molloy - 05 May, 2019
"We all share a responsibility to protect human life on our road."
In what is becoming a regular Bank Holiday tradition, Bishop Fintan Monahan held a “blessing of the roads” ceremony at the 6.30pm Mass yesterday evening in Ennis Cathedral.
Bishop Monahan has been organising such ceremonies since 2016, when he became Bishop of Killaloe.
Although there were fewer serious road accidents in 2018 than in 2017, with the total number of traffic fatalities down from 156 to 146, Bishop Monahan urged drivers and other road users to maintain high levels of care.
“We all share a responsibility to protect human life on our roads. Up to this morning there have been 55 road fatalities in the Republic of Ireland and 19 in Northern Ireland [this year],” he said on Friday.
“This loss of human life is a tragedy for our society and is particularly devastating for the families and loved ones of those involved. I invite parishes across the diocese to pray for those who have lost their lives in tragic circumstances so far this year, and also to pray for the safety of our road users.”
Workplace studies show that where a safety culture is explicitly promoted, people suffer fewer serious occupational injuries, according to the Health and Safety Authority. This indicates that explicitly thinking and reflecting about road safety should lead to people behaving more responsibly when they are driving. To this end, Bishop Monahan recommends two prayers to help people change their driving behaviour, and to stay safe on roads, especially this Bank Holiday weekend.
One of the prayers is in Irish and dates back to the 17th century, long before the era of the “horseless carriage”; the other prayer is in English and is contemporary.
The two prayers are:
In ainm an Athar le bua,
In ainm an Mhic a d’fhulaing an phian,
In ainm an Spiorad Naoimh le neart,
Muire is a Mac linn inár dtriall. Áiméan!
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.