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Clergy seek to reduce road carnage with blessing

By Sean Ryan - 28 March, 2015

Special ceremony to take place at religious services on Easter Sunday throughout County Mayo.

Road blessing - MayoClerics in Mayo will bless roads in the county in a ceremony aimed at reducing the number of people who die in traffic accidents each year.

The prayer campaign comes as Gardaí expressed serious concern over a rise in road deaths in the West over the past two years despite the downward trend nationally.

Single-vehicle crashes involving male drivers in random locations constituted the largest number of fatalities in the region last year.

Overall deaths in the region have risen from a low in 2010.

Speeding in 80km/h and 100km/h zones has been identified as a major factor in fatalities in the West.

A special ‘Blessing of the Roads Ceremony’ will take place in many parishes and at religious services throughout the county on Easter Sunday as part of a campaign backed by both Catholic and Church of Ireland religious leaders.

The ceremony, which will take place at most Catholic churches, while a plea for people to use our road safely will be made at Church of Ireland churches on Easter Sunday in a campaign which is being promoted by the Road Safety Office of Mayo County Council.

Noel Gibbons, Road Safety Officer, told CatholicIreland.net, “The community makes improved road safety a goal in an effort to ensure that the grief associated with loss of life, or serious injury, does not come to them.”

Road-Safety“This is not the first year we have done the Blessing of the Roads Ceremony in Co Mayo and we have get a very enthusiastic response. There are still too many drivers under the impression that an accident won’t happen to them.”

A Garda spokesperson said, “An Garda Síochana appeal to all road users to think ‘Safety’ every time they use the public roads and streets. We urge families to discuss the topic so that parents and guardians assume and accept responsibility to alert their sons and daughters of their obligation to drive within all legal boundaries.”

“In circumstances where parents have supported their child with a means of transport or insurance there should be conditions attached to the use of such vehicle including the legal obligations on young permit holder drivers.”

Speaking to CatholicIreland.net, Tuam Archdiocese spokesperson Fr Fintan Monaghan said, “The church was fully behind the campaign. We all need to play our part to reduce the number of road deaths.”

“The trauma of road crashes to families and communities is devastating. A major focus of the campaign is to promote the issue of driver fatigue, drink-driving and speeding, as well as praying for the safety of not only all road users, but our Gardaí and emergency services.”

Rev Val Rogers of Westport said the trauma of road crashes for families and communities was devastating.

“A major focus of the campaign is to promote the issue of driver fatigue, drink-driving and speeding, as well as praying for the safety of not only all road users, but our Gardaí and emergency services.”

The proposed prayer is a variation on this old Irish blessing: ‘The Motorist Prayer’.

It reads “Lord, Grant me a steady hand, And a watchful eye, That no person may be hurt, When I pass by, Thou gavest life, I pray no act of mine, May take away or mar and That act of Thine. Amen.”

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