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Irish-born bishop leads JFK50 invocation in Dallas

By Sarah Mac Donald - 23 November, 2013

An Irish-born bishop delivered the invocation at the JFK 50th anniversary commemoration at Dealey Plaza in Dallas on Friday. 
Bishop Kevin J. Farrell, who is Bishop of the Diocese of Dallas, recalled in his invocation “the years when we as citizens of this city suffered and were implicated by the gun shot by one man.”
In his invocation honouring President Kennedy, the Dublin-born prelate prayed, “Almighty and ever faithful God, we lift up our minds and hearts to you today because you, Lord, have lifted us up from the horrible tragedy enacted in this place.”
He continued, “.. from the cruel suffering that was born on this hill, from the shock and horror that gripped our nation and from the years when we as citizens of this city suffered and were implicated by the gun shot by one man that killed a president in whom many of us had set our hopes and dreams for a better America.” 
Watched by a crowd of 5,000 ticketed attendees, the Bishop continued, “You turned our grief into a resolve to refashion our city to a place where life flourishes and true love abounds.” 
“You turned our devastation to a commitment to rebuild here the city of God; a city where all are welcomed, nurtured and cared for.”
The city of Dallas marked the anniversary of the assassination of President John F Kennedy with a solemn service of commemoration, which was held close to the Texas Book Depository from where the gunshots which killed the US leader are believed to have been fired. 
The Mayor of Dallas, Mike Rawlings followed Bishop Farrell’s prayer with an address in which he referred to the “nightmarish reality” of 22 November 1963. 
“A new era dawned and another waned a half century ago when hope and hatred collided right here in Dallas,” Mayor Rawlings said.
“It seems that we all grew up that day, city and citizens. … These five decades have seen us turn civic heartache into hard work.”
The 34-minute commemoration ceremony was titled ‘The 50th: Honoring the Memory of President John Kennedy’.  The American leader, who was just two years and three months into office when he was killed, was praised as a visionary and an inspiration.
“We pay tribute to an idealist without illusions who helped build a more just and equal world,” Mayor Rawlings said.
At 12:30pm, roughly the same time that President Kennedy was shot, there was a moment of silence and the bells of churches across Dallas were tolled.
Then the US Naval Academy sang ‘America the Beautiful’. President Kennedy had served as a naval officer during World War II.
Friday’s ceremony included the unveiling of a plaque with words from a speech President Kennedy was to have given at the Dallas Trade Mart.
“We in this country, in this generation, are — by destiny rather than choice — the watchmen on the walls of world freedom,” are inscribed on the plaque. 
Bishop Kevin J Farrell became Bishop of Dallas on 1 May 2007.  A former member of the discredited Legion of Christ, he is also the Chancellor of the University of Dallas.
The 66-year-old’s brother, Bishop Brian Farrell, currently serves as Secretary of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity in the Vatican.  He remains a member of the Legion of Christ. 

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