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Priest calls for peacemakers amidst gang violence

By Ann Marie Foley - 01 February, 2018

“This reign of violence and total disrespect for human life carried out by people who have become soulless is frightening and leaves us all vulnerable,” said Fr Michael Casey at the funeral of the late Derek Hutch

Our Lady of Lourdes Church Sean McDermott St

We are called to be peacemakers, not people of violence, Fr Michael Casey stated at the funeral of the late Derek Hutch R.I.P.

Speaking at Our Lady of Lourdes Church, Sean Mc Dermott Street, in Dublin yesterday, (Wednesday 31st January) he spoke to those present of how they are children of light not of darkness. Describing the killing of Derek Hutch as “shocking, barbaric, violent,” and a “cowardly act” he said it caused “havoc, pain, suffering and devastation” for the family and larger community and was wrong.

“This reign of violence and total disrespect for human life carried out by people who have become soulless is frightening and leaves us all vulnerable,” he said. “This spiral of violence, revenge, retaliation and the ensnarement of many in this web of what can only be described as evil has led to the destruction of the most precious gift – that of life itself and our call to be human.”

He told the congregation that while Derek’s spirit is free “because he was loved and loved”,  those with “hardened closed hearts” have become “living dead”. “Those with hardened closed hearts have cut themselves of from life’s source, which is compassion, forgiveness, being reconciled,” he said. “They and their actions and the dark world they inhabit has no place in this sacred place nor indeed in this community.  ‘Thou shall not kill’ remains, ‘thou shall not kill’.”

He said that the church is a place and a space for those who celebrate life, for decent people to try to live their lives in neighbourliness, in care and concern for each other, by living and letting live. He added that everybody’s concern is with the deceased’s grieving close and large extended family, friends and community.

“Our faith in God, in each other, and in ourselves, makes us strong.  Yes, we are a community that again has had to walk in darkness and in the shadow of death, but we like Derek have seen a great light. A light that shines, a light that is stronger than the darkness, a light that radiates healing love and drives out fear,” he said.

He prayed that people grow in respect and not react or retaliate, and that there is reverence and not revenge.

He concluded his homily urging those present to: “choose life and be about the business of living, which takes courage and guts and purpose and meaning. Our task, like everybody else’s, is to create homes and communities and environments where the children we cherish can grow up safely and happily.”

He referred to the quilts that have been placed around the church as part of the Family Network Service of Remembrance which takes place annually on 1st February. He urged those present to choose to be builders of life in Derek’s memory, and in the memory of all who have died tragically and those represented by the quilts.

Derek Hutch, a 27-year-old, was shot in Dublin, on Saturday 20th January. Some members of the Hutch family have been involved in a feud with the Kinahan gang in which more than a dozen people have been killed. The violence has been condemned many times by church and civic leaders.

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