By Sarah Mac Donald - 05 June, 2016
The Primate of All Ireland has appealed to people to never forget that the defenceless unborn child is a real, human person, worthy of love and protection.
In his homily in Knock on Saturday where he celebrated Mass for the All Ireland Rosary Rally, Archbishop Eamon Martin said that in Ireland in 2016, “it takes real strength of character” to hold to the fundamental right to life of both a mother and her unborn baby.
He said this was especially so in the face of “pressure from those who wish to radically redefine Ireland’s social agenda in the name of ‘progression’ and ‘personal choice’ above all else”.
Referring to those who question Ireland’s constitutional commitment to the equal life and dignity of a mother and the unborn child, the Archbishop of Armagh asked how anyone could, in the name of compassion or choice, remove the right to life of an innocent unborn child?
He also appealed to people not to fail to have a heart for those mothers and fathers who sometimes feel in crisis following the conception of their child.
The Archbishop also lent his support to the ‘Celebrate the Eighth’ rally in Dublin, pledging his prayers to the thousands who gathered in Dublin “to celebrate the equality of life that is enshrined in the eighth amendment”.
In his homily for Mass in the Basilica in Knock, Archbishop Martin suggested three special intentions for ‘Heart-filled’ prayer: prayer for Peace, for Family and for Life.
He underlined that we are constantly reminded how fragile is world peace.
“This year we are recalling the horrendous loss of life one hundred years ago during World War One. But in many parts of the modern world, tens of thousands of people are still being killed, maimed or displaced because of the violence of war and terrorism,” he said.
As Ireland prepares to host the World Meeting of Families in Dublin in 2018, Archbishop Martin placed all families under the care of the Hearts of Jesus and Mary.
“Today in Knock we honour the great Servant of God, Father Patrick Peyton, who devoted his priestly life to strengthening the families of the world through prayer, especially the Rosary. May God continue to bless the members of our own families.”
In relation to life, Dr Martin said he liked to contemplate the moment when the Hearts of Jesus and Mary beat most closely together – while Mary carried Jesus in her womb.
“We must listen for the heartbeats of both mothers and their unborn children in today’s world. Two lives; two hearts, beating.”
The Primate highlighted that over the coming months he will be inviting people to join him in rekindling the First Friday and First Saturday devotions for the intentions of Peace, Family and Life.
“Each month: to go to Confession, to receive Holy Communion and to make a personal act of sacrifice or reparation – this provides a sound foundation for personal spiritual renewal,” he told the congregation in Knock.
The Global Rosary Relay for Priests took place on Saturday in over 100 shrines in more than 50 different countries. Each participating venue prayed a particular mystery of the Rosary at an allocated time.
The event was organised by WorldPriest, a lay organisation of professional communications people formed in 2003 by Irish lay Carmelite Marion Mulhall to “affirm the dignity, beauty and gift of the Priesthood of Jesus Christ in humanity”.
The three prayer locations in Ireland for the relay were:
National Shrine of Our Lady of Knock, County Mayo, at 2.30pm – Luminous Mysteries.
Poor Clare Sisters, Saint Damian’s, Simmonscourt Road, Dublin 4, at 6.15pm – Luminous Mysteries.
Our Lady’s Island, County Wexford, at 8.00pm – Glorious Mysteries.