By Sarah Mac Donald - 01 January, 2020
In his homily for World Day of Peace today, Archbishop Diarmuid Martin has warned that “Racism and intolerance are dangerous explosives” we play around with “at our own peril.”
Celebrating Mass in the Church of St Therése, Mount Merrion, in Dublin the Archbishop underlined, “Lack of respect for difference can undermine even peaceful societies” and he highlighted that “Fear of the immigrant can be exploited in terms that support narrow populism”.
Referring to Pope Francis’ message for World Day of Peace 2020, which is themed, ‘Peace as a Journey of Hope’, Dr Martin noted that the Pontiff places the idea of ecological conversion at the centre of the endeavour for peace.
“Ecological conversion is about an integrated understanding of human dignity, the unity of the human family and care for the creation given to us in trust by God as our common home. Such conversion can generate new and different relationships between people.”
He added that young people understand this in a way that the older generation have failed to do.
The Archbishop suggested that a culture of encounter between peoples and of encounter with creation shatters the culture of conflict.
“The Pope urges Christians to seek the gift of the Spirit ‘to prompt us in ways of thinking and speaking that can make us artisans of justice and peace’. For believers that culture of dialogue and harmony is a mirror of the unconditional love of God.”
Giving thanks for today’s peacemakers in Ireland, he also gave thanks for those who work to consolidate “Europe as a place of peace and welcome”.
“We give thanks for the work of our Defence Forces in places of conflict around the world. We give thanks for our Gardaí who are servants of peace for us all. We give thanks for those who write and dream of peace and who without fear challenge our innate prejudices.”
At Mass in Mount Merrion, Archbishop Martin said that his thoughts, as he travelled to the Church, turned towards St Therése’s former parish priest, Fr Tony Coote.
“What struck all of us about Tony in his dramatic illness, is that even in the face of the inevitability of death he never abandoned hope. If anything he gave others hope. The more his physical abilities faded, the stronger his witness became. Hope is the virtue of the strong.”
“Hope is not a pipedream. Hope is realism. It is a journey that reaches out and touches hearts. It aims at reducing the tensions and the intolerance and the misunderstandings that give rise to thoughts of vengeance.”
Separately, in his homily for World Day of Peace at St Patrick’s Cathedral in Armagh on Wednesday, Archbishop Eamon Martin told the congregation, “At the beginning of this new decade it is worth asking ourselves – does my faith in God make a real difference in my life? Does faith challenge me or have I settled for an ‘easy listening’ comfortable way of living which allows me simply to go on the way I am, relaxed in my choices and perhaps even in my prejudices, in my abuse of created things, my sin and my disobedience of God’s laws?”
He added, “If our only New Year’s resolution was to be more authentic as people of faith, and to become courageous witnesses to Christ in the world, then with the help of God’s grace and blessing, we can build together a more just and peaceful world for ourselves and others.”
Dr Martin said he was looking forward next month to launching the ‘one in ten’ Rosary campaign for the 2020s.
@1in10Rosary aims to encourage at least ten percent of the population of Ireland to pledge to pray the Rosary, or a decade of the Rosary, every day for their personal conversion and the transformation of Ireland.
“In July, I will lead a pilgrimage to the Marian Shrine of Fatima to dedicate this campaign to Mary and to pray that we can be, like her, courageous witnesses of faith. As pilgrims in Fatima we will remember in particular the witness of our Christian brothers and sisters who are persecuted in many parts of the world.”
Archbishop Martin highlighted how the Rosary has for centuries sustained faith and life in Ireland, and helped countless women and men to discover God’s will in their lives.
“It can do so again, enabling us to be courageous witnesses, by pondering every day in our hearts, as Mary did, the deepest mysteries of our faith.”
Referring to Brexit, he said that as its out-workings begin to emerge, “the early years of this decade will be crucial in sustaining peace and rebuilding relationships on the island of Ireland and between us and our neighbours in Britain and Europe”.
“Archbishop Richard Clarke and I said recently that our country, north and south, truly needs the rekindling of wholesome relationships – socially and politically, nationally and internationally, and this will require men and women of integrity, generosity and courage to take the initiative in making these crucial relationships work.”
“Just as peace emerges from the depths of the human heart, so also do the answers to the greatest problems facing our country and world in this new decade.”
The Primate of All Ireland said that a living Christian faith emboldens us to promote a culture of life, to defend the unborn, to reach out to the homeless, to welcome the stranger, to visit the sick.
“It is only when the hearts and consciences of individuals are moved and troubled by the plight of the suffering and the marginalised, that change begins to happen at a societal and global level.”
“The voice of God, speaking in our hearts, stirs faith and moves us to action.”
“It opens our ears to the ‘cry of the poor’ and the ‘cry of the earth’, calling us to wise stewardship of God’s gifts of creation and personally to a more ‘responsible simplicity of life’.”
“A living Christian Faith inspires us to turn towards God in holiness of life, to seek forgiveness for our sins, and to make personal resolutions for change, not only at the beginning of a New Year, but continually on a lifelong journey of conversion.”