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Thursday, March 23, 2017
Irish bishops end of conference statement
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¬†Following the completion on Wednesday evening of the September General Meeting of the Irish Episcopal Conference in Maynooth, the following statement was issued: Northern Ireland In response to Monday's announcement of complete decommissioning on the part of the IRA by the Independent International Commission on Decommissioning (IICD) and the two independent witnesses, Rev Harold Good and Fr Alec Reid, the Bishops welcomed the confirmation by the IICD, and the two independent Church witnesses, that the IRA has honoured the commitments set out in its statement of 28th July 2005. "The IICD's confirmation that decommissioning has taken place represents an immensely significant confidence-building measure in favour of a more peaceful and stable society in Northern Ireland. Monday's announcement is a vindication of the efforts undertaken by all those who have, over the years, courageously worked to replace violence with dialogue. "We hope that all who exercise leadership will continue to affirm the political process as the means to resolve any remaining issues in the search for peace. We call on all other paramilitary groups to affirm their commitment to exclusively peaceful and democratic means. "We wish to congratulate General John de Chastelain and his colleagues for their professionalism, thoroughness and patience. We wish also to commend the judgement and integrity of Rev. Harold Good and Fr Alec Reid, two men who have, for many years, consistently and generously committed themselves to the resolution of conflict in our society. "While we acknowledge this long awaited achievement, we are mindful of all those who have suffered as a result of violence, and we keep them in our prayers." The Bishops also expressed their concern about the increase in sectarian attacks on homes, churches, schools and halls in recent months and expressed their sympathy to all of those who had been caught up in these attacks. Hurricane Katrina The Bishops called on the faithful to remember in their prayers the tens of thousands who have suffered as a result of Hurricane Katrina's devastating affect on Louisiana and Mississippi in the United States on the 29th and 30th August last. The Bishops have designated Sunday 6th November next, the feast of All the Saints of Ireland, as a day when Irish people would be given an opportunity to make contributions to help victims of Hurricane Katrina, including support for severely damaged Churches and Catholic schools, many run by Irish priests. Funds forwarded to the Irish Episcopal Conference will be sent to the Diocese of Biloxi in Mississippi. The Bishop of Biloxi, Dr Thomas Rodi, has contacted the Conference to outline the extent of the human devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina. The proposed initiative is one part of the Irish Bishops response as various other initiatives, undertaken by individual dioceses, are also underway to help relieve the suffering throughout the Gulf Coast region. CURA At the June meeting of the Irish Episcopal Conference the Bishops requested the National Executive Committee of CURA to discontinue the policy of offering the Positive Options Leaflet and to work with the Conference in raising the concerns, as set out in the June statement, with the Crisis Pregnancy Agency. Arising from their discussions at the September meeting, the Bishops have asked the National Executive Committee to continue its acceptance of that request for the moment. The Bishops are continuing their dialogue with the four Letterkenny volunteers and the National Executive Committee of CURA. The Bishops also expressed their deep appreciation of the work of CURA over the last 30 years and they discussed the ways in which this great work can be undertaken in the future. Stewardship Trust Bishops are continuing their current consultation regarding the Stewardship Trust. Arising from this review, a sub-committee of Bishops has been established in order to make recommendations on the future of the Stewardship trust to the December meeting of the Irish Episcopal Conference. Synod of Bishops in Rome The President and Vice-President of the Episcopal Conference, Archbishop of Armagh, Dr SeŠn Brady and Archbishop of Dublin, Dr Diarmuid Martin, will attend the 11th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops entitled "The Eucharist: Source and summit of the life and mission of the Church". The Synod will be held in Rome from 2nd to the 29th October. Archbishop Brady said: "I ask people to pray that the Synod will be attentive to the Holy Spirit and that its work will lead all to a greater appreciation of the presence of Jesus in our midst, for love of us, in the gift of the Eucharist. It is my hope that the Synod would be a source of renewal in commitment to the Eucharist as the source and summit of the life of every follower of Jesus." Day for Life 2005 The Day for Life was first proposed by the late Pope John Paul II who asked the Bishops of the world to set aside a Sunday each year when issues concerning human life are highlighted and discussed. The Conference has designated the first Sunday in October as the Day for Life each year. A Pastoral Letter produced by the Bishops, Cherishing the Evening of Life, will be published tomorrow to celebrate the Day for Life 2005 on 2nd October. This year's pastoral is a joint production along with the two Episcopal Conferences of Scotland and England & Wales. Communications with Priests In order to improve awareness amongst priests of the work of the Irish Episcopal Conference, it was decided that priests would receive a briefing on each General Meeting of the Conference, by email. It is hoped that this initiative will be operational by the March 2006 meeting of the Episcopal Conference. Honouring Missionaries who have died violently in the service of mission October is the month throughout the world dedicated to the celebration of mission. Each year the Church in Ireland chooses a particular theme with which to mark mission month and this year the theme for Mission Alive 2005 is: "Witnesses to the faith". In October the Bishops ask the faithful to remember the work and lives of Irish missionaries who have died violently overseas in the service of mission. This year's theme was suggested by Archbishop SeŠn Brady to the National Mission Council. Archbishop Brady, having read the history of the Columbans, noted the number of members who have given their lives for their faith and mission. He proposed that their work as missionaries ought to be acknowledged. The National Mission Council supported this suggestion and adopted the current theme: 'Witness to the faith' for this year's mission month. Also commenting on this year's theme, Bishop Colm O'Reilly, Chairman of the National Mission Council (a body representing the Bishops, the Irish Missionary Union and the Pontifical Missionary Societies) said: "More Irish missionaries have lost their lives in this generation than at any equivalent period of time over the last 100 years. The task of the missionary today is more challenging than ever before. Thankfully, in Ireland, this challenge has not deterred many heroic men and women from coming forward to fulfill their missionary vocation in a manner which gives a splendid witness to the faith." Following this, the Irish Missionary Union (IMU) requested its members and the Bishops of Ireland to submit names and details of missionaries who died violently overseas in the service of mission. It is proposed to remember these witnesses and their ministries during October. Due to the large volume of names submitted and in order to implement a meaningful programme of events which would also reflect the witness and work of the IMU, 14 witnesses were selected. These names reflected a geographical spread within the country, a variety of ministries, representative of laity, Brothers, Sisters, Priests and different age-groups as well as personal stories reflecting a wide range of Gospel witness and values. Throughout the month of October the Church in Ireland will remember, at local and national level, 14 of the total number of people who gave their lives for the faith. In the relevant parishes, the lives of these good and generous people will be remembered in a variety of liturgical ceremonies. In the celebration of the missionary lives of these 14 people, all of the people who have lost their lives over the years, in the service of God on mission, will also be honoured. (More details will be given in a further report).
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