The Bishop of Kerry has urged the Irish people to pray for the peace and well-being of everyone in Ireland and across the world in his New Year’s message for 2016, the centenary year of the 1916 Rising.
In his message, Bishop Ray Browne said the events that we commemorate in 2016, the centenary of the Easter Rising and the on-going centenary of World War One, “make it truly appropriate to think of both Ireland’s needs and the needs of the world and to pray for the peace and well-being of all people in Ireland and worldwide”.
Dr Ray Browne recalled Kerry’s involvement with the Easter Rising including those who drowned off Ballykissane Pier and Ballylongford’s The O’Rahilly who was killed in action during the rebellion.
Dr Browne also recalled another centenary on 1 July 1916 when 300,000 soldiers, including thousands of Irishmen, lost their lives at the Battle of the Somme during World War I.
“Here in our diocese we recall that the first three to die in Easter 1916 were the three men who were drowned off Ballykissane Pier, near Killorglin, on Good Friday. Seven days later, the Friday of Easter week, The O’Rahilly from Ballylongford was killed in action in the centre of Dublin.”
In his letter, the Bishop questioned, “What part does faith in ‘the Most High God’ play in life in Ireland today? Are we still resolved to pursue the happiness and prosperity of the whole nation? What of our readiness to sacrifice ourselves of the common good?”
He said that celebrating the Rising can renew Ireland’s commitment to the values and hopes expressed in the 1916 Proclamation.
Referring to Pope Francis’s encyclical on the environment, the Bishop of Kerry said that in ‘Laudato Si’, the Pope speaks of all people on earth as one human family with the world as our common home.
“We are aware of the difficulties and challenges facing our country as we come out of the recession. It has led to awful ongoing consequences for some people in particular. Are our economic difficulties manageable in comparison with the difficulties of many nations and peoples elsewhere in the world?”
“We are aware of the pain and devastation caused by thirty years of the ‘Troubles’ in Ireland: what must it be like for nations like Syria or Central African Republic or the Palestinian people suffering ongoing war and strife?”
Concluding Bishop Browne expressed the hope that the commemorations throughout Ireland in the year ahead “inspire us as a people to give of our best for our own people in Ireland and to open our hearts to world needs too”.