Message for National Day of Mourning, 14 September 2001, from Most Rev Brendan Comiskey, Bishop of Ferns
America has been good to the Irish and even as terrorists struck at New York and Washington D.C. a US envoy was arriving here to help us secure peace in Northern Ireland. In addition, we have been told to prepare for announcements over the next few days of many deaths among our fellow countrywomen and men in America. For these reasons alone we should take advantage of tomorrow’s National Day of Mourning to join with all Americans in remembering the dead, the injured and the bereaved.
Just taking the day off, however, is not a worthy way in which to mark this sad period in American and world history. I am asking our priests and people:
* To hold special Masses, vigils and prayer services in the days ahead. Ecumenical services are particularly appropriate. In this regard, we are happy to welcome among this weekend the President of the Methodist Church in Ireland, the Rev Harold Good.
* Vigils and periods of Eucharistic adoration would be very suitable and appropriate.
* Children, who have a day off from school, should be invited to play a special part in these services.
* People might be asked to sign a Book of Condolences or even write a letter to the US Ambassador in Dublin.
* Each one of us might find a place and a time to be alone, away from all the noise and the endless replaying of the scenes of horror in the US cities so that our minds and hearts and souls might be nourished by the Holy Spirit’s gifts of peace and serenity.
* We should pray, in particular, that wiser heads prevail in the days ahead. Striking out in revenge and retaliation against the perpetrators of these evil deeds is understandable in the immediate aftermath, but as has happened in America itself, it is the innocent who will suffer and not the evil. Besides, retaliation will bring further hatred, more violence, and greater injustice in its wake. Violence begets violence.
* Ireland, at this crucial moment when a world alliance against terrorism is forming, has a crucial role to play in the United Nations and in Europe. Pray that our representatives will bring the wisdom that Ireland has gained over centuries of the utter futility of an eye-for-an-eye approach.
* On Tuesday last the stark lesson has been brought home to America and to the world that evil can find its way past the best technology ofprevention. Justice and mercy, not star wars technology, is the only shield that will keep terrorism at bay, whether in the USA, the Middle East, or Northern Ireland.
* Pray for a peace based on justice. Work for it in whatever way you can. That is the best way in which to mark this sad day of mourning in Ireland and the world.
* For God’s sake, do something!
Issued by the Catholic Communications Office on behalf of Most Rev Brendan Comiskey, Bishop of Ferns.
Fr Martin Clarke (087 220 8044)
Ms Brenda Drumm (087 233 7797)