“Some families are living a long Good Friday, and it is difficult for them to know the Easter promise of resurrection”
“I appeal to the conscience of anyone who has information that might help to come forward to the Independent Commission for the Location of Victims’ Remains”
– Archbishop Martin
It is a humbling experience for me to meet and pray for the first time today with families of ‘The Disappeared’. For sixteen years the families of those abducted, murdered and secretly buried, have gathered annually on Palm Sunday here at Saint Patrick’s College in Armagh for a Mass of Remembrance. The gathering helps the families to connect with each other in solidarity and compassion.
Over these sixteen years the families have comforted each other, and consoling friendships have formed among them. There have been moments of hope when fresh information has come forward leading to a new search. There have been great disappointments when some of those searches have proven futile. And, thank God, during that time, eleven of the seventeen families have recovered the long-lost bodies of their loved ones, allowing them to begin at last to find some closure.
For other families the pain, uncertainty and waiting continues. Today, as we begin Holy Week, their sorrowful burden reminds me of how our Saviour had to carry His heavy Cross along the Via Dolorosa. Some families are living a long Good Friday, and it is difficult for them to know the Easter promise of resurrection. The recovery, last October in County Meath, of Brendan Megraw’s body, encourages them not to lose hope. I appeal to the conscience of anyone who has information that might help to come forward to the Independent Commission for the Location of Victims’ Remains so that, even at this late stage, the remaining families can experience the consolation of being able to offer a Christian burial to their loved ones. They come with the assurance that the information can only be used to recover the bodies of those disappeared.
Archbishop Eamon Martin is Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland. Cardinal Seán Brady, Archbishop Emeritus of Armagh, celebrated this annual Mass with the families of ‘The Disappeared’ until his retirement in 2014. Since 1997 the families have been meeting together through the WAVE trauma centre.
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