Extract from the homily of Bishop Noel Treanor at the inauguration of the Parish Council in Saint John’s Parish, Belfast

14 Nov 2015

“We hold in our prayers and thoughts those who were killed, their families and friends, the injured and the people of France” – Bishop Treanor

“As we come to commission this Pastoral Council in the parish of Saint John the Evangelist this evening, we are painfully aware of the precarious, insecure and troubled state of the human family and the cosmos in our times, of which last night’s barbaric and monstrous attacks in Paris were cruel expressions.

“We hold in our prayers and thoughts those who were killed, their families and friends, the injured, as we do also the people of France, the city of Paris and all who serve in public office in that country and city.

“What else should and can we do, we ask ourselves? What responsibility do we carry as one parish in a local Church in the Christian world community?

“We can and should intensify our commitment and efforts to promoting a culture, a morality and a lifestyle of respect for all human beings, their culture, traditions, religions and their rights as persons and peoples.

“At this time parishes and the faith communities of all religions share a historic responsibility before God, humanity, the international community and its institutions, to promote and inculcate at individual and local community level attitudes and virtues which pursue the way of peace over war and violence, justice and dialogue over revenge and retaliation, the language of prayer, mercy and contemplation over words of poisonous hatred and xenophobia.

“In this fiftieth anniversary year of the publication of the Second Vatican Council’s prophetic declaration on relations with non-Christian religions Nostra aetate, we should provide for inter-religious dialogue and encounter in our communities and especially for our youth as a service to civic education and to furnishing an integral and necessary element of governance systems from the most local to the global level.

“Parishes and faith communities must rally to create and sustain that civic space where courageous and hope-building political leadership can grow, function and flourish.”

Bishop Noel Treanor is Bishop of Down & Connor
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