Words of welcome by Archbishop Eamon Martin at the Requiem Mass and Commemorative Ceremonies for the 1916 Rising

24 Apr 2016

Church of the Sacred Heart – church of the Defence Forces – Arbour Hill, Dublin


A Uachtaráin, Taoiseach, Lord Mayor, Your Grace Archbishop Diarmuid, family members of the 1916 leaders, Vice-Admiral, Minister, Chaplains and Members of the Defence forces, Public representatives and Representatives of the Christian traditions and other faiths, Chief Justice Denham and Members of the Judiciary, members of the Diplomatic Corps, Brothers and Sisters – Welcome to the Church of the Sacred Heart, Arbour Hill as we mark one hundred years to the day since the Easter Rising.  A special welcome to all of you who are joining us on television, radio or via the Internet and to those of you who are sick or housebound.

Beannachtaí agus athas na Cásca oraibh go leir.

Since the beginning of this centenary year Irish people at home and abroad have been marking the significance of the Easter Rising in the story of our land.  We’ve done so in various ways – with grand State Ceremonial, by researching and debating the history of that time, through cultural expressions in music, drama, agus in ár dteanga bheo dhúchais.

But this morning is different.  We gather in prayer and quiet reflection to remember those who died in the Rising and, as we do every year, to pay our respects at the resting place of the leaders here at Arbour Hill.

The 1916 commemorations have drawn us to reflect on what it is to remember.  We’ve discovered that our remembering is not just about looking back to a time long ago and piecing together the story of what happened from old documents, photographs and testimony.  Remembering speaks also to our present; the way we remember says a lot about who we are today, our sense of identity, what is important to us now also shapes our future, because it helps us discern the kind of people, society and nation that we want to hand on to our children and grandchildren.

Respectful remembering holds the past, present and future delicately together in trust, faith and hope.

Four months ago, at the dawn of the New Year I prayed with Ireland’s other Christian Church leaders this year’s commemorations of the past, alongside our hopes and longings for the future, will strengthen our resolve to live together in harmony, trusting in the Lord Jesus Christ who is “the same yesterday, today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8).

This celebration of the Eucharist which brings us together this morning is also an act of remembrance. We not only look back to the Last Supper which Jesus shared with his disciples, when he asked them to do this as a remembrance of Him.  The Mass is also a sacrifice which ‘re-presents’ down the ages the sacrifice of Christ on the Cross and the fruits of His Rising from the dead on Easter Day.  As a sacrament of love and unity, the Eucharist also offers us a pledge of future happiness with God in eternal life.

A phobal Dé, tugaimis ár bpeacaí chun cuimhne
chun gurbh fhiú sinn na rúndiamhra naofa a cheiliúradh.

Notes to Editors:

  • Archbishop Eamon Martin is Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland
  • Today marks the centenary date of the 1916 Easter Rising. Archbishops Eamon Martin and Diarmuid Martin concelebrated the annual 1916 Mass of Remembrance in the Church of the Sacred Heart – the church of the Defence Forces – in Arbour Hill, Dublin. Archbishop Eamon Martin was the principal celebrant. Archbishop Diarmuid Martin presided and preached the homily.
  • The President of Ireland, Michael D Higgins, as well as members of the Government, were in attendance at the Mass, joined by relatives of those executed following the Rising.
  • Music at the Mass was provided by the Palestrina Choir who are attached to Saint Mary’s Pro-Cathedral in Dublin. Music performed included a specially commissioned piece by Joseph Mary Plunkett called ‘I see his blood upon the rose’.
  • An inter-faith prayer service took place after the Mass in Arbour Hill Cemetery, along with a wreath-laying ceremony by President Higgins.  The adjacent military cemetery is the resting place for fourteen of the executed leaders of the Rising including Pádraig Pearse, James Connolly and Major John McBride.