National Family Support Network 18th Service of Commemoration and Hope
Speaking notes of Archbishop Diarmuid Martin
Church of Our Lady of Lourdes, Sean McDermott Street, 1st February 2017
“I always enjoy celebrating Confirmation in this parish. It is always a celebration of what this community is about and what is at its heart. It is about passing to another generation on the good values which have kept this community together in good times and in bad.
At Confirmation you see young boys and girls at their best. Their smiles portray how proud they are of themselves and of their families and they of their school. It is wonderful to see real hope in their faces.
You can see pride and hope in the faces of parents and grandparents. They are proud that these young people are doing well and they are hopeful that they will do even better that they themselves were able to do. You can see pride in the faces of teachers who are happy that especially those children who have gone through hard times have made it.
Every young boy or girl has a right to feel proud of where they grow up and have the hope that they can do better and take their place in a future of hope.
There is nothing that makes me feel so sad and so angry as to see the hope of a young boy and girl robbed and be slowly destroyed through them falling victim to substance abuse. Their youthful smile becomes replaced by a despairing stare. Their hope is replaced by a tragic trap which despite all their efforts they find it harder and harder to break out of without a helping community.
We come here this evening to reflect on both tragedy and on hope: the tragedy of being trapped in substance abuse and the hope that we have the responsibility to offer young people when they fall. We come to celebrate the triumph of a recovery which restores hope. As I said, there is nothing that makes me feel so sad and so angry as to see the hope of a young boy and girl robbed and be slowly destroyed through them falling victim to substance abuse. On the other hand, there is nothing that touches my heart as much as trying to imagine what it means to a young person to experience the freedom that comes with recovery, to be their true selves once again.
We are here to show any young person who becomes trapped in addiction that there still is hope as we let them know that there is a helping hand willing to pick them up – no matter how many times they fall – and help them along the difficult path to recovery.
The drug trade is a ruthless trade in ruining lives, a callous trade in death. It is a ruthless and cynical and diabolic trade which has no respect for any life. It thrives on destroying the lives of the weakest, whether of those who fall to abuse or those who they trap into becoming agents of their despicable trade.
Jesus is the one who reveals to us the mercy and the tender loving care of God. It is that mercy which offers hope and a helping hand of those fall to human weakness. But Jesus is also the one who condemn in unambiguous terms anyone who ruins the lives of the young: “If anyone causes one of these little ones to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea”.
These are strong words of condemnation. Those who trade in death bring that condemnation on themselves rendering themselves despicable. All they can offer are callous words of hatred
We gather to speak words of hope. We remember those who have died. They went through hard times but their loved ones remember them for the goodness that always remained there hidden within their troubled lives. We speak words of hope to those who still struggle. We speak words of hope and support to the young people of this community who are our hope and we commit ourselves to carry them in our hearts and our helping hands that they can realise their hopes and go through lives with those smiles of hope.”
o Archbishop Martin was speaking this evening (Wednesday) at the 18th Annual Service of Commemoration of Hope run by the National Family Support Network in Dublin’s North Inner City.
o Further information: Annette O Donnell, Director of Communications, Archdiocese of Dublin 01 8360723.