From the Cathedral City of Saint Patrick in Armagh, I am delighted to connect with the Family of the Irish, at home and abroad. With you this year, I am very much looking forward to the World Meeting of Families, to take place in Dublin at the end of August.
Family is all about ‘connection’. Family connects us to a home, ‘ár muintir féin’ the people who are our flesh and blood. It links us to a community, a parish, a county and an ever-expanding network of people and places. Family also connects us to a history and culture, a language and tradition, to our ‘DNA’, our roots, to our past, present and future. For many of us Family connects us to faith and values, to baptism and the community of believers. I pray that Ireland’s hosting of the World Meeting of Families will enable families, especially those who know and love Ireland, to ‘connect’ and ‘re-connect’ at a whole variety of levels, both with each other and with the wider ‘family of families’ that is their Church.
On this Saint Patrick’s day, I am praying especially for those for whom the connections within family life are broken by distance, by disagreement or breakdown, or simply by the pace and distractions of fast-moving everyday life in the twenty-first century. Sometimes we are so busy that families lose touch or drift apart for want of quality time spent together. Simple things like telling each other how we are feeling, eating together, making the effort to be in each other’s company, sharing memories and news of what’s happening in each other’s lives, and of course praying together even for a few moments – these are the links that connect and re-connect families with each other.
‘Críost linn, Críost romhainn, Críost in ár ndiaidh, Críost istigh ionainn – Christ with us, Christ before us, Christ behind us, Christ within us’ (from Saint Patrick’s Breastplate).
On this feast of our Patron Saint, I bless from Ireland families all over the world, as Saint Patrick often did, in the name of God as a ‘Family of Persons’ – Father, Son and Spirit – and I pray that God will be in your heart, home and family today and always.
- Archbishop Eamon Martin is Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland.
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