THE Bishop of Limerick, Brendan Leahy, has urged local people to dedicate the 100-year commemoration of 1916 to “re-reading our history and hearing our memories”, marking the beginning of the new year, in Bruree.
Celebrating the turn of the year at Beech Lodge Care Facility, he said that the centenary year can allow people to “walk through our turbulent political, social and ecclesial history together.
“What best motivates our remembering, memory and commemoration must be the hope that we can take some step forward that will mark the history lessons of the future.
“The context for such a step is the search across our island on several levels for how to face our past in a way that heals and releases us from situations of inner imprisonment,” he said.
He added that after 35 years of the Troubles, on top of recent years of “revelations of corruption, abuse and lack of integrity”, people are now searching for “how to reconcile and help heal our memories.
“We know we need to find a way to be inclusive in our remembering; deep down we want to be able to draw close to one another in acknowledging the trauma that either we or others have lived through. In short, the context of the 1916 centenaries is one of learning to walk through our political, social and ecclesial history together,” he explained.
He added that it “would be great” if 2016 might be a year to “explore how best to face that past in a way that heals”.
“While we can always draw lessons from our past, we have to be careful not to let ourselves be trapped in it or in our interpretation of it,” he said.
In his message to the public, he concluded: “To motivate our commemorations this year by stipulating a communal pact of mercy would be a valuable history lesson for the future.”