03/03/08 Remembrance Service, Drimnagh

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SERVICE OF REMEMBRANCE FOR MARIUS SZWAJKOS AND PAVEL KALITE

Our Lady of Good Counsel Church, Mourne Road,  Drimagh

 

Homily  3rd. March  2008.
Fr. Martin Cosgrave PP
It is an event of great sorrow and sadness that gathers us all together here this evening.  While this is a Parish celebration to mark the tragic deaths of  Mariusz and Pawel, it is also a celebration that has wider – both national and international significance.  For that reason we are then very glad that our civic and religious leaders are with us. In particular we welcome the Polish delegation and many members of the Polish community: Witam Was Serdechne.
Firstly we have come together to express our sense of deep sorrow and shock, and horror at the deaths of Pawel and Mariusz.  In this community we have run out of  words to express our sense of revulsion and abhorrence at what has happened. We repudiate, as a community, in every way we know what has taken place.
Mariusz and Pawel were in our country and community but for a short time. Yet they made an enormous impact on all those who came in touch with them.  They worked well and hard, yet knew how to enjoy life.  Their lives have made a difference for the better. They were fine Ambassadors for their country and their people. Maybe, hopefully their tragic deaths will have an influence for the good in ways that they would never have dreamt of.
Our thoughts, our prayers and support are with their families, their fellow Poles and particularly those they worked and shared their lives with.
As we acknowledge these tragic – violent – deaths this evening we must also acknowledge the pain and grief of many families in our community – and elsewhere  where death has come as a result of violence in many cases the deaths of totally innocent people, while in other cases clearly connected to the culture of drugs and alcohol.  To give it all its proper name is to call it a culture of death.
This evenings Mass is about many things.
It is at one level about expressing a strong sense of solidarity with the Polish community, and indeed with people of many other nationalities who have come to make their home with us.  Our own Parish logo drawn up by our new Parish Pastoral Council a few years ago states that,” there is room for everybody – everybody is welcome”. I myself know something of how lonely and isolated people can feel in a foreign country, as a younger man I worked on the building sites of London in the early ’70s when relations between our two countries were not what they are to-day. I worked in the German car factories those years too when some non nationals there might not have felt very welcome. From those experiences I know that we must, both as a society and a Church work harder to welcome those who come amongst us to make new lives .
Our celebration this evening is not only an occasion of remembrance – but it is also an occasion for reflection not only on the foul deed that has gathered us here together, but on the type of community, the type of society – the type of country we want for ourselves and for the future generations. The big question this evening is about society, not about this Parish only.
It is extraordinary that at a time when we were never as well off,  that so many  young people are dying needlessly, violently.  We can pretend that all is well. It isn’t.  There is hardly a weekend now when several young people don’t die in tragic circumstances. I am not naïve enough  to think there is any simple solution to these questions.  Nor am I pointing the finger in any particular direction – except at us all.  It is high time for a national conversion about these issues – time for some joined up thinking. I hope this terrible atrocity might be a catalyst for such a venture.
There is, of course, a sense in which this evening is about our community for it was here that Mariusz and Pawel lived – and died. So as a local Parish community we express again our sense of outrage, revulsion and solidarity with all concerned. But  this gathering this evening is about reclaiming our own sense of community – our own sense of worth, of  purpose and achievement – and you have much to be proud of over 60 years or more.  As your Pastor, together with my colleagues and all who minister here with us, we wish to state that loud and clearly at this time.  Many new communities could learn from Drimnagh in terms of strong community spirit, in terms of genuine care for each other and in terms of generosity to the wider and developing world.  I suppose for us, like other communities the question at this time is to find new ways of addressing  issues like the tragedy that has confronted us this week so that strong bonds of community will continue to be fostered and grow.
Our Gospel this evening reminds us that the Lord, our God of compassion and mercy is with us on the journey of life – in good times – and in bad times and in bad – even if at times circumstances may make it difficult or impossible for us to recognise Him.
Yes, it is an event of great sorrow and sadness that has brought us together now.  May that same God give us courage and hope as we face the future for the journey ahead.
Amen.
 
Homily notes of
Most Rev. Diarmuid Martin
Archbishop of Dublin, Primate of Ireland
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Our Lady of Good Counsel, Drimnagh, 3rd March 2008

I would like to express my gratitude to the Parish Community here in Drimnagh and the Parish of the Polish Community for organising this moment of Prayer this evening.
 
I thank President McAleese for her presence and her encouragement to this community and to all of us.  The President has spoken on many occasions of the vital importance of strong communities in building up the future of our nation.   I see this evening’s Service of Remembrance, as well as last Saturday’s vigil, as an example of a great community response to a tragedy and I wish to express my appreciation to all those who so promptly organised these events.
 
Some months ago I appealed for a Community Summit to address the question of violence in our society.  I renew that appeal this evening.  I have no explicit plan.  Perhaps such a Summit would best be organised from the ground up.  Networks of local communities, for example, parents, young people, teachers, priests, Gardai and others could work together on matters of common concern, sharing information, raising issues at the earliest opportunity. Much good work is already being done, and that work needs to be replicated around the city and experiences and knowledge widely shared.  Local authorities could offer practical support to such groups and bring them together.
 
I have seen for myself some excellent examples of the involvement of local communities with the Gardai in addressing crime.  But the challenges of violence and substance abuse go beyond the realm of crime prevention and require a wider outreach to the entire community.  We cannot just leave that community involvement to moments of tragedy alone, when it is too late.   I can guarantee the support of the parishes of this Archdiocese in any such initiatives.
 
May God grant eternal rest to Marius and Pavel.  May the Lord Jesus console their loved ones.  May his message of love and care enrich our families and our communities. May the Lord strengthen us in our resolve to work with and for our young people, especially those who have difficulties in facing the challenges of life.
ENDS

 

 

 

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