Bishop Liam MacDaid’s Address at launch of Clogher Diocesan Justice,
Peace and Integrity of Creation Group
Thursday, September 3, 2015
I am delighted to be invited here to Enniskillen today to officially launch the Clogher Diocesan Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation group and to give all involved my very best wishes and my blessing! I wish to thank you for your commitment and the great effort you have made to bring the group to this stage. I know you have been meeting as a group and preparing and reflecting over the last 12 months and I have been kept well informed. I wish to thank Roisin O’Hara from Trocaire based in Derry for her guidance and support for this group. Her help has been invaluable.
This is a good day for the diocese of Clogher. Every time people unite to work together in the name of Christ for the betterment of life and in solidarity with the poor and marginalised is a good day. I am pleased to see members of other churches present and to know that this group aspires to be interfaith and to involve people and clergy from all Christian churches in our diocese.
Every diocese in Ireland has been encouraged to set up a Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation group or committee to liaise with the National Headquarters in Maynooth. Many dioceses have set up groups or committees and more are in the process of being formed. I would like to acknowledge at this point the much appreciated help we received from the diocese of Raphoe.
It was just over a year ago when I contacted Fr Joe McVeigh about setting up such a group in our Diocese. I wish to thank him for his enthusiastic response to my request. He contacted as many people as he could from all parishes in the Diocese and now we are here today to ‘launch out into the deep’. Without his wholehearted conviction and hard work we would not be where we are, working to promote a central element in the Gospel.
Nowadays, more than ever before, we in the western world are called to be more conscious of the way we use or abuse God’s creation and we are urged to take note of Climate change which threatens life on our planet. Pope Francis, has asked all of us to act more responsibly and to be more active in preserving this beautiful planet which he calls ‘Our Home’ which is created, as we are told in the Book of Genesis, by God as a home for all God’s creatures. We are co-creators with God’s Holy Spirit in whatever we do while on earth.
We have been urged by Pope Francis in ‘Laudato Si’ to respect God’s creation and to care for it and to ensure that we leave it safe for future generations. We have been urged by many of our Church leaders to do this in solidarity with the poor. There are many small things that everybody can do every day to keep our planet safe and to act in solidarity. Our group have made some suggestions in their publicity leaflet. I believe it is the small acts we do every day, like keeping the environment tidy and recycling,that will eventually make the difference.
This group, in the Diocese of Clogher, will, I believe, help all of us in this beautiful part of our world to be more aware of our responsibilities with regard to justice and human rights and the protection of Creation. It will spur us into action. Justice is a big theme in the Bible and it is central in Christian and Catholic Church teaching. It needs to be applied to everyday situations especially where there is inequality and deprivation. We, in our Diocese and in Ireland, have been acknowledged globally for our charitable giving but sometimes charity is not enough. We need to focus on justice and demand rights for the voiceless and the vulnerable. To do this we need courage given to us by the Holy Spirit.
In this respect we have all been shocked and moved to seek appropriate action when we are brought face to face with the plight of refugees in different parts of our world. We are happy to see our Irish naval services helping to alleviate the death and distress which happens every day. We realise that we all need to be disposed to search ourselves and to urge our governments to search for the causes of this distress and to take whatever steps are necessary to create a situation in our world where the gifts of creation are shared in such a way that justice can be seen in action and we never witness the horror of a mother and child found washed up dead on a shoreline trying to escape from a situation which should not exist.
With the help of the Holy Spirit we need to continue and intensify the work for peace and justice and respect in our world, in our country and in our parishes at grass-roots level. I invite all the parishes in our diocese to make this a priority.
May God the Holy Spirit bless us in our work of preserving Creation and building respect for the poor, the homeless and the down trodden. We are working with others at home and throughout the world to establish the reign of God’s love on earth. Thy kingdom come! Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Go dtaga do riocht! Beannacht Dé oraibh go léir. Thank you all and thanks to ‘Waterways Ireland’ for the use of this lovely space today for our launch.
+Liam S. MacDaid
Bishop of Clogher
3 September 2015