THE Bishop of Meath & Kildare, the Most Revd Patricia
Storey, told a congregation at the annual service commemorating the
1916 Easter Rising in Dublin that next year's centenary should be
characterised by a healing of national relationships.
She expressed surprise and gratitude that a female Northern
Protestant should be invited to preach at a "Catholic, Republican
commemoration". The congregation included the Irish Taoiseach, Enda
Kenny, and President Michael D. Higgins.
"It is not part of my story, but I want and I need to try to
understand it. I need to walk in your shoes generously. That means
listening when I would rather speak; hearing your story when I
would rather tell mine; relating to the commemorations of your
community when I would rather remember wrongs done to mine," she
said at the church close to where 14 of the executed leaders of the
rebellion are buried.
Bishop Storey said that it was vital to remember all who had
died, but also to engage in the process of mending. She recalled
growing up in Belfast, "waking up every morning, particularly
through the '70s, to death. I do not believe that there is anyone
who wants to go back to that. We reeked of death. I passionately
believe that this is a time for resurrection.
"In the original Easter rising of our faith, Jesus showed us a
different way: one of hope and healing. If we want to do what Jesus
radically instructed in our gospel reading this morning, 'Love your
enemies, and do good to those that hate you,' you will be aware, I
am certain, that it is the most difficult thing on earth to even be
willing to forgive past wrongs done to you."
It was a challenge for all to reach out to each other, she said.
"So are you in? Or are you out? Will you be in the business of
mending? Will you commit to listening generously to the other? As
we go forward, will you be standing at the point of resurrection,
or at the point of death?"
Bishop Storey said that she was deeply sorry for the lives lost
in the country's history, both in the Rising and more recently.
"But I do not want to end our history there. I cannot let death, or
even commemoration, have the last word. I am in this for the long
haul: mending; generosity; resurrection. And that is what it will