News

Mar 18, 2016

1916 Rising Leaders’ faith worth exploring in search for meaning today


Bishop Leahy at St. Patrick’s Day Mass

Bishop of Limerick Brendan Leahy has called on young and old searching for a deeper meaning in life to look to the faith of the 1916 Rising leaders.

Speaking at the annual St. Patrick’s Day Mass at Sarsfields Barracks in Limerick, Bishop Leahy said that in the deserved celebration of the contribution of the 1916 Rising leaders to the birth of the nation, the meaning and support they got from their faith, not least as they went to their death, is not to be forgotten as it contains a lesson for all.

Bishop Leahy pointed to the insights in a newly published book, titled ‘The End of all Earthly Things’, by the Diocese shows just how faith sustained the fallen leaders especially in their darkest hour.

“On reading the finished book, I was deeply struck by the common thread that faith was amongst so many of them.  I was struck by how it gave them courage and comfort as they faced death.

“They had courage in abundance to follow their patriotic convictions.  But they also drew courage from their faith to know how to live life and face death. Even for those who had little faith, there is certainly evidence to suggest that some of the executed leaders- notably Roger Casement and James Connolly - fall into the category of ‘it is never too late to call on your God’ as they received sacraments before their execution.

“In the world today, a world in which many are searching for meaning, there is a deep message in this and I would urge young and old alike to look at the 1916 leaders and what they got from their faith; how it anchored them in life, especially at a moment of unimaginable trauma.”

Bishop Leahy continued, “It is true also that some felt alienation and distance from the Church. The 1916 leaders would have been acquainted with the limits of the Church. And yet they recognised the presence of Christ working in and through these limits.  We admire their courage and conviction and their faith was clearly part of that.  We should also be willing to celebrate this aspect of their immense story.

“So today, as we celebrate the feast day of St. Patrick, the ultimate faith hero for our nation, I would ask young people especially to think about these great men and what faith did for them.”