photo: Neil Craigan
This is the script of my introduction and words at the opening event of the 10th Anniversary 4 Corners Festival 2022
For years it has been a standing joke in our planning group… Sure we’ll get The Archbishop of Canterbury or Pope Francis for that. To have Justin Welby closing our Festival next Sunday is a dream. Austen Ivereigh was as close to Pope Francis that we could get. His biographer and co-worker on Pope Francis’s last book let US Dream which I loved.
When Austen said he could get us and then did get us a message from the Pope we were beyond our imaginings. So tonight as we begin our 10th Festival let us hear from Pope Francis…
- THE POPE'S MESSAGE IS SHOWN -
WOW! What I picked up most from this message is Pope Francis's humility. He asks us to pray for him. So in a moment we will.
As well as marking our 10th Anniversary today marks the 50th Anniversary of Bloody Sunday. We wanted to mark that. Anniversaries are never easy in Northern Ireland.
On Friday night at a Mass for the 50th Anniversary of Bloody Sunday Bishop Donal McKeown said:
“But there is another way. It seeks to acknowledge the past but to have compassion and forgiveness for those who were caught up in systems and situations that they can now look at with other eyes. There is a grace-filled art in forgiving and remembering.”
This morning Rev Dr David Bruce, Moderator of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland Tweeted:
"We lament the violent deaths of Bloody Sunday today. The very possibility of reconciliation in light of such deeds, might seem to be beyond us. Yet the gospel calls us to live beyond ourselves. Bless these and all grieving families, to whom we send love in Christ's name today.
After I pray we will have the first song from our musicians. Caroline Orr, Peter Greer and Norman McKinney… At one of our first events Pope Francis was announced as Pope. Caroline sang a couple of Chriaty Moore that evening and she will later on… brings it all full circle.
Lord in this 50th Anniversary of Bloody Sunday
We stop to remember the wounds of Derry today
The bullets of that day and the lives lost
The bullets that have continued to fly through these 50 years
The bullets still travelling in hearts, minds and souls
We pray for Derry today
And we pray for every other murderous event of our Troubles
And for all who were lost
And for all who have grieved
And for all who continue to grieve
May the Holy Spirit be their comforter
May you send the peace that Jesus said was beyond our understanding
Peace on our streets…. Peace in all our hearts
Lord inspire us to live beyond ourselves to bring reconciliation in a fractured society
And give us grace-filled art in the ways of forgiving and remembering.
Lord do more than we can imagine or dream
Pope Francis has asked us to pray for him
And so we do
We pray for Pope Francis
And the Archbishop Of Canterbury
And indeed the 4 leaders of our traditional denominations here in Ireland
Father reveal to them the height and depth and breadth of your love
Jesus may they know you and your revolutionary ways and lead us into authentic discipleship
Holy Spirit in your Pentecost power be their companion, their counsellor, their comforter and their courage to prophetically lead us to bring your will on earth as it is in heaven.
- THE NEEDED TIME IS SUNG -