Archbishop hails brave priests who aided the wounded in 1916
The faithful offered a prayer and a round of applause to President Michael D Higgins as he and his wife Sabina attended a special St Patrick's Day Mass at the Pro Cathedral in Dublin.
Sitting in the front pew overlooking a statue of St Patrick, the President was among a mixed congregation of locals and visitors who packed the cathedral for the annual feast day celebration of Ireland's patron saint.
After blessing a bowl of shamrock, Archbishop Diarmuid Martin said it is remarkable that the same cathedral hosting the St Patrick's Day Mass on the centenary of the 1916 Rising remains the same as it did when chaos ensued all around it during the rebellion.
He paid tribute to the priests who provided "spiritual support to those in the GPO and with great difficulty and courage attended to the many who were wounded and shot during the uprising, especially in Jervis Street hospital".
He also noted that those same priests ministered to a local congregation hailing from "one of the worst slums in all of Europe" and that we cannot "airbrush the sad reality which existed just a stone's throw from the GPO".
As we celebrate the upcoming centenary, he said we cannot forget the challenges still faced by inner-city communities struggling with poverty; a cause, he noted, that President Higgins keeps close to his heart.
Bishop of Limerick Brendan Leahy also recalled the Rising in his annual St Patrick's Day Mass at Sarsfields Barracks
"They had courage in abundance to follow their patriotic convictions," he said. "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."