Martin prays for Syria peace on Lourdes trip
ARCHBISHOP Diarmuid Martin of Dublin led prayers in Lourdes for Syria, praying that "those forces in the world which menace the gift of peace" would be overcome.
In his homily to 2,000 sick pilgrims, medics, priests, students, teachers and volunteers from Dublin taking part in the largest Irish diocesan pilgrimage yesterday, the archbishop joined with Pope Francis to pray "at this place of extraordinary serenity, for peace in Syria and for peace in the world".
Elsewhere in his homily, Dr Martin warned that an inward-looking church, which was "self-referential and closed in on itself – a closed shop preoccupied only with itself", and which was "more attached to itself than to spreading the message of Jesus Christ", would never renew itself.
Pondering how a Christian was to live in a consumer-driven world, he highlighted that there was a global industry and pattern of life based on "tempting us to believe that we need certain products and that somehow our life will be happier if have them".
But he responded that it was the presence of the sick among us that reminded us of the deeper meaning of our lives. "It reminds us of the emptiness that the rat-race and self-centredness causes in our lives," he said.
In a challenge to those who seek a smaller and more exclusive church of strictly orthodox believers, he called for a church "whose doors are always open to welcome people".
True self-fulfilment, the Primate of Ireland said, came when people moved beyond themselves towards mercy and compassion, towards understanding and embracing others, and towards helping and carrying those who are less fortunate than themselves.