Candles shine the light of hope at multi-faith ceremony
Five special candles. Two hundred people. One message. The mood was sombre at a remembrance Mass in Dublin's Pro-Cathedral, as the congregation came to pay their respects to the victims of the Paris attacks.
Representatives of various faiths attended.
Before the Mass began, the lights in the 190-year-old cathedral were extinguished. In the near darkness, the focus was on the glow from one Paschal candle signalling 'The Light of the World'. But five candles expressing signs of "hope and life" were a centrepiece of the ceremony.
One shimmering candle was delicately carried to the altar by the French Ambassador to Ireland, Jean-Pierre Thebault.
The attendance included Dr Mudafar Al-Tawash, who represented the Islamic Foundation of Ireland.
Other candles brought to the altar included one from the French community in Dublin, An Garda Siochana, and the National Union of Journalists.
Former President Mary McAleese brought a candle representing all those who, whatever their faith or belief, work for a broad-based and tolerant society.
Archbishop of Dublin Dr Diarmuid Martin was principal celebrant of the special Mass held "in solidarity with the people of France". In his homily, he referred to Rabbi Abraham Skorka, a friend of Pope Francis, who has stated every act of violence and barbarity represents a bankruptcy of the culture which inspires it.
"If we fix our hearts on doing what is right, we can still today master the effects of evil. That is our sentiment this afternoon as we gather in solidarity with the people of France, and those anywhere in our world who suffer the effects of violence and evil," said the Archbishop.
"We must condemn violence not just because it strikes us with shock and horror on one particular day.
"Every single act of violence has within it the seeds of spreading and destroying."
The attendance also included President Michael D Higgins and his wife Sabina, Minister for Foreign Affairs Charles Flanagan and Dublin Lord Mayor Christy Burke. The Taoiseach was represented by his aide-de-camp, Comdt Kieran Carey.
Among the representatives of other churches were Archbishop Michael Jackson (Church of Ireland), Fr Raul Simion (Romanian Orthodox), Fr John Hickey (Antiochene Orthodox) and Mrs Frances Martin (Presbyterian Church).