Archbishop Martin responds…

Statement of Archbishop Eamon Martin on the publication of the report by the Commission of Inquiry into Mother & Baby Homes

  • “Above all we must continue to find ways of reaching out to those whose personal testimonies are central to this Report” – Archbishop Eamon

I welcome the publication of the Mother & Baby Homes Report.  As a Church leader today, I accept that the Church was clearly part of that culture in which people were frequently stigmatized, judged and rejected. For that, and for the long-lasting hurt and emotional distress that has resulted, I unreservedly apologise to the survivors and to all those who are personally impacted by the realities it uncovers.  Mindful of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, which calls us to protect life and dignity and to treat everyone – especially little children and all who are vulnerable  – with love, compassion and mercy, I believe the Church must continue to acknowledge before the Lord and before others its part in sustaining what the Report describes as a “harsh … cold and uncaring atmosphere”. 

Although it may be distressing, it is important that all of us spend time in the coming days reflecting on this Report which touches on the personal story and experience of many families in Ireland.  The Commission’s Report helps to further open to the light what was for many years a hidden part of our shared history and it exposes the culture of isolation, secrecy and social ostracizing which faced “unmarried mothers” and their children in this country.

I ask all those who are in positions of leadership in the Church to study this lengthy report carefully and especially to spend time reflecting on the courageous testimonies of the witnesses to the Commission.  Together we must ask “How could this happen?”  We must identify, accept and respond to the broader issues which the Report raises about our past, present and future.

Above all we must continue to find ways of reaching out to those whose personal testimonies are central to this Report.  They have shown determination in bringing to light this dark chapter in the life of Church and society. We owe it to them to take time to study and reflect on the findings and recommendations of the Report, and commit to doing what we can to help and support them.  The Report makes it clear that many are still learning about their personal stories and searching for family members. The rights of all survivors to access personal information about themselves should be fully respected and I again urge the State to ensure that any remaining obstacles to information and tracing should be overcome.

The Commission believes that there may be people with further information about burial places who have not come forward.  I appeal to anyone who can help to do so.  All burial grounds should be identified and appropriately marked so that the deceased and their families will be recognized and never be forgotten.

This Report will hopefully speak not just to our past but will also have lessons for today and for future generations.  As Church, State and wider society we must ensure together that, in the Ireland of today, all children and their mothers feel wanted, welcomed and loved.  We must also continue to ask ourselves where people today might feel similarly rejected, abandoned, forgotten or pushed to the margins.

This report will stir many emotions as it further uncovers disturbing and painful truths about our past.  I commend those who have fought to have this story told and I thank those who have already been supporting survivors through various organisations and providing a platform for their voices to be heard.

ENDS

  • Archbishop Eamon Martin is Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland

For media contact: Catholic Communications Office Maynooth: Martin Long +353 (0) 86 172 7678 and Brenda Drumm +353 (0) 87 310 4444.

The full report can be accessed here;

Update to Christmas Mass Bookings

There has been a huge response to the opportunity to book Mass for Christmas Eve/Day. We understand that already many people have been disappointed that the time they had preferred was already booked out!

As of Saturday 12th December, the following Masses have been fully booked out;
4.30pm Christmas Eve (Tenure)
6pm Christmas Eve (Tenure)
7.30pm Christmas Eve (Fieldstown)

There is still some limited availability in;
9pm Christmas Eve (Tenure)
11.15am Christmas Day (Tenure)

There are plenty of seats available for:
10.30pm Christmas Eve (Fieldstown)
12 Midnight Mass (Fieldstown)
9.45am Christmas Day (Fieldstown)

Remember, if your plans have changed, please return the tickets either via the booking system (Eventbrite) or, inform the Parish Office, so they can be re-allocated.

Also, don’t forget that the Church of the Immaculate Conception, Tenure will have the LIVE streaming service via CHURCH SERVICES and the Church of Our Lady of the Nativity, Fieldstown will use the Parish Facebook Page to stream the Masses from there over Christmas.

Finally, we will have Masses on the following days too;
Saturday 26th @ 6.30pm (Tenure);
Sunday 27th @ 9.45am (Fieldstown) & @11.15am (Tenure);
Tuesday 29th @ 11am (Tenure);
Wednesday 30th @ 11am;
New Year’s Eve @ 11.30pm (Fieldstown);
New Year’s Day @ 11am (Tenure)

Parish Arrangements for Christmas

Obviously, it is going to be a Christmas with a difference and this will affect Masses too. After some reflection, and adhering to Government guidelines, the following times are proposed;

Christmas Eve (Thursday 24th) Masses:

Tenure – 4.30pm, 6pm, & 9pm – max 100 at each Mass

Fieldstown – 7.30pm, 1030pm & Midnight – max 50 at each Mass

Christmas Day (Friday 25th) Masses:

Fieldstown – 9.45am  &  Tenure – 11.15am

This schedule will facilitate 600 people to attend Mass over Christmas. While I understand that you may not find the time/Church that you normally attend.  Please try to be flexible.

You must book a FREE ticket to attend.

Tickets will be available online at Eventbrite and will be released on Wednesday 9th December at 9am. Bookings will close on Sunday 20th December at midnight.

For those without internet access, please contact the Parish Office (Ann McEvoy 087 648 6809 or Fr. Paddy 086 880 7470) ONLY on Tuesday 8th & 15th December from 2.30 – 5.30pm.

The Church of the Immaculate Conception, Tenure will have a webcam installed by that stage, and we hope to have our Facebook Live broadcasting from Fieldstown, so you can also tune into Mass from your own home.

The most important thing is that we continue to do everything we can to keep each other safe over Christmas. Thank you for helping to achieve this.  

May the peace of the Christ-child be in your hearts and homes this Christmas. Happy Christmas!