Prelate Notes New Opportunity to Evangelize Europe

Encourages Unity of Heart and Soul Between Countries

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DUBLIN, APRIL 23, 2009 (Zenit.org).- The archbishop of Dublin is underlining the need for European Christians to bring Gospel values to their countries, to foster a unity and solidarity as in the early Church.



Archbishop Diarmuid Martin said this Sunday at a Mass in Our Lady of Consolation Church in Donnycarney, Dublin, in which a Hungarian delegation from Gyor participated.

During the homily, the prelate acknowledged the parish's link to the city since the 1600s, when the Irish Bishop Walter Lynch, fleeing persecution, was welcomed to Gyor. In his flight from Ireland, he brought to the city an image of Our Lady Comforter of the Afflicted, of which a copy was made and hung in the Donnycarney parish.

In view of this bond between the countries, the archbishop reflected on the "solidarity that has existed among the people of Europe over the centuries, despite political and religious differences, despite war, aggression and intolerance."

He added, "Today we have the opportunity of strengthening those bonds in a Europe at peace but which still needs solidarity and sharing."

Archbishop Martin affirmed: "Europe today needs a vision for its future.

"Rather than lamenting a lack of recognition of the Christian heritage of Europe in recent political documents and events, European Christians have a new opportunity to bring to a Europe in search of hope and vision a challenging way of living the Christian message."  

He noted that the "Christian community spread across the continent must be a focus on unity. As in the early Church, he added, "the Christian community which today lives and witnesses to the message of the resurrection can bring to Europe something of that spirit of sharing which marked the early Church."

Unity and solidarity

"The future of European integration will not in the first place be the result of a treaty or of new political structures," asserted the prelate.

He continued: "Europe needs to be nurtured by that spirit of 'unity of heart and soul' of which the first reading spoke. Europe must become a Europe of peoples; a Europe of peoples which are different yet capable of living together in unity and solidarity.

"As Irish Christians we cannot and ought not flee from the challenges of shaping the Europe of the future.  Christians make their contribution to a better Europe in a spirit of respect and dialogue."

The archbishop affirmed that European Christians must work together with people of all faiths to overcome the "divisions which egoism and narrow nationalism, greed and religious intolerance have caused and which threaten the individual nations of Europe and Europe itself."

He added: "As a Christian community in Europe we must feel ourselves called to foster growing contact and mutual understanding among the peoples of Europe.

"The Church itself must become more visibly a community which within its own boundaries witnesses that unity among peoples really means."

Archbishop Martin noted that the image shared by the Irish and Hungarian communities was known as the "Weeping Madonna," and that her "tears recorded difficult times for Europe."

He added, "Today we look, in the spirit of the Resurrection, and see that those tears can be turned into hope for Europe, through the power of Jesus who destroyed death and opened the path to new life for all."