Limerick city has been lauded as an exemplar of “active nonviolence” during New Year peace messages.
As Irish bishops issued homilies for the 50th World Day of Peace on January 1, and after a year of extreme gangland violence in some quarters, Bishop Brendan Leahy of Limerick hailed the role of nonviolence in a renewed city that offered hope to others.
“Thanks to the contribution of many to active nonviolence, Limerick is now a city that is beginning to sing a song of co-operation and regeneration, new vitality and effective management, artistic, sport and cultural renewal,” Bishop Leahy said in his message delivered at Corpus Christi Church in Moyross.
In that parish, he added, as well as others such as Southill, Ballinacura Weston and St Mary’s Park, people had gone “the extra mile in nonviolence and non-retaliation in the face of violence” to make Limerick a place where “crime…is way down, murder is rare and communities are safer…regeneration is now being given a chance and social justice is now winning out over anti-social neglect. Houses are being repaired, some building has been done and more is under way. The services for children have improved.”
He added: “Let’s acknowledge that what’s going on in Limerick has something to say to other areas in our country where violent crime now seems to dominate.
“We can think of the appalling year that Dublin has witnessed.”
For his part, Dublin’s Archbishop Diarmuid Martin used his New Year homily to address the violence wrought be the city’s “drugs barons” in 2016.
“Will these people ever learn or are they totally blinded by their own selfish interest in the drug trade, a trade in death which is of such enormous financial interest that it leaders feel that they must kill to keep their power?” he asked.
“Gangland violence must stop.”
In delivering his own message for World Day of Peace, Primate of All Ireland Archbishop Eamon Martin chose to quote Pope Francis directly when the stated: “All of us want peace. Many people build it day by day through small gestures and acts; many of them are suffering, yet patiently persevere in their efforts to be peacemakers.
“In 2017, may we dedicate ourselves prayerfully and actively to banishing violence from our hearts, words and deeds, and to becoming nonviolent people and to building nonviolent communities that care for our common home.”