“Never think you’re betraying your own community by seeking to understand and respect and accept those of a different tradition. I urge you, all of you who are called to the noble vocation of politics to have the courage to be leaders in the cause of peace, reconciliation and justice. Those who resort to violence always claim that only violence brings about change. You politicians must prove them to be wrong. You must show that peace achieves the works of justice and violence does not.”
Pope John Paul 1979 – Drogheda
The funeral mass of Seamus Mallon former SDLP deputy leader and former deputy first minister of Northern Ireland took place today in Armagh. He played a central role in the landmark events in Ireland. Archbishop of Armagh Eamon Martin hailed his contribution to the peace process. “He was a great, fair and principled leader. A true peacemaker, a bridge-builder, a statesman and a peace-maker for the Kingdom of God.”
I’m grateful for the eight years I spent in school in Armagh, the ecclesiastical capital of Ireland. I made good friendships in Markethill and Richhill.