Remembering all Columbans Who Have Journeyed With Us

It was a great blessing to have so many present for Cemetery Sunday on 12th June 2022, writes Fr Pat Raleigh.

After a lapse of three years, due to COVID, it was a pleasure to gather together on Sunday at the Community Cemetery in Dalgan to give thanks to God for the lives and witness of our deceased Columbans, some of whom met violent deaths. Fr Ray Husband, Regional Director, was the main Celebrant at the Eucharist.

We not only remembered those buried in the Community Cemetery in Dalgan but all those laid to rest in other parts of Ireland as well as worldwide. We also remembered our deceased Columban Lay Missionaries, Columban Sisters, family relatives of Columban families as well as our deceased benefactors and supporters.

We were very fortunate with the weather. It was so good to see so many familiar faces, many of whom travelled long distances. We thank them all for their support down through the years and we are so grateful for the ongoing support of the families as well as the support of our supporters and benefactors.

Sadly, some of those very faithful family members have died since we last gathered in 2019. A special thanks to all the staff in Dalgan who put in such a huge effort in the preparations. Many thanks to Margaret Dee (organist) and the choir for enriching the celebration. So many who attended said how happy they were to be back. We Columbans were delighted to see them.

Homily of Fr Ray Husband
Today we celebrate the Feast of the Blessed Trinity and the blessing of graves. We remember, honour, and pray for our deceased Columbans buried here and elsewhere around the world. Today we are called upon to reflect on the outpouring of love which is at the heart of the Blessed Trinity.

The Trinity an all-embracing love
When I was young, I remember our parish priest giving a sermon on the Blessed Trinity. He said, “As we all know the Holy Trinity is a mystery, three persons, Father, Son and Holy Ghost in one God, so there is nothing more to be said.” He then went on to address the previous week’s collection with which he was not happy. For me he failed to capture the beauty of what lies at the heart of the mystery which is the Blessed Trinity, which is an all-embracing love and relationship. Within the Trinity love is dynamic and constantly outpouring. All of us are baptised in the name of the Trinity and from this we receive our mandate for mission. We are invited to enter a relationship with the Blessed Trinity to model our relationships with each other on that of the Trinity.

Columbans who spent their life in the service of the Holy Trinity
Today we remember our Columban brothers who lie in this Cemetery and our brothers and sisters buried elsewhere who spent their lives in service of the Blessed Trinity. Each in their own unique way gave witness to the all-embracing love of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Through their witness they invited many others to share in this love. Like all of us they had feet of clay but in their hearts, they had a love of God and neighbour which was their strength.

Over the course of their lives, they baptised countless numbers of children/adults in the name of the Blessed Trinity. It was their love of the Blessed Trinity that inspired them to faithful service, to work and minister for a more just society where the rights of all were respected no matter what your status, to serve  the poor and marginalised, to enter into a respectful dialogue with members of other faiths; to honour the Trinity through our care for all of creation and to proclaim the Good News that Jesus is risen.

Honouring all deceased Columbans
As humans we are called to be like God who created us, God in whom all creatures live, move and have their being, and who are intimately connected with one another. It means to live in relationships of love and respect not only for our fellow humans, but for all of God’s creatures with whom we share the gift of life. We are called to participate fully in the Trinitarian Communion of Father, Son and Spirit through our loving communion with one another and indeed, with all creation.

Today as we honour all our deceased Columbans we also thank God for you their families and friends who supported, encouraged and participated in their missionary work (and still continue to do so). So let us join our prayers with all who lie in this Cemetery as we honour the Blessed Trinity by saying together, Glory be to the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, who was in the beginning is now and forever shall be. Amen.”

With God’s help may we all be alive this time next year when we will meet again. Remembering all Columbans who have journeyed with us. May they rest in peace.

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