July 07, 2015

A Northern Protestant speaks to a 1916 commemoration

Belfast born Pat Storey at the 1916 commemoration event, 
The Church of Ireland Bishop of Meath and Kildare Most Rev Pat Storey was invited to speak at state event to mark the 1916 Rising, described by the Irish Times as a "Catholic, republican commemoration". On May 5 2015 the northern Protestant, born and raised in Belfast, addressed the Irish Taoiseach Enda Kenny, Irish President Michael D Higgins, Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams and other dignitaries. Pat Storey said:
"It is not a part of my story. But I want, and I need, to try to understand it. I need to walk in your shoes generously. [It meant] relating to the commemorations of your community when I would rather remember wrongs done to mine."
She asked:
"Could we, together, commit to walking in each other’s shoes for a time? Could we vow to be generous when we commemorate? It would take personal sacrifice, especially when you have endured personal loss, but perhaps this is the time to mend, and the time for generosity… I am deeply sorry for the lives lost in our country’s history – for lives lost in the Easter Rising and in more recent years. But I do not want to end our history there….I am in this for the long haul: mending; generosity; resurrection… Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek."
She concluded with a question:
"Are you willing to be the change that Ireland is waiting for?"
Read the speech by The Bishop of Meath and Kildare in full here.
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