Re-member this Remembrance Sunday…

We’re coming to the time of year now when we hear a lot about the issue of remembering. 11th November just past was Armistice Day, the date in 1918 when the First World War came to an end. Many will have observed a minute of silence at 11 a.m. in honour of this anniversary. This, of course, is followed by Remembrance Sunday when many people will gather in villages, towns and cities to remember and commemorate those who died in … Read more

To remember or not to remember…

Last year on Remembrance Sunday I called into Joanmount Methodist Church in North Belfast a short time before the service was to start.  The church was filling up with most of the congregation wearing poppies.   After a brief conversation with the minister, I then drove less than a mile to the nearest Catholic Church which is in Sacred Heart Parish where I am the parish priest.  The contrast on that particular day could not have been more startling. The congregation … Read more

Why I no longer wear a poppy

A Scottish Fireman laments… As the annual poppy debate reaches its inevitable crescendo, only to recede for another short year, I read various, diverse accounts explaining who is right, who is wrong, what causes offence, why one commemoration is exclusive  and so on, almost as if the very act of remembrance is a competition of some kind. Every year, the same debate is regurgitated, only the arrangement of the wording seeming to differ.  Every year I feel vindicated in not … Read more

Belfast City Council to invite Irish Government to Somme Commemoration

Not a bad opening gambit ahead of all those anniversaries.  Belfast City Council have agreed to invite the Irish Government to participate in the Somme and Remembrance Sunday commemorations in Belfast [this year?].  But it wasn’t unanimous.  From the BBC report SDLP councillor Pat McCarthy proposed the move which was discussed at a city council meeting on Wednesday evening. There was no opposition to the motion. The two main unionist parties, the DUP and the UUP, agreed with the SDLP … Read more