On Monday 21st June, Belfast Cathedral will host a ‘Courage to Lament’ event, including a midday service, in partnership with the Corrymeela Community and Father Martin Magill of St John's Parish, Falls Road. 21st June is marked as an annual Day of Reflection acknowledging ongoing consequences of the Northern Ireland conflict.
Taking place on the Day of Reflection the event will provide an opportunity to acknowledge and lament the ongoing hurt and division caused by the conflict in Northern Ireland.
Following the astonishing response to Fr. Martin’s address at the funeral of Lyra McKee (also held in the Cathedral), a group of Catholic and Protestant clergy came together to build a unified Christian response to sectarian and paramilitary violence.
Between 11am and 2pm, the Cathedral will host a number of interactive exhibition spaces to encourage reflection and remembering. This will include a space to show the film "Vacancies" which highlights vacant places left behind for the over 3600 people who were killed during the 40 years of the Troubles. Readings from the Book "Lost Lives" will personalize the impact of lives taken through the violence. There will also be opportunities to signpost a range of organisations who offer support. Finally the cathedral's own "Lives Reflected" project will feature the additional losses of those who have died during the past 15 months of the Covid pandemic.
From 12 noon to 1.00pm the central ecumenical "Service of Lament" will take place in the cathedral. The service will include film, drama, music, prayer, reflection and silence. Participants will be seated and socially distanced within the Cathedral nave.
Stephen Forde, Dean of Belfast said: “I am delighted that St Anne’s Cathedral, at the heart of the City of Belfast, will open its doors on 21st June for Courage to Lament. The Cathedral has been a place of gathering and lament during the darkest days of ‘The Troubles’, as it was for the funeral of Lyra McKee in 2019. But out of lament and grief comes the resolve for new beginnings and a better future. This day can provide such an opportunity for our community”.
Corrymeela Community leader Rev. Dr. Alex Wimberly added: “Courage to Lament provides a space for us all to consider the devastating consequences of sectarian and paramilitary violence. As people of faith, we believe that reconciliation requires lament: lament for past and present violence, and lament for ongoing griefs. We believe that the act of lament is in itself an act of courage, and we are delighted to host this event as a part of the ongoing #couragepentecost project”.
#couragepentecost began on Easter Sunday 2021 and ran for 50 days, with an image and suggested act of courage sent out to participants every day.
Further information about #couragepentecost and the daily actions can be found at www.couragepentecost.com.