'Healing stone' for Lough Derg


The Healing Stone acknowledging the abuse of children which was unveiled at the opening of the 50th International Eucharistic Congress in the RDS last Sunday is to have its permanent home at Lough Derg in Co Donegal.

The stone, a large piece of Wicklow granite is engraved with a prayer that originally featured in the Liturgy of Lament celebrated in Dublin’s Pro-Cathedral in February of last year. It The prayer reads:

"Lord, we are so sorry for what some of us did to your children: treated them so cruelly, especially, in their hour of need. We have left them with a lifelong suffering. This was not your plan for them or us. Please help us to help the. Guide us, Lord, Amen.”

Following consultation, including with abuse survivors, it was agreed the stone would be an appropriate symbol for the Congress.

Announcing today that its permanent home would be at Lough Derg, Congress secretary general Fr Kevin Doran said the pilgrimage site “seems to be particularly appropriate because of the penitential history of the location and because of the pilgrimage there of the papal legate Cardinal Mark Ouellet, which binds the Congress very closely to Lough Derg”.

Cardinal Ouellet was on pilgrimage at Lough Derg earlier this week and by the papal nuncio Archbishop Charles Brown and the Bishop of Clogher Liam McDaid. They remained overnight. They fasted and took part in penitential exercises.

A workshop at the Eucharistic Congress this morning was told that “today many people including those in Church, State and community groups who work hard in building and fostering community involvement are frequently challenged by an insensitive bureaucracy and meaningless jargon".

"But that challenge forces us all to question our commitment to love our neighbour and dig deeply into our human resources and beliefs," said Alice Leahy, director and founder of Trust the non-denominational agency which helps the homeless.

Ms Leahy continued that “the message of the Gospel is an inclusive one and silence in the face of people being excluded cannot be an option. We also need to care for each other and defend those who speak out”.

"We should never forget the amazing work being done daily by religious groups all over the world and so much of it now being taken for granted, particularly in our own country. Their energy has been sapped and their vision in danger of being obliterated.”

Ms Leahy noted how “my colleagues and I are daily called Sister – this highlights the fact that people seen to be working with the poor are only religious often giving the illusion that only the religious have the commitment and expertise required to create caring and inclusive communities.”

She continued that “theological expressions of love become tiresome and lofty at times. Love is about justice often requiring personal sacrifice and being unpopular. The Church is about all of us, no matter what the label and a vibrant Church can only claim to be so if it practices love.

“Ordinary men and women living extraordinary lives believing in Gospel values expressing concern for their fellow human beings are important to Christ who makes no distinctions. Many people who are part of parish and speak of love never see the real miracles that take place on a daily basis when barriers are broken down.”

"There is a tendency to think that Christians, and I guess on the part of all religions to think they are the only ones who care. On the contrary, there are many with no religious or dormant religious beliefs who care for vulnerable people in society and we are all as Bob Dylan said 'prisoners in a world of mystery’.”