Blue circle plaque reflects Cardinal Ó Fiaich's embrace of people, nations, languages, & creeds
5 Nov 2023
Archbishop Eamon Martin unveils blue circle plaque in tribute to the late Cardinal Ó Fiaich
I mí seo na nAnama Naofa - agus muid ag bailiú anseo inniu, ag áit dhúchais an Chairdinéil Tomas Ó Fiaich - ba mhaith liom smaoineamh go bhfuil muid ceangailte le spiorad - , ní hamháin le spiorad an Chairdinéail féin, ach le spiorad a theaghlaigh, a chomharsana agus a chairde a chuaigh romhainn sa chreideamh, agus - le cuidiú Thrócaire Dé – a chuaigh romhainn chuig na bhFlaithis.
Lá speisialta ab ea an 3 Samhain 1923 - Lá speisialta i saol an phobail seo, agus ard-deoise Ard Mhacha agus an oileáin seo. An 3 Samhain, féile Naomh Maolmhaodhóg. Ar an lá sin 1923 rugadh Tomas Ó Fiaich, nach maireann, duine de mhór-Éireannaigh an 20ú haois , scoláire, sagart agus easpag a dhéanfadh a rian ar an Eaglais agus ar an tsochaí in Éirinn agus san Eoraip.
Cardinal Ó Fiaich is remembered with affection, and with admiration for his scholarship, his remarkable leadership and pastoral care during very troubled times, but above all, for his humanity and kindness.
Although I only met him a few times myself, as a seminarian and as a young priest in Derry, I had a sense that he was a man of great friendly presence.
Chomh maith leo seo, bhi sé soiléir go raibh bród an domhain air as a áit dúchais, as a chontae Ard Mhacha, agus as Tír na hEireann - a theanga, a stair, a spórt agus a chultúr.
Cardinal Ó Fiaich had, as I say, great pride in his county and his country; its language, history, sport and culture. Often the Cardinal was misunderstood by some who would have unfairly labelled him as a partisan. His outlook was of harmony, reconciliation and peace between all men and women on the island of Ireland, whatever their political aspirations. His episcopal motto was "Fratres in unum " brothers and sisters together.
People loved Cardinal Tomás, or Father Tom as he was more often and affectionately known. When he died they said "Ní fheicfidh muid a leithéid choíche.” And they were correct in that.
Agus bhí an ceart acu sa mhéid sin.
‘Sé mo bharúil, leoga, gur beag duine, idir Ardeaspaig na hÉireann thar na blianta go dtí an lá atá inniu ann, a raibh gean agus meas chomh domhain sin orthu.'
Fíordhuine de na daoine a bhí ann. Cuimhnítear air chomh mór sin as a gháire agus as a ghreann is a cuimhnítear air as a scoláireacht ard agus as a ról mar "Phrionsa na hEaglaise".
Indeed he was as comfortable with children and young people as he was with professors, presidents and prime ministers.
Above all, Cardinal Tomás was a good shepherd, a man of God who gave himself completely to his vocation and essentially wore himself out with a gruelling schedule of commitments and travels at home, around Ireland, Europe and the world. But his heart remained here…
Ach d'fhan a chroí anseo, ina áit dhúchais agus ina chontae dúchais, sáite i dteanga agus i dtraidisiúin beo i ndeisceart Ard Mhacha, i gCoilleach Éanach ‘san Creagán Dubh. Nochtaimid ciorcal gorm inniu, ómós cuí d'fhear a ndeachaigh a chiorcal cairdis i gcóngar agus i gcéin chun glacadh le daoine de gach náisiún, de gach teanga agus de gach cré.
As I say, the blue circle we unveil today is a fitting tribute to a man whose circle of friendship went far and wide to embrace people of every nation, language and creed.
Apparently an old person from the Gaeltacht spoke these words when he heard about the cardinal’s sudden death at the young age of 66, 'Nach maith do na bhflaitheas, eisean a bheith ann': 'Isn't it well for heaven that has him?'
Well, trusting in God’s mercy, we hope that from his place in heaven Cardinal Tomás is watching over us and guiding us still.
Go ndéana Dia Trócaire ar a anam dhílis.
Ní fheicfidh muid a leithéid choíche.
Archbishop Eamon Martin is Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland
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