As we celebrate Easter 2016 we remember the men and women who struggled for our national freedom in 1916. This vision and ideal of Ireland’s independence was an inspiration for so many colonised nations whose culture and identity was submerged by the scramble for power by larger states and empires over the centuries.
Irish missionaries, because of their own political history, have empathised with all nations who live or have lived under the yoke of colonialism or dictatorship and autocratic government.
We remember Fr. Joe Mallin SJ—our oldest Irish missionary living in Hong Kong—whose father Michael Mallin was executed in the Easter Rising of 1916. Joe’s solidarity with the people of Hong Kong during the Japanese occupation and later with the influx of refugees from communist China, is evidence of Irish solidarity born out of the experience of being powerless oneself both as an individual and as a nation.
During Passion Week and looking forward to Easter Sunday, we remember the dead and bereaved, the injured and traumatised as a result of the senseless violence in Brussels. Eastertime is the season for remembering that light overcomes darkness, love triumphs over hate and hope overcomes despair. In the Risen Christ we find our strength and victory in renewing our efforts to build peace, justice and harmony in our broken world.
We celebrate during this Easter of 2016 the innate human desire for freedom, dignity and respect for all peoples who experience oppression today. We stand by them as they struggle for recognition of that dignity and their right to freedom and autonomy.
Author: Fr John K Guiney SJ, Director, Irish Jesuit Missions office, 21st March 2016