Somme Commemoration prayer

Centenary Prayer of Remembrance

Somme Commemoration
National War Memorial – Islandbridge,

09 July 2016


Father Seamus Madigan (Head Chaplain, Defence Forces, Ireland)
An tAthair Seamus
Ó Madagáin (Ard Séiplínigh, Óglaigh na hÉireann)


In ainm an Athar agus an Mhic agus an Spioraid Naoimh. Amen.


From the Gospel of John Chapter 16, Verse 33.

In the world you will have trouble,
but be brave: I have conquered the world.

Creator God, our life is a gift from you, help us to realise that what we do with it is our gift back to you. Today we the People of Ireland remember those who lived and died through World War One. We do so with sorrow and gratitude, knowing it is never too late to say thanks as we honour their sacrifice.

God, Most Merciful and Kind, as we gather in your presence, for this Centenary Commemoration of all involved in the Battle of the Somme: we especially remember Irishmen from Ulster, Leinster, Munster and Connaught, from all 32 counties of Ireland and beyond. We remember the bravery and sacrifice of Irish Soldiers of various religious backgrounds, political affiliations and motivations; who stood shoulder to shoulder, brothers in arms, all ‘desperately anxious to live’ and yet believing, that ‘in life and in death, O Lord, you abided with them’. Each of them was your precious child, who left their loved ones in the hope of returning to a better life for their families and for all.

Remember, Lord, those whose stories were unspoken and untold.
Lord, remember them.

Remember, Lord, those whose minds were darkened and disturbed by memories of war.
Lord, remember them.

Remember, Lord, those who suffered in silence, and those whose bodies were disfigured by injury and pain.
Lord, remember them.

Father of all, in your mercy, look with healing love on all your people living and departed. We especially ask that you would hold forever all who suffered during the First World War; those who waited anxiously at home, and those who returned wounded and disillusioned, many of whom dared not speak of their experiences. We remember those who mourned, and those communities which were diminished and suffered heavy losses. Remember too all those who acted with kindly compassion, those who bravely risked their own lives for their comrades, and those who in the aftermath of war, worked tirelessly for a more peaceful and just world.

Lord, God of Peace, remember our children and young people of today, for whom we hold the earth in trust. Grant that your dream of peace may continue to become a reality in our time, where the horror of all war may be consigned to the past. Help us build a world where people of every nation, language, and race may work together in peace, justice and harmony. Grant that the longings of the poor may inspire us to build a world of compassion, inclusion and engagement, where diversity is seen as a gift, where those on the margins will be heard, where nations respect the human rights, dignity and freedoms of all.

O God of Love, we raise up before you those whose memory we cherish, and those whose names we will never know. Help us to lift our eyes above the torment of this beautiful and wounded world and grant us the grace to pray for those who wish us harm. As we honour all who died in the Somme, we put our faith in your future; for you are the source of life and hope. We stand on the shoulders of great people who came before us; we are grateful for their strength, their wisdom, and the sacrifices they made in creating a fairer, brighter future for all.

Ar dheis Dé go raibh a n-anamacha

In the Name of God, who pushes back the horizons of our hopes and invites the brave to follow. Amen.

Moladh go deo le Dia – Praise God forever!

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