Creeslough in mourning

October 10, 2022 in Featured News, News

Irish Jesuit Bishop Alan McGuckian SJ is Bishop of the diocese of Raphoe, where the small village of Creeslough is situated. He has been with the people there in the aftermath of the devastating explosion that has taken the lives of ten local people whose ages range from five to fifty-nine. A mother and son and a father and daughter lost their lives in the accidental explosion on Friday 7 October 2022, which shocked not just the inhabitants of Creeslough but the whole island.

Bishop Alan has been praying with the people and hoping to be a presence for them in their pain and grief. He conveyed to them a message of condolence and prayer for the whole community and the people of Ireland sent by Pope Francis in a letter to Bishop Alan. He has also been speaking publicly about the impact of the tragedy on local and national media.

In this interview with Pat Coyle of Irish Jesuit Communications, he talks about the pain and heartbreak that has ripped through the small community of 400 people. He explains how praying with them has been a source of grace for him and for all those gathering as a community united in grief and solidarity.

He speaks about the deep faith of the people and the courage of those who, at considerable risk to their own lives, rushed in to try and pull people from the rubble.

He praises also the work of the interdisciplinary teams, some from across the border in Northern Ireland (who had learned so much from attending the victims of bombings during the Troubles), and the way they approached the task so collaboratively.

He also speaks about the random nature of such tragic events and how they underline the vulnerability and fragility of the human condition. It can be easy to feel alone in such circumstances, he says, but we are not alone, for God walks with us, sharing the sorrow. This was something he experience as he prayed the rosary each evening in the chapel with the many villagers who gathered there.

There will be many dark and painful days ahead, he knows for sure, and he asks that the people of Cresslough not be forgotten. He says people from all over the world have been contacting him and the local people, offering their solidarity through prayer. Believing in the power of such prayer, he asks that Jesuits, friends, and colleagues also offer heartfelt prayers for this suffering community, in the days and weeks ahead.