|St. Eugene's Cathedral in the Bogside|
One of the items on my to-do list for this trip was to go to a worship service at one of the churches in Derry. Whenever I travel internationally, I find it very insightful to attend a service at a church that is not my faith. I love learning about religions of the world and experiencing it firsthand has provided me with some insightful opportunities to expand my understanding. I am a practicing member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon) and have been all of my life. I have a great respect for people of other faiths as well as people who choose not to follow any particular religion and recognize we all find our source of strength, spirituality and comfort differently.
|First Derry Presbyterian Church inside the walled city.|
Recognizing that a good portion of the conflicts that have plagued Northern Ireland are based on religion, I have listened as we have heard speakers or as I have met people in Dublin or in Derry and surrounding places we have traveled and more often than not, the individuals have claimed one religion or another.
On Saturday, I found an evening mass at Parish of Templemore – St. Eugene’s Cathedral in the Bogside. I mentioned to Joan and Charlie that I planned to go and happily, they joined me. Joan was raised Catholic and so it was nice to have someone who could answer my questions. It happened to be the Saturday Mass celebrating the Feast of the Epiphany so the music that was sung was Christmas music and it was one last time during the holiday season to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ and the journey that the wise men took to visit the Christ child. I also appreciated that Father O’Kane said anyone who desires to follow God and walk the path of faith is welcome.
|We can find God on a hill top, at the ocean or enjoying nature.|
I feel blessed to have had many various life experiences where I felt a witness of the Holy Ghost that Christ lives and that we have a living Heavenly Father who knows and loves us personally and is in the details of our lives if we choose to let Him in. These witnesses have come for me in many places - at my church and temples, in prayers and special times with my family, on the top of a mountain, in times of service to others. I have felt these witnesses when life was going well and also at some of the darkest, most difficult times, I have known He is there for me. I also felt love and peace in St. Eugene’s Cathedral and was grateful for the opportunity to observe that sacred event.
|Saint Augustine's Church inside the Derry Walls|
Christ taught love, faith, tolerance, forgiveness, charity and so much more. In Isaiah, it says that the Lord pleads the cause of His people. I believe that to be true for all people at whatever place we are at in life and in whatever country we live. Religion was one of the causes for the Troubles, but it is my hope that the teachings of love, faith, tolerance, forgiveness and charity will continue to be catalysts for healing and peace in this beautiful part of the world.
God bless your way,