The Archbishop of Armagh, the Most Rev Dr Richard Clark, paid a very personal tribute to the work of the hospice movement at a special service on April 28.
The care offered by the Northern Ireland Hospice over the past three decades was celebrated at the service in St Anne’s Cathedral, Belfast, which was led by the Dean, the Very Rev John Mann.
The leaders of the four main churches in Northern Ireland took part in a presentation of candles representing the 28 years of the life of the NI Hospice.
Archbishop Clark said his ‘very personal tribute’ to the work of the hospice movement was a way of expressing his good wishes for its continuing work.
“Having experienced at first hand the ministry – and it was a ministry – of a hospice in the life of my own family during the closing days of my wife Linda’s earthly life in St Brigid’s Hospice on the Curragh of Kildare, I hope that my unreserved commendation of that particular hospice will be seen as a tribute to the entire hospice movement,” the Archbishop said.
“The business of dying, of watching a loved one come to the end of their earthly life and the prospect of letting go, for all the parties involved can never be easy, or less than sorrowful and distressing.
“In that setting however, to experience also not only gentle and superb clinical care and nursing but also the caring support for whatever you and the family circle believe is the right way of approaching death is indeed a wonderful gift and blessing. We received this at St Brigid’s Hospice and I know that many thousands of people throughout Northern Ireland and this island as a whole have received that same blessing in different ways.”
Archbishop Clarke the hospice movement deserved ‘complete and enthusiastic support.’ “Many of us will always be in your debt. May God continue to bless you,” he added.