Civil rights icons, John Hume and Ivan Cooper, were joined by representatives of the Bloody Sunday families and Church leaders at Glenfada Park on Tuesday for the consecration of a memorial erected in honour of the late Bishop of Derry, Dr Edward Daly.
Bishops Donal McKeown and Ken Good, and the Rev. Peter Murray, the former President of the Methodist Church, were the concelebrants at a special ecumenical ceremony, which saw the announcement of a garden of contemplation at the entrance to Glenfada Park, near the very spot where James Wray (22), Gerald Donaghey (17), Gerald McKinney (35) and William McKinney (26) were shot dead on Bloody Sunday.
Dozens of people attended the moving ceremony during which music was provided by the CholmCille Ladies Choir, beneath a mural immortalising Derry’s role in the global civil rights movement.
The open air congregation heard one of the key figures of that era, John Hume, read from the second Pauline epistle to the Corinthians, which, fittingly, emphasises the transience of visible things but the permanence of the invisible spirit.
The Church of Ireland Bishop of Derry and Raphoe, Ken Good, read from the Gospel of St Matthew, which speaks of the “happiness of those who are persecuted in the cause of right: theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
Bishop McKeown referred to the late Bishop Daly as the ‘People’s Priest’ and at a spot, which has seen dark days, said: “We bring before the Lord, all those who wept and struggled, who were gentle and merciful, hungered and thirsted for justice, those who mourned, those whose tears moistened the ground and we give thanks for the blessings that we have received for the peace that we know and the peace that we can build and the man we remember here today would not want himself to be remembered.
“He would simply say: ‘In my time I tried to build peace. You do you the same in your time.’”
Vinnie Coyle, on behalf of the Bogside residents who erected the memorial, said: “Part of what today is, is a great thank you to the entire city, across the whole of Ireland, for a celebration of the life of Bishop Daly when he passed away, especially in this city where all churches rang their bells as a sign of the celebration of the great man’s life.”